Past Issues

March 17, 2008

Mobilizing an Unplanned Job Search

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Mobilizing an Unplanned Job Search

By Toddi Gutner, The Wall Street Journal

First, don't panic. When you're faced with the prospect of an unexpected job search, you'll need to act deliberately -- not just fast.

Ramping up to land a new job quickly after a layoff, a downsizing, or company relocation takes thoughtful planning despite the urgency of the task. The trick to a successful transition is not to panic. You don't want to hit the market in a chaotic fashion.

Take stock of your finances. Identify and prioritize your bills and debt. An immediate need for cash flow may require you to take a temporary assignment. It can give you a sense of productivity and give you some good experience.

Create a planned job search strategy. Despite the need to mobilize a quick job search, you need to think it through. Take some time to step back and create a thoughtful and measured approach to your job hunt. Be specific about the position you want and target the companies where you want to work.

Determine your market worth. Conduct research with several executive recruiters, career coaches and others in similar positions to the one you're seeking to determine what salary and benefits you can request. Make a checklist of your skills and identify those that are transferable to other industries that are in a growth mode.

Practice your pitch. No matter how quickly you need to land a job, make sure you take some time to process your emotional reaction to job loss. You don't want to jump in immediately. Practice your pitch until you're comfortable with it. Try it on friends, family, or a colleague or mentor.

Polish and post your resume. A resume is your window and calling card to the world of work. Make sure it highlights the position you want, your key accomplishments and measurable results of those accomplishments. Post your resume on the Internet at general and industry specific job boards, as well as, social networking sites like LinkedIn. Make sure it gets in the hands of executive recruiters as well. You don't want to leave any stone unturned.

Network, network, network. Make a list of contacts from your friends, family, colleges, former companies, charities and volunteer organizations. Reach out and tell them what kind of position you would like. Find a contact who can introduce you to a decision maker at companies where you want to work.

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