Fired? Ready, Aim… Preparing for your next career transition, no matter how urgent

One day, you will walk into your home without the job you had when you walked out. That day might be very far off in the future, or might have been just a few days ago. Regardless of how much time you have to prepare, here are a few broad steps you can take to be in the best position to transition to the next phase of your career as smoothly as possible.

DSK will need a different type of weak ties in the future
DSK will need a different type of weak ties in the future

This topic should be on a few people’s minds, considering that for the past few months in 2012 more than 4 million people in the US, or >3% of total employment, have lost their jobs each month…and whoever called economics the grim science hasn’t seen the “JOLTS” report that provided these statistics!

  1. How long can you hold out for a great job? Understand your risk tolerance, burn rate, cash position, and “reinforcements” (tapping into credit, retirement savings, family loans, organ sales*, etc.) as you deplete cash.
  2. What is your value proposition? Clarify how you are going to market your capabilities to prospective employers. Remember to start with why, and understand how the next role helps close the gaps towards your medium term ambitions. The written form of the value proposition is your resume, plus your online profile. Keep in mind that usually these will be scanned quickly by someone other than the hiring manager, so take advantage of available resume writing advice to update yours.
  3. How strong is your career pipeline? Just like in sales, you need a network of contacts, a set of prospects to “close” and a steady stream of new leads coming in each week. Remember that weak ties are the most valuable (dork version of same concept) connections in your network. Until you get to the point of submitting an application: don’t ask for jobs, ask for connections (people will offer a job if they know of a fit).
  4. Are you talking to people more than looking at a screen? In the world of tablets, smartphones, and apps, we forget that there are humans out there that want to shake your hand and look you in the eye before they hire you. Look for ways to follow your passions and build weak ties to enhance your job search.

Look for expanded posts on each of these topics in the future. What have I left out? Where am I wrong? Leave a comment, thanks!

* don’t sell your organs. Not even the musical kind.
Image Credit: Richard Drew

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