I’ve been out of work more times than I care to talk about. Three times in two years as a matter of fact. Getting let go started out being the worst experience of my life, but as I look back on those years I can see that the skills I accumulated attempting to gain employment have remained invaluable in business and life. So here are my three easy steps that I recommend you take in order to insulate yourself from a long term unemployment stint. They worked for me, and I hope they work for you:
1. Start now.
Don’t take time off after being let go even if you want to lick your wounds, you can’t – not yet. I know it’s tempting to retreat and recharge. Don’t. There will be time for that after you’ve locked down your next gig. It’s ok to take a night or two to blow off some steam, but get to work as quickly as possible after you’ve been shown the door. It’s the only thing that will allow you to retain your sanity.
2. Take the Back Door.
Don’t wait for a headhunter to define a role for you, and certainly don’t rely on websites that list jobs. Most of the jobs I’ve found have been through referral, and doing things differently – ie, taking the back door. If you’re interested in working at a company, go get them. Be as direct as you can. When I wanted to get into social media, I went out and purchased the ULR Facebookshouldhireme.com. Think about how powerful it would be if you purchase the URL *insert company name should hire me DOT com, and you began blogging about all the ways you are going to help that company when you get there. Give them your brain so they can’t ignore you. When Facebook said no to me, I sought out newly funded companies. I would visit VC pages to see where they were investing. I’d create short lists of companies in my city that intrigued me and started applying. Everyone else is at the front door. Go around to the back.
3. Create Unique Content
Everything has changed, so evolve or die. When hiring managers review your resume the first thing they’ll do is to Google your name. It’s up to you to own those results. You must have a hand in each of the results that you see. Whether it is via your blog, your Twitter account, Facebook page, or Quora profile this is your chance to let your personality shine.
Allow your intellect to jump off the page. Create your own blog with daily musings on your industry. Why not, you have the down time now that you’re out of work? It will keep you sharp, help you have some sort of schedule, and give you a place to point people when they want to learn more about you. Offer quality content and differentiate from the herd. Own your own personal brand.
Don’t allow content that you haven’t created tarnish that image. Continually create new and engaging content to ensure you’re at the cutting edge of everything happening in the industry you want to join.
Let go of control and allow your personality to shine through. The company that does not react isn’t the one for you. The one that does react will be the best fit for you.
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