Bouncing back from Redundancy 4: Your search campaign
Article 4 in a series of 5 which offers a few simple hints and tips to help you cope with redundancy if it happens to you. Hopefully it won’t, but unfortunately it seems to happen rather indiscriminately, so better prepared than not. After all, is it best to service your car regularly or to wait until it breaks down in the middle of nowhere at 3:00 in the morning?
Part four of our series on How To Bounce Back From Redundancy shows you what to consider in order to devise an effective job search campaign, if the unthinkable happens to you.
4.1: Understanding The Job Market
The most important aspect of any job search campaign is a well thought out self-marketing strategy. You then need a plan based on the strategy and the plan needs a timetable comprising specific, small steps which together will lead to the ultimate goal of the new job.
However, it’s a waste of time devising a strategy unless you first understand the current job market: so here are some facts. Over the last three years the placement statistics for Proteus clients show the following:
- 9% of clients obtained their next role through a conventional advertisement, either on-line, including recruiter and company web sites, or off-line including professional journals, magazines and the press generally.
- 77% found their next role by contacting organisations directly, through recommendations, referrals and the development of a professional network.
- 14% secured a new position through head hunters who operate discreetly and who do not generally advertise.
Most people only use the 9% and the 14% methods, so make sure when you devise your search strategy that you allocate enough of your effort to the 77% method that produces most of the results.
4.2: Your Activity Plan
With your strategy in place you now need a plan. Remember however that both the strategy and the accompanying plan will be works in progress and will be modified as you go along depending on the results your strategy produces.
You need to plan activity within each day. Don’t get frustrated – recognise that going through the process takes time. Bring your organisational skills to bear on this new project entitled “Making the Right Career Move for John Smith in the Shortest Possible Time”. You need to plan for success – it doesn’t just happen! Here are a few areas to consider when devising your plan of action:
- If you don’t have an office at home, turn one room or part of a room into your office.
- It’s been said before but it’s worth reiterating: don’t keep anything related to your job search on any equipment that belongs to your employer, even if you use your employer’s equipment at home.
- Imperative! Unless you are still in work and seeking change, it’s important to work office hours rather than just when you feel like it.
- Use the national press, professional journals and the web to research the market and to prospect for opportunities.
- Continuously work on the Assignment – Action – Accomplishmentapproach discussed previously to hone those achievements and transferable skills.
- Imperative! Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date – Do It Now!
- Remember, local job adverts are rarely for salaries over the national average. However, an advert for clerical or production staff may indicate expansion and an unadvertised need for more senior people.
- Develop an approach that works for contacting companies directly. Never use Dear Sir, Dear Madam or the HR Department, always approach a named person.
- Perfect your interview technique by practising your responses to all the stock questions which arise during interviews with a colleague or mentor.
- Imperative! If you haven’t got a mentor – Get One!
Remember, anything worth doing is worth doing well – and how do we achieve that? By remembering that the first step is that “anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first” – don’t be afraid to practise!
Your personal action plan will depend on your personal circumstances, the functions and sectors you are looking at but a typical weekly action plan could include activities such as:
Plan the week’s activity – read the situations vacant on appropriate days – answer adverts – post your CV on-line – set up appointments – keep in regular contact with your mentor – do on-line research into companies – get out of the house, by doing some of this research at your local library – write letters and e-mails – keep fit and eat healthily – refine your LinkedIn profile – contact recruitment consultancies and head hunters – find out which ones don’t advertise – arrange to see them – sign up for job alert e-mails from job boards – keep in contact with friends, colleagues and peers – attend prearranged appointments – review the week’s activity and modify according to your results – don’t give up!
4.3: Advertised Or Unadvertised Jobs?
To pursue the advertised market or the nebulous, undefined, hidden job market – that is the question!
Even though the advertised market only accounts for around 1 in 10 placements, it still needs to be done. To get the best out of the unadvertised market through contacts, agencies, networking, prospecting, referrals, broadcasting and recommendations you may feel you need to seek professional advice. For the moment in this short article let’s focus on the advertised market. When you respond proceed as follows:
- Read the advertisement carefully; now re-read it,
- Highlight the main points,
- Compare your skills and experience with those required,
- List your relevant achievements,
- Comply with the method of response specified.
When writing e-mails or letters remember that they should refer to the position you are applying for, outline who you are and emphasise your relevant abilities. A brief note saying “Please accept my CV by way of application for the post of xyz” simply doesn’t cut the mustard!
Before finalising your approach, determine whether your response:
A Addresses the method of application exactly,
B Builds a bridge between what they want and what you can offer,
C Contains relevant skills, experience and achievements,
D Demonstrates interest in a meeting.
Remember, like the interview itself, you only have one opportunity to make a first impression. Make it count!
In the final part of this series of posts we will look at “Preparation For Interviews”: and if you found this article useful, then save it against possible future need and please feel free to share it with your connections.