Dear Coach Joan,
I have accepted a separation package and will soon be leaving a company where I have worked for over 20 years. I am new to the job market in general, and to today’s employment norms, in specific. Through my network of friends I’ve received some job leads but I am not sure how to best frame my job search. I plan to work for at least another 10 years, with 3 children to put through college, and want to make sure I am proceeding wisely toward new employment.
Thank you for some structure and planning advice,
Yes, you are wise to realize that you are facing a big transition!
How to structure it? Step by step.
One of the adages I use repeatedly with my clients is:
READINESS + OPPORTUNITY = SUCCESS
We typically only have one opportunity to make a good impression and the right impression, with potential employers and even with influencers, like your friends who have leads for you.
To give structure to your job search, I suggest this five-point plan:
1) Reflect back on the ‘wins’ of your career to date. What were your key accomplishments?
2) Develop a job description of your ideal position that plays to your unique profile.
3) Translate those findings into an updated resume and Linkedin profile.
4) Set up your criteria for selecting your next employer, and start looking for positions and companies that appeal to you, and would fit with your profile.
5) Practice interview questions with close friends or colleagues. Ask for honest and helpful feedback. Prep and then go for it.
Reflect back on the ‘wins’ of your career to date. What were your key accomplishments? What resulted in positive and measurable impact for your company? What colleagues, situations and challenges brought out the best in you? What skills have you been recognized for that you really enjoy using?
The stress of the search.
Anticipate that the job search process is stressful and often includes many ups and downs. Prepare for these swings. Some people find it effective to have a job search buddy, others ask a friend or family member to serve as their cheerleader, and others find sports and exercise a good outlet. Develop a ‘Friends and Family’ letter where you explain your transition and ask for any help and connections they can provide to you.
Practice interview questions with close friends or colleagues. Ask for honest and helpful feedback. Prepare open ended questions about the organization, job market and today’s norms.
Good luck to you, Neil. You have a challenging and exciting opportunity ahead. By breaking down the journey into manageable steps it will be a lot easier to move forward with confidence and success.