‘Between Jobs’? Don’t Panic. Do This. - 19th May 2017
Most of us at some point in our working lives will find ourselves, sometimes unexpectedly, out of work. Redundancy is a reality. Sometimes, through no fault of our own, we might not make it through the probation period. Or, we start a job and realise it’s completely not what we imagined – at all. Even if we go down the self-employed route, perhaps some consultancy work, if our main client (or only client) disappears, it can mean job hunting.
So, what should you do if you find yourself in this situation?
Firstly, don’t panic.
The best plan of action is to focus your energies on being a professional job hunter. What? I mean treat your job hunting like a fulltime job in itself. This isn’t the time for hiding under the duvet or binging on TV boxets. Sounds obvious, but time is of the essence.
- Be organised and work smart. Firstly, do a self-appraisal. Work out what you’ve done to date, what your transferrable skills are and what you can do next. Make a list of your friends and contacts, who might be able to help you find something. Don’t forget to ask them to recommend any good sales recruiters that they’ve used too (ahem, Sales Talent any one?).
- Dust off your CV. This can feel like a personal MOT. If you’ve not needed to apply for a job for a long time, it’s likely your CV will need a complete overhaul. Do you need to list all your GCSEs or school achievements after being in work for decades? Work out what is and isn’t relevant now. Tailor your CV to suit a new industry if you’re looking a career change. Get one or two other people to proof read it before you start to make applications.
- Set targets and plan every day. This is the time to stay on top of things. Make a spreadsheet and list all the jobs you’ve applied for and all the companies or recruiters you’ve spoken to. Remember, fortune favours the brave here. Emailing out your CV is one thing, but to make things happen faster, and to get greater visibility – pick up the phone. I’d say 90% of most applicants for sales jobs will only ever email. In fact, set yourself a target of calling at least 10 companies or recruiters a day. It will certainly keep you on track and give you momentum.
- Be open minded but realistic. Depending on your circumstances, you may have the finances to keep you going for a period while you like for a perfect new job. However, if the rainy-day fund has more pennies then pounds in it then it may be as well to take a stopgap role to tide you over. Maybe take a contract role to keep the wolf from the door. Who knows, it may end up opening new doors. Also, be realistic on the salary too. If you’ve worked your way up to a well-paid position in your last role, you may have to take a lower salary in your next role, at least to start off with. You don’t want to rule yourself out of roles by being too expensive. You’ll limit your options this way.
- Follow up. Back to that spreadsheet! Use it to keep track of where and when you’ve applied and been interviewed. Make a note to follow up if you’ve not heard back. No news doesn’t always mean bad news – it could be the person in HR or the interviewer is away on holiday. But in any case, it’s good to know where you stand.
- Stay healthy and fit. Look after your body and your mind. Eat healthy and put energy into some regular exercise. It should help you sleep better as well as keeping you positive and upbeat. Even a long walk or cycle around the neighbourhood can do wonders if you’ve been stuck at home staring at the computer for hours.
- Remember two things. One, you aren’t alone. At any given moment, there will be thousands of others in the same situation. Secondly, you are only looking for one job among the hundreds of thousands of live vacancies out there. You will find one. You only need just one. On the other hand, you may find you get several job offers, which is always a reassuring position to be in. The tricky part will be deciding which one.