Four Steps To Avoid A Career Crisis
Sometimes life falls into a pattern where every day seems like any other. You know, how you feel comfortable with your routine, to the extent where it feels like you’re on auto-pilot? Have you experienced that kind of feeling? Generally this feeling tends to start setting in during the mid-career stage. You’ve worked hard for the first phase of your career, changed a few jobs in a relatively short span of time as you continue to hunt down a job where you want to feel you belong. Then you find yourself in a job where you go “This is IT”!
I recall that happened in my life about 15 years ago when, after a long struggle, my career had finally acquired some sort of steadiness. I was in a job where I’d been for 4 years, and I was generally happy with my nature of work and the people I worked with, both within the company and outside it. I had to traverse quite a rocky road for about 6-7 years before I got to this phase, so I just wanted to stay put. As I was to realize much later, the trouble with being in this kind of comfortable space is that we get complacent. We start believing that all our troubles are behind us and now we’re onto this good thing forever. I had stopped updating my CV and I never looked at the job ads. I had lost touch with the job market.
A blow I never saw coming!
One fine day, my general manager quit the company, without much warning. It took us all by surprise, and while he maintained he was leaving because he wanted a new challenge, the rumour mills swung into action. The whispers going around were that the directors were not happy with the financial performance of the company and the GM had been asked to put in his resignation. In came a new GM, and in keeping with the “new broom sweeps clean” philosophy, within a few weeks, we were told there was going to be a restructuring. I became one of the victims of the shuffle, one of the cards that fell out while shuffling the deck. I felt like the rug was pulled from under my feet. I had been under the illusion that I was one of the better performers so there was no way the company would ever want to lose me. The reality pill was a hard one for me to swallow. I was tossed out into the ‘wild, wild West’ of the job seekers market and I wasn’t quite prepared for it. I had to dust off my CV and start applying for jobs again. My cover letter drafting skills were rusty and I hated the whole process of the job search – contacting recruitment agencies, the psychometric tests, the interminable wait for an interview call after applying and then the dreaded regret letter!
Can you identify with my story?
Maybe you are currently in a secure job, and feel like you have become indispensable to your organisation. Perhaps, you might even be experiencing an air of invincibility? But, think again, are you really that unshakeable and untouchable if your workplace went through a restructuring exercise?
Or have you been through a situation similar to mine, where it felt like you were suddenly tossed off a ship into the high seas, just when you were relaxing on a deck chair, sipping your favourite martini? How did you cope with it? It took me a long time to find my feet again, and I put it down to my being unprepared. I went through all the stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally the acceptance, before I could move on and take any action.
How can you prepare for the unexpected?
It is prudent to live by the motto “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst”. Being prepared gives you the ability to act quickly, which generally means you don’t go through the grieving period because your mind is already busy planning and actioning forward steps.
Here are four steps you can take to be better prepared so that, if and when the time comes to take action to find another job, you aren’t caught unawares.
Step 1: Update your CV
We often fall into the trap of forgetting completely about our CV when we are in a comfortable job space. The time to prepare for a crisis is before it arrives. Apart from updating your CV with the latest job information, this is a good time to take a close look at the format of your CV and decide if it is time for a makeover. Employer preferences change over time so if your current format sports a vintage look, it might be a good idea to research online about the latest CV ideas or even pay a small sum for a professional to give it a modern sheen.
Step 2: Browse job sites regularly
The best time to browse job sites is when you’re not actively looking. The mind is in a calm state and hence you are able to filter through the advertisements to focus only on those that closely match your profile. It gives you a good idea of what is going on in the market in your job sphere and also helps to understand your own market value. Often it could also provide vital market intelligence. For instance, a job advertisement by your competitor for a key position in their organisation can offer clues about how they’re tracking.
Step 3: Keep your records updated with a few chosen recruitment companies
By keeping your records up-to-date with recruitment companies, you can significantly cut down the lead time for action when you do need their services. It also helps them know that if they come across a requirement that you seem well suited for, they can forward your CV for initial appraisal to the company, after a quick call to get your nod.
Step 4: Keep your LinkedIn profile updated and add at least 3 leading recruitment companies (in your field of expertise) to your connections
The significance of LinkedIn to your career profile must never be underestimated. It is the corporate playground in today’s world of hiring. It is often the first place an employer will go to, when considering a potential employee. It is important to remember that when it comes to adding connections on LinkedIn, it is all about QUALITY, not QUANTITY. Having 30,000 connections may look impressive at first sight, but make sure your connections are relevant to your profile and needs.
How prepared are you? Are you confident that you are well-placed to tackle any sudden career turbulence?
Please comment and let me know.
I would love to hear from you!
PS – By the way, if you’d like some help with getting clarity on building a more satisfying and rewarding career…let’s talk!
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