Dear Matt: I’ve been happily employed with the same company for four years. But if I lost my job tomorrow I would not be prepared. Can you provide tips on how to prepare for a potential job loss even if you are employed?
Matt says: If you lost your job this week, would you be prepared? For most, the answer is no. We never know when a job loss may occur, but taking some proactive steps now is a good way to plan for the unexpected, says Dana Manciagli (danamanciagli.com), author of “Cut The Crap, Get a Job! A New Job Search Process For a New Era” and a hiring manager with 30 years of experience working for Fortune 500 companies.
“Even if you are employed you need to have a plan B just in case,” says Manciagli. “Your plan can range from building a network of future employers to interviewing for a new job. Whatever it is, don’t walk around thinking ‘I have nothing to worry about’.”
For most professionals, preparing for that next job means updating your résumé. That helps — but it’s only a very small part of the process. Here are seven keys to having a great plan B, says Manciagli:
1. Define your goal. Write down your next-move job goal. Be clear and specific about your desired job title and roles/responsibilities.
2. Build a tracking tool. Use a spreadsheet or word document to track every professional person you meet, every job opportunity you might consider and any research you do.
3. Do research. Pretend you are in job search mode. Research departments within your company that you would consider transferring to or the top 10 companies you would like to work for.
4. Do your social media groundwork. Ensure that your social media presence is world class. Learn how to maximize social media by taking tutorials on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter specific to job search techniques.
5. Do face-to-face networking. Set a goal of attending a minimum of two networking events per month, if not more. Bring business cards and pen and paper to take notes.
6. Stay current with local business news. Be aware of what is going on with companies in the location you want to work.
7. Write out your Plan B. Write out your next-job function/discipline, ideal industry, target companies and any other criteria you will use when the time comes to search. Review and update often.
“Hiring managers prefer hiring employed people,” says Manciagli. “So don’t wait until you receive unexpected news to think, plan and act in preparation for your next career move. Nobody cares as much about your career growth [as] you, so invest in it.”
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