Long before the credit crunch bit down upon us all, the world of work was changing at pace in any event.
Competition was on the rise. Where once we only had to concern ourselves with competitors in the next street or city, now we had to contend with organizations from across the world operating in the same markets. New technology was transforming work. Computers were doing the work of ten people and doing it in half the time. The internet meant traditional trading patterns were redundant overnight. Demographics were changing too. We had ageing populations wanting to work for longer and young people with twice the qualifications of their parents. Politicians, industrialists and even religious leaders struggled to adapt and provide new models to help the rest of us cope.
Now everything has changed again with the worldwide financial crisis and shrinking economies.
Many will be affected by these changes and be feeling lost and bewildered. Whilst many new opportunities exist, these tend to be for more part-time, flexible working or for self-employment type arrangements. Such opportunities can seem alien to those used to a commute and a 9-5.
So, what to do if you find yourself affected by all this change and trying to find a new position?
Sort out your life priorities
“Get some income!” might be your obvious response but jumping from the frying pan to the fire right now might not be your best idea. Look for something that enables you to devote time to family, friends and hobbies. Look for a role you can enjoy. Passion shines through and potential employers can smell it from miles away. An engaged, happy and motivated candidate is a much better prospect.
List your achievements
Before you can convince anyone else of your worth you need to convince yourself. It is also vital to do this at a time when your self-esteem has taken a battering. There is no stigma to losing a job any more and few people will avoid it happening at some point. You are still you; with all your skills and talents. A £20 note dropped in a gutter, trampled over, rained upon, torn at the edges and covered in mud is still worth £20. Make a list of the things you’ve achieved and then add to it with comments from friends and family.
Ask “who needs me?”
When an employer has a vacancy, it is they who have the problem. They have a vacancy to fill and are hoping someone is going to come along and fit the bill perfectly. Make sure that person is you. Approaching your job search with a “gizza job” mentality will get you nowhere. Approaching your job search with a “Here’s how I can help your organization move forward” mentality will get you hired.
Make sure you mine your previous experience for valuable skills to highlight now. Let’s say you’re an ex-banker. You can point to your technological competence, your honesty your customer focus and your salesmanship. All desirable qualities; credit crunch or not.
Examine your future options
- Do you want to stay in your current job?
- Do you want the same role in a different organization?
- Do you want a different role in the same organization?
- Do you want to change roles and employers?
- Would you consider self-employment or freelancing?
- What about a ‘portfolio’ of a number of different income generating activities?
Until you have decided on which options you prefer you are likely to send out confusing signals and are liable to get in your own way.
Increase your employability
- Accept the need for change rather than burying your head in the sand
- Take responsibility rather than blaming circumstances
- Develop new skills that make you a better prospect
- Be prepared to be flexible. It might be worth taking a short-term post to give you time to look for the ideal role.
Hope is not a strategy and your dream role is unlikely to come floating by all by itself. Get busy. If necessary make your new job finding a new job. Fill your diary with interviews and appointments. Even if you’re sure you wouldn’t accept a position with ABC Ltd why not go to the assessment day and get some practice at interviews and psychometric tests? Meet with recruitment agencies and pick their brains. Get off Facebook and on to LinkedIn. Polish your CV and send it out speculatively.
Go to bed each night with the peace of mind that comes from taking control.