If you’ve been let go – this is for you. Every day I receive resumes from past work associates, workshop attendees, and seminar attendees. Companies are trimming back, cutting costs, and looking to reduce headcount in efforts to remain profitable. With Toyota, Lenovo, and others reporting losses, it’s no wonder executives are worried. So what do you do? The worst thing you can do is sit around and murmur about the economy. Stephen Covey’s first habit is…Be proactive. Here are some proactive steps:
- 1. Update your resume – if you don’t keep this up-to-date at all times, you’ve been living dangerously. A few points on this – The chunking limit is seven. Don’t list 20 bullets and expect anyone to read them. Focus on achievements not tasks. No one cares if you’ve managed 5 people, were responsible for some territory in South Dakota, or had responsibility for keeping up with your pipeline.
- 2. Make sure your resume makes sense. If you did some consulting, don’t bother listing yourself as the president of your company. The fact is you didn’t own a company, you owned a job. Call yourself a consultant, not a business owner.
- 3. Check your dates and know you story. Why did you leave certain firms? Everyone has a story for why they were fired at some point – make sure you know how to tell it, but don’t give lame excuses.
- 4. References! Everyone has three references of which they hold until asked for. Be different. The last time I interviewed, which was 1999, I had 36 references and handed them to interviewer before they asked. They never checked them simply because it was overwhelming.
- 5. The Interview – be proactive! Everyone comes to the table expecting to be asked a litany of questions; what a terrible situation. You can anticipate and perhaps prepare for some of them (although most people just wing it). Instead, come with a presentation. That’s right, you set the agenda. In 1999 I called every Solution Provider Executive I could find (gathering names from every Vendor partner I knew). I called, offering to come by to discuss some business opportunities and most agreed to the meeting. They weren’t even advertising a position. I came with a presentation on how to generate a profitable business and most liked it. Following the presentation they asked what I was selling – It was at that moment that I discovered the business I’m in now. At that time I was not ready to begin, so I agreed to develop a plan for a position that I’d take on if we could come to an agreement. It was so much fun; I almost didn’t want to take a job. But of course, I was doing this for free so I eventually had to sign an agreement.
Interviewing is marketing. You have to stand out, grab the attention of buyers, be innovative enough to create an opportunity where one may not exist, and leave the economy, murmuring, and bad feelings behind.