Do YOU have a Career “Plan B” Ready?

Being a coach for business managers and leaders often gets me into discussions about career transition. While I do not focus on that topic as a primary service, I stay very much in touch with it.

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On one hand, I do have a passion for those who find themselves in job change. In 2008, when the financial crisis hit the U.S. and unemployment rates hit long-time highs, I created a regional career transition and job search organization (non-denominational, faith based non-profit) that served over 4,500 clients before we closed it in 2014.

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So I pay close attention to articles and posts from recruiters and placements professionals I still know. The job market has changed a lot and continues to evolve. Some say that today, we don’t even know the job titles that will be in the market five years from now, so you might ask ‘how can I stay ready for a job change’?

One particular article caught my eye. Top Echelon, an Ohio based service company that supports recruiters and placement professionals, published the following blog post:

We recently conducted a poll of the Top Echelon Network Membership, one that addressed this important issue for recruiters. Below is the question that we posed in this poll:

How educated do you believe your clients are about hiring in today’s market?

Results:

The choice of answers that we provided is listed below, along with the percentage of recruiters who selected each one:

Very educated—11.5%

Somewhat educated—69.2%

Not educated at all—19.2%

Summary:

By far, the most popular answer was “somewhat educated” at over 69%, while “not educated at all” was second at nearly 20%. Perhaps not surprisingly, only 11.5% of recruiters responded “Very educated” in describing their clients.  With so few of the clients on top of current market trends (at least according to this poll), a need clearly exists for recruiters to help educate their clients.

Coming from a group who has the job of helping candidates land placement (i.e. recruiters), I found these stats to be particularly alarming. So I raise the question, would YOU, as a potential placement candidate, consider yourself ‘well educated’? By this I mean prepared for job change?

If not, what are some of the things you might need to do so that you become better prepared? Here is my list of recommendations.

Accomplishments

Do you have a live, ever-green list of work related accomplishments ready for sharing with your next possible interviewer? The reason this accomplishments list is so vital is that it tells a value proposition story. NO employer cares what you think is important. They want to get to the bottom of how you will make them money or save them money; nothing else.

You can show them this valuable merit by listing solid, meaningful accomplishments like:

  • I created a filing system that saved 100 man hours per month.
  • I processed 3,000 payrolls checks per pay period for 18 months with zero errors.
  • I was reasonable for a $10 million gross revenue increase in Q2.

Perpetually grow this list. If you never started one, get it going now. Then add to it as achievements occur. These kinds of accomplishments will usually get an interviewer’s attention real fast.

Research

Become informed about the potential employer. Do more than just Googling the company (do that too, but add to it). Gather some in-depth market intelligence by reaching out to current or former employees via LinkedIn. Get connected with them and ask questions about their experience. If you build and maintain a robust network on LinkedIn, you can easily grab this intel as you need to by asking your contacts who and what they know.

Industry Knowledge

Stay abreast of hot things happening in your industry. Become your own guru about hot topics, new breakthroughs, and meaningful developments. Become conversant in those topics. This is great for the moment when you get that interview segue where the interviewer asks if you have any questions. Use what you learn to be ready to talk about the big developments. Here’s an example.

The whole oil and gas community is under pressure from the drop in global oil price per barrel. If this is your industry, what does a drop of every $5 per barrel mean to the segment you serve? Refinery people are happy. Production people are not. Why? Be able to discuss these forces in more depth. Every industry has comparable hot topic issues that deserve more than casual lip service and use of buzz words about the basic issue(s).

Be Ready

Business today moves at lightning speed. Companies get bought and sold, markets shift, and change happens. NEVER get caught by surprise when your company or department somehow becomes the target of a downsize or elimination. Heck, even management turnover causes change in the rank and file employee pool. Be ready; have your Plan B warm and fresh at all times.

[reminder]Leave a comment about ways you stay prepared for job change.[/reminder]