In our previous blog, we started to share thoughts on why to continue with your job search project midst the chaos and uncertainty that the world is currently experiencing. The white noise I referred to in that blog (job search during the COVID-19 pandemic) can be crippling if you focus solely on Finances, Work Visa’s, paying schools fees or rent checks. In our work with candidates in the Middle East who have Career Transition Programs with us, we know first-hand the unique stress that expatriates face with the time clock on visa, finances and so forth ticking from the moment you learn your job is no longer there.
Whilst companies, headhunters, colleagues, associates, friends and families adjust to new ways of work and home life during the COVID crisis there is a built-in time buffer in place. This is a badly wrapped gift that offers you time to make some considered and measured plans. Right now, organizations have their workforce in the midst of transitioning to Work from Home scenarios, adjusting to new technologies and ways of doing their jobs as well as troubleshooting problems. This will stabilize and settle – while it does so you can use the time to research and get ready.
What do we mean by “Plan of Action”? What does it look like? How do I get started?
Consider all the projects you have delivered throughout your professional career – how did you keep productive, focused and on track? Your own best practices can be implemented to your new project – job search! The idea is to divide your Job Search Project into pieces or chunks that you can tackle one at a time or a few at the same time. This will help you take steps proactively and importantly measure your progress.
Here are some ideas to help you set up your action plan:
Action Plan 101
Take care of yourself first. Make sure you are eating, exercising and getting enough sleep. Now is not the time to get ill due to neglect. Do what you need to, to ensure you address your physical and Mental Health. Meal plan set a daily routine, plan your exercise time. Make sure sleep is a priority – switch off from the news about COVID and read a novel for instance before bed or use breathing techniques/meditation so that you enter rest peacefully.
Assess your current situation. Consider your budget and timeframes that are in place (think visa end dates etc). When we consider the financial impact and planning of Career Transition, experts say ‘hope for the best transition, work for the best possible outcome and prepare for the worst-case scenario – just in case’. Calculate the amount of time you have to find a new role in the worst-case scenario and readjust your budget accordingly. Consider possible alternative sources of income.
Create a daily and weekly routine. Decide how much time you will dedicate to your job search project. We recommend you split your time between different search methods to cover all the bases. Build-in time for exercise, rest and job search in your daily routine. Searching for a job can be time-consuming so a structure/routine will help ensure you take breaks, eat healthily and come back refreshed and energized. Our work with candidates on Career Transition Programs allows us interesting insights into job search. We have learned that only 20% of jobs are actually ever advertised. It makes more sense, therefore, to divide your job search efforts accordingly – spending hours and hours on job boards may not be as effective as networking and interacting with people to uncover the hidden job market.
Think about Organization’s that you would like to work for. What would be a natural fit, what organizations wouldn’t initially be on your list – but could indeed open up new opportunities or path for you?
- Research organizations online using as many tools as you can (candidates with Career Transition Programs have access to D&B Hoovers research database )
- Gather local information on the organization in the market you are in. What is the news saying about this company? What are they doing locally? What is happening internationally with the organization that may give you insight into changes which may impact the organization locally?
Review your Communication Strategy. What and how are you going to communicate the fact that you hold Value that an organization needs?
- Print off your CV and LinkedIn profile and review them. Ask for feedback from a friend, HR team member, colleague or potential decision-maker.
- Write a list of your real strengths – where you know you add value to the organization. Check to make sure that your CV is also communicating this value – if not consider ways to add to or adjust your CV to do so.
- Start a list of who you are and what you have accomplished and what your ideal next role would be.
Prepare a Personal Marketing Plan. This is a document that you can use to sell yourself in the market.
- Collect as much information on yourself as you can from your previous roles and work history. What is the consistent message Managers have said about you? Problem Solver? Strategic Thinker? Consider issues you have solved in your roles and what they reflect about your skills.
- What is your professional objective and how would you position yourself?
- Begin to consider what your Value Proposition is and wherein the marketplace those very skills are in need. You have a unique set of skills, knowledge, experience and contacts. Make a list of your competencies for ease of reference. You could use a grid with different columns such as Leadership Skills; Technical Expertise etc.
- Include your Geographic area – are you planning on stay locally or moving back ‘home’?
- Include the names of the organizations that could be a good fit that you have researched – create a target list.
Networking – our next blog post will share tips on networking during this unusual time.
Through the work we do with the Career Transition Programs we see a clear distinction between candidates who immediately set to work on their plan of action versus those candidates who don’t plan and simply send CV’s wherever there is an opening and to anyone and everyone they know. The former tend to land jobs quicker and in our experience land the type of role they really want. With the latter group, we often see candidates taking a role and then 2-3 months later being in the same situation either not passing probation or very unhappy in a job that isn’t the right fit for them.
During a Job loss situation, there is often an overwhelming feeling of “loss of control’. Right now the world and its leaders are facing this situation head on as they deal with the COVID-19 crisis. Your search is no different, you didn’t choose this situation and the powerlessness and loss of control can be debilitating. Creating this plan of Action allows you to take charge and gain back some control. Taking steps along your plan will empower you and build confidence as you move forward. As you move forward you will adjust as necessary and find your way.
It is important to note that an action plan doesn’t remove the panic, stress and worry – however it allows you to move forward IN SPITE of those very real emotions.
At LHH we are passionate about people, and relationships. Please visit our website for information and to subscribe to blog updates.