It's natural to sit back and think that others have it easy in their career. A free pass to a cushy career. A continuous flow of promotions, status, influence and money. But what I've learned as a leading Career Coach is that nobody has a free pass. Nobody. Everyone has breakdowns, meltdowns and throwdowns. But I love the quote by Zig Ziglar, "It's not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts."
So how can you bounce after you've just been laid off? My last article in Huffington Post, 2016 Best Career Apps and Websites to Land Your Dream Job, helped many of you find your dream job. Now let's focus on the next step which is how to land your dream job, even after you've been laid off.
Here are 3 tips from my book, "The Bounce Back" -
1. You are the storyteller of your own career.
The way you think is everything. Getting your next job heavily depends on your mindset and how you frame your career story. If you're sending the message that you've been short-changed, passed over or stepped on in your career, then hiring managers are sure to see you as someone who gets short-changed, passed over and stepped on. But if you send a strong, clear message that you're a key contributor with some big successes under your belt, then hiring managers and Sr. leaders will take notice.
Write down 2-3 of your biggest achievements over the past three years. Now, practice saying out loud in a sentence or two how you contributed to those successes and what the impact was to the organization. For example, "I was the technical lead for a new internal tool that was launched on the SAP platform. The tool is now saving the organization $500,000 a year." Or, "I was on the creative marketing campaign for the XYZ product which gained 3% more market share and generated one million dollars in new revenue."
Quantify your results in terms of dollars, numbers and percentages. The key to getting more job offers, leads and opportunities is talking about your results and accomplishments. Nobody will hire you unless they know what you can do.
2. Network strategically.
You may feel like crawling under the covers, but now is the time to get out and start talking with others. Eighty percent of jobs are going to those job candidates who have a referral within the organization. That means, you need to know someone inside the company who can put their stamp of approval on you. Who do you know who could recommend you to the hiring manager?
Start by re-connecting with past managers, colleagues and customers. Networking isn't one-sided. It's two-sided. It's about having a professional relationship that is mutually supportive of each other's career. Ask how you can support them. Offer to send those in your network information that might be helpful in their job, write a recommendation for them on LinkedIn, or connect them to someone in your network who could potentially become a new client.
I understand that you had a setback, but that was just one experience with a small handful of people. Connect with others you have worked with who know the value and impact you bring to an organization. Ask if they would write a recommendation for your LinkedIn profile, or send a letter of recommendation to a hiring manger. Ask if they know of any job leads they could give you. Building a strong network of supporters will pave the way to landing your next job.
3. Framing your story after a setback.
Earlier in my career I was laid off at a small advertising agency, and within a few months bounced back as the new Regional Marketing Manager for a Fortune 100 finance company. I believe that a large part of the reason I was hired was because of the way I told my career story to the Vice President.
During the interview, the VP asked why I left my last company. I talked about how it was a great company and how much I loved my role and responsibilities. Then, I addressed the reason for my layoff which was, "I didn't realize when I took the position that I was expected to fill the shoes of two employees. Even though I had some big results and was good at my job, I just simply couldn't fill both of their shoes." That was it. Enough said. Calm, confident and succinct. The VP didn't ask any follow-up questions about my previous situation. Two days later he hired me.
It's not the setback that holds you back, but how you internalize the setback that is pivotal to bouncing back. Everyone has setbacks in their career. E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E. Don't let a negative experience stop you from moving your career forward. The key is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, tap your network, and frame your career story with confidence.
Your next career opportunity is out there - now go get it! :)