Have you ever been laid off? I have. Several times. After the disappointment and tears comes this long expanse of time to fill.
When you worked, you got up in the morning at a certain time, with a specific purpose. Now you have nothing special to do and nowhere to be.
How do you structure your day? Where to begin? How do you spend your time? Worse yet, how do you define yourself?
This is not the time to take a vacation or clean out your closets. Well, maybe a little cleaning can be therapeutic. But this is a great time to clear the decks and focus most of your attention on your search.
You need a plan – a job search marketing plan. Without a roadmap, you might wander around longer than Moses.
Here are three steps to creating your roadmap to a new position:
- Figure out what you want to do. Do you want to keep doing the same job you have been doing? Fine. At least that is a decision. Do you want to do something different? Plan it out.
- Where you can do that? What companies have jobs like that?
- Who to talk to make it happen?
Once you have a plan, you need to implement. How do you structure your day while you work your plan? What goals will you set for yourself?
Goals are very important. You had goals when you worked. You need them when you work on your job search. As a veteran job seeker, I have some ideas about how to structure your laid-off-days. Start with the 80/20 rule:
20% of your time on personal activities. Why personal activities? Because all work and no play makes a dull job seeker. Personal activities could include walking the dog, exercising, cleaning those closets, hanging out with friends and family, working on a project in the garage, yard work, or anything else you love to do.
80% of your time on your job search. How to organize this 80%? We can apply the 80/20 rule to this portion too:
- Spend 80% of your time networking including proactive activities like researching target companies on LinkedIn, meeting people who work at your target companies or work in your field, LinkedIn networking, coffee meetings with people you meet at networking events, professional association events, volunteering in some fashion in your field or in your community, etc.
- Spend only 20% of your time in reactive activities like answering ads, dealing with recruiters, or attending job fairs. In an 8 hour job search day devote no more than 1.5 hours per day to responding to ads. Find an ad you like, write up a quick cover letter, and send it in. Done. Move on to networking.Do not spend more than 20% of your time answering ads. I do not care if you think your industry is different. Most successful candidates obtain their job through networking so despite your beliefs, put your time into networking and minimize answering ads. Don’t stop answering ads. Just don’t spend the bulk of your time on wanted ads.
Set goals every week. Spend some time every day on LinkedIn. Be sure your profile is up-to-date at All Star Level. Be active in LinkedIn Groups, talking and sharing with people who sound interesting. Set a goal to add X number of contacts every week or day. Participate in X number of discussions with connections or in LinkedIn Groups to increases your visibility. Have coffee with X number of people each week. Write X number of blogs or articles each week. Turn X number of ads into networking experiences.
No one wants to be laid off, but you can turn that expansive time on your hands into worthwhile action that moves your job search forward with a well-organized job search marketing plan.