Any fans of Twin Peaks out there?
Yes, of course there are. I can hear you from here in the RVA.
David Lynch's sci-fi / thriller / cop drama in the absurd attracted a loyal cult following in the mid 80's. Many Friday nights you were left scratching your head wondering what had just happened.
One thing we all came to quickly understand was that when The Giant showed up, the plot was about to move forward with meaning. Questions were going to be answered. He would appear in a fantasy sequence to warn our heroes with his resonant bass voice, “It's happening again! It's happening again!”
And Sadly, It Is
The Giant's exclamation was echoing in my ears this week as a huge local employer promptly deposited well over a thousand workers out on the street. And not for the first time.
The point I want to make here is not to question corporate strategy or business practices. I will leave that to others.
I want to offer some advice to these folks on what to do next. A few of them are friends, many of them are acquaintances, and many more of them follow me here and elsewhere in social media.
Take Advantage of the Offer
If you do have outsourcing services offered to you, take full advantage of them. Some of the things they may include are help with your resume, brushing up your LinkedIn profile, interpersonal skill classes, developing a list of companies your should call in your niche and town, and perhaps practice interviews, just to name a few.
If you haven't had to go through a search in some time, all of this will be time well spent.
Write Your Story
Gather your thoughts and list the items in your career when you were at your best. The biggest most impactful projects you worked on that were a success. The growth you experienced in taking on stretch goals. Getting to the finish line when the world was totally stacked against you.
Wordsmith this to death. Forget verbs like “did” and “worked” in favor of ones like “produced” and “led” and “created”.
This should put a grin on your face and infuse you with a nice sense of accomplishment. This is why you put these as bullets at the top section of your resume proudly and boldly labelled as Accomplishments.
Before you job history listing, before your education. This is your story.
Write the Micro Stories As Well
When you get to the point where you are interviewing, you are going to want a handful or more of stories to tell about how great you are and the great contributions you've made in the places you've been.
And you'll get a chance to tell them, I promise you. So many questions today are of the behavioral nature. Businesses feel that the best predictor of your future performance is your past performance. So the questions often start with, “Tell me about a time…”. Insert your great story here.
And you'll be able to because you'll have them ready.
Also, be sure to talk about your greatest strength and weakness. For your strength, frame this up as to what you bring to the team and why they can't success without you, but in an appropriately humble way. For your strength, be honest but put a positive spin on it so it reflect you taking advantage of a growth opportunity.
Get Out Of The House
Once you have worked your way through the denial and anger parts of the cycle, you get very busy doing all of the things mentioned here, whether you have outplacement help or not.
There will be times that the business slacks off, so if you haven't been already, get out of the house during the day. Call the folks in your network that you need to reach out to. Have lunch. Meet them for coffee. Have great conversations excited about what you are working on.
Never ask, “Do you have a job for me?” Always ask, “Is there anyone else I should be talking to? Can you introduce me?”
It's A Numbers Game
Somewhere down the line someone will remind you of this. In your case, it might as well be me.
There is some number of applications or resumes sent that yield you a single call from a recruiter. There are a number of recruiter calls you have to get to interview with a hiring manager. There are a number of interview you have to go through to get an offer.
When you multiply these three number together the product gives you an estimate of just how many contacts/resumes/applications you will need to send to get through this. Keep filling the pipeline. This gets you closer to that number.
After all, at the start of this you have written a great story about yourself. You just want as many people as you can to hear it.