You feel angry in flashes. There are waves of grief from separating from your tight knit clan of work cohorts. Then hope zips by for a visit. You start thinking that this may very well be the best thing that ever happened to you.
The range of emotions ebbs and flows.
But what you probably don’t feel like doing is turning on your laptop and setting the stage for what’s next.
I have spent the last week or so helping someone close to me get moving, so I thought I would share these simple action tips with you.
1. Get a new e-mail address. You need a professional e-mail that’s your first and last name. You can, for instance, get a custom Gmail address for free. I use firstname.lastname@example.org, but I had to buy that on web host provider Godaddy.com. You may opt for a simple web site, too. It should have your bio, contact information and links to your work if applicable. Say, you’re a documentary producer and editor, put some short video reels of your work up via a Vimeo account. It’s your online calling card.
2. Send a mass new e-mail address alert to everyone you know far and wide. Tell them you have moved on from your older employer and to change your address in their contact lists pronto.
4. Join LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, or pretty-up your current public profile. Online networking and rah, rah self-promotion through social media channels is a little awkward for many of us, but with practice it gets easier.
“Social media is one of the easiest ways to accomplish several key factors that help people land jobs,” Miriam Salpeter, a job search and social media coach, owner of Keppie Careers and author of Social Networking for Career Success: Using Online Tools to Create a Personal Brand, says.“There’s no easier way to showcase what you know to a broad audience of potential colleagues, networking contacts, and hiring managers than via using social media.”
For me, my LinkedIn profile is my working resume. It lets anyone who wants to know about my background, awards, interests, and so on see it all in a straightforward format that I can tweak easily.
Don’t be bashful about posting your interests and volunteer activities. A well-rounded profile creates an impression of who you are and how you balance your personal and professional life.
I even list what I’m reading, thanks to an Amazon link, and am an active member of LinkedIn groups that relate to my current work, alma mater, past employers, and more. I comment on posts from others and add in my own. It’s amazing how many new “Links” you can make.
There’s more window-dressing to apply on LinkedIn once you’re up and rolling. You can add a PowerPoint presentation and a video clip of you from a television interview or a speech via Slideshare. You can link a WordPress blog, if you have one and connect your Twitter account stream. Do it one step at a time as you get more comfortable with steering around the site.
- Upload a professional headshot (or at least a good-looking photo, even if you took it with your iPhone). People want to see what you look like.
- Get recommendations. Ask ex-colleagues, previous bosses, and clients to write recommendations.
- Research companies and individuals you want to target. Connect with former associates, and let them know when you’re looking for new opportunities.
- Facebook is friendly, but rein it in. If you set your privacy settings properly, and highlight your work experience and education on your profile, the site has lots to offer. It’s OK to list your hobbies and comment or post articles you find interesting, but keep it in good taste. Think of Facebook as a way to let people learn a little about you. Plus, you are building your network with people who know you from high school and college. Trust me, they can turn out to be great sources when you’re job hunting. You never know where you might get an introduction to a potential employer, or hear of a job opening.
5. Buy a snappy business card. People still hand them out. Go to Staplesor your local print shop. Decide who you are from a marketing standpoint. I’m an author, journalist, speaker. Pick a theme- maybe a stack of books for me–a type font, decide what you want on there-mobile phone number, email, LinkedIn address, Twitter address, web site. You might not need home address or landline. This can set you back $35 for 200.
6. Pick up the phone and schedule a networking meeting. Make a lunch date with someone who might be able to give you some advice about openings in your field. Think broadly here. Reach out. Your next job is probably not going to come from one that is being advertised right now.
7. Take some quiet moments. Think about what you’d really like to be doing in your next act. You might want to make a turn and use your existing skills in a new arena. This is your time to redeploy. Dream a little. It could be the opportunity you have been waiting for to try something new.
8. Never badmouth your ex-employer (unless you’re talking to your spouse). It always reflects negatively on you when you criticize others. Best to take the high road.
10. Do one thing every day to make a change. This can be as fast as an e-mail, a phone call to tell a colleague you’re nosing around the job market again, or a half an hour spent sipping coffee with a mentor. Remember to ask others what exciting things they’re up to.
People love to talk about themselves, and you never know, it might give you some fresh ideas for your future.
Click here for an Index of Articles by Kerry Hannon
I’m the author of What’s Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job, available here www.kerryhannon.com. I am a fellow in the MetLife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellowship program created by New America Media and the Gerontological Society of America. To learn about great jobs for retirees, check out my column on AARP. Follow me on Twitter, @KerryHannon