Welcome to the "AOL Career Luck Project." Inspired by you, our readers, this weekly series offers practical advice by showcasing real-life examples of career makeovers. Learn to create your own career luck using the tips and techniques given to project participants. Every Thursday.
She worked for a start-up and got laid-off. That's okay because she got hired by another start-up...only to get laid-off again. She thought the third start-up would be the charm. But alas, she was laid-off again! Marci's had one serious career roller coaster ride in the last couple of years. Especially, with two layoffs happening within six months!
Can she get off the layoff roller coaster?!
Marci was questioning whether she should keep trying to find a start-up company to work for. She loved many of the aspects of the start-up culture i.e. the energy, close team relationships, diverse responsibilities, opportunity to get in at the ground-level, etc. But, could her career keep taking these unexpected hits of unemployment?
Solution: Stop type-casting the job search.
Marci realized she needed to broaden her search beyond the start-up world. She also recognized it was time to create a little L.U.C.K. as a way to find a new job fast. Here's what she did:
Locate the Problem - Marci recognized the true requirement for her to feel satisfied professionally was to work for a company that did something she was passionate about. They didn't have to be in start-up mode. They just needed to do something she believed in. Identifying with the company's purpose was what motivated her to work hard. Thus, she needed to be able to fuel that part of her professional self, but no longer limit her job search to only start-up cultures.
Uncover the Issue - Marci also realized both times she got laid-off it was due to the type of work she was doing for the company. Her role wasn't being perceived as a core function to the business. This time around, she wanted to move to a role she new would be considered vital to the success of the company.
Create a New Gameplan - Marci knew she needed to put her job search in high-gear immediately. There was no time to waste. With back-to-back layoffs, she had to push herself to not let the past events slow her down or make her depressed. She decided to enlist the help of a career coaching service to keep her on track. Here's what she said:
...I joined a job search coaching program and dove right in. I reviewed my Professional Strengths Profile, honing in on several industries. I chose a bucket list of companies and people to contact. I watched LinkedIn labs, took notes, and followed directions, which allowed me to optimize my online profile. I participated in LI groups and answered questions where I could. I started using Twitter, and made sure to connect with people and companies I found interesting, while sharing curated content. I reviewed many of the career coaching modules offered to me - the Brand Me archives are a favorite. But perhaps the most profound impact career coaching had on me was the reminders that, as hard as this transitionary period was, maintaining a professional and ambitious mindset and demeanor was critical to success as professionals between jobs. Because let's face it, no one wants to talk to Debbie Downer, no matter how justified she is in feeling rejected and useless.
Know Your Next Steps - Marci used her time wisely and focused on networking as her number one priority. She re-branded herself to let her network know she wasn't focused on start-ups any more. Instead, she was looking for a company that wanted to use her passion for their product and her sales savvy to become a Marketing Manager. Her confidence in what she wanted to do and her ability to clearly articulate how she could add value to an organization helped her to have lots of meaningful conversations with her network. Those she met loved what they saw in her, and in turn, helped her get connected to potential opportunities more quickly than she could have done on her own.
Pop the Champagne...Literally!
As Marci executed her networking plan, she reconnected with a colleague with whom she had always felt a great rapport. When Marci asked her colleague what was new in her career, she explained she had be tasked with relocating her company's West Coast location to Marci's neck of the woods. Here's what happened next:
My friend, the Executive Vice President of a French wine company, was tasked with relocating their West Coast office to NYC. As luck would have it, she had very few takers, and was left with open positions she needed to fill asap here in NYC. She knew of my situation, and my desire to move into another industry (I had been laid off 3x in the last 2 yrs, so clearly it was time to go). We had discussed working together on and off over the last few years when we met at parties, but nothing really came of it. But, once I had become unemployed again, I knew it was time to up my game. I had made sure to be active on social, and did everything I could to present myself as someone not sidelined by bad luck, but as someone who was capable of going beyond. I maintained a positive outlook when we met up for dinner last month- saying "yes, it's hard, and I'm not thrilled to be out of work, but here's what I'm focusing on..." That sort of thing, which is what I told everyone who asked.
So, last week when I saw she had checked out my LinkedIn profile, I knew something was up. A day later she contacted me to discuss a job offer, which I happily accepted. And I'm the Marketing Manager, which is great, because I wanted to get out of sales, and highlighting my transferrable skills (as I was taught) worked!
There's No Dumb Luck
Some might say Marci finding this job was a stroke of luck. Not true! Marci created her own luck by treating her job search with the attention and focus it deserved. She mapped out her strategy, planned for bumps in the road, and invested time and energy into getting results. Had she not proactively contacted that colleague and presented herself as a true professional, the discussion would have never turned into talks around Marci as a potential hire. That's not dumb luck, that's true career L.U.C.K. - created 100% by Marci! Here's what she has to say:
If left to my own devices, there is no way I could have presented myself as a viable employee (and business partner!). I referred to myself as a Business of One, and stressed that my goal was to make and/or save the company money, and I would do everything I could to attain my goal. I know all too well that every job is temporary, and my friend has said if I get bored or unhappy in the job, she will do what she can to help me find something else. But right now, I'm going to bask in the success and hard work it took to make this happen, but make no mistake, there is NO WAY I could have done this without help and support.
Don't Let Some Career Setbacks Deter You
Marci wasn't going to let a couple of layoffs dictate her career success in the future. She didn't allow it to get the best of her. She fought back - and so can you. Believe in yourself and get the help you need to succeed. Before you know it, you'll be popping the champagne like Marci!