Sunday, April 22, 2018

5 Mistakes Made by Many Experienced Executives Following a Layoff

By Cathy Goodwin

During an uncertain economic climate, many executives and professionals have begun to feel shaky. It’s easy to get caught in a downward spiral. You feel scared and frustrated. So you make a panicky decision. Then you end up even worse off. Some authors speak of “negative energy” that leads to bad decisions.

Here are 5 common mistakes that newly laid-off executives can make. They’re very smart in their own field, but looking for a job is a whole new ball game.

Mistake #1: Paying for someone to get you a job. The only people who can introduce you to prospective employers are identified as recruiters. Companies pay recruiters.

Recruiters work for the hiring company. They are not required to help you or look after your interests. Talk to a recruiter the same way you would talk to a prospective employer.

If you want someone to be your confidante, hire a coach. If a recruiter also claims to be a coach, ask some tough questions about conflict of interest.

Mistake #2: Paying for a marketing campaign that “blasts” your profile to hundreds or thousands of prospective employers. An ethical recruiter will send your resume only to a few carefully chosen prospective employers.

Mistake #3: Sharing your story online through social media and forums.

Use social media to promote yourself in the best possible (though accurate) light. Share your frustrations a trusted confidante offline.

Mistake #4: Denying the need to change.

Once your job is gone, your loyalty is to your own resume and job search. Do the minimum needed to keep your current job, if you are still employed. Use your sick days and vacation days to look for jobs, following your own and your company’s ethical and legal guidelines.

Mistake #5: Seeing yourself as the Lone Ranger.

These days job searches involve many interactions. Chances are you will find your next position by serendipity, while you are networking or just socializing. Nearly every career consultant has heard stories of clients who found their next jobs through clubs, churches, neighbors or even the stranger they met on an airplane.

You need two types of support system. First, you need close friends, family and/or a coach you hire and pay for. This inner circle will get to hear the unvarnished truth. They’ll share your struggles and cheer your success. Of course, you have to move carefully. Some relationships are strengthened by a challenging job search; others are weakened or even lost.

Second, apart from your inner circle, everyone else is a potential resource. They may know potential employers or have tips about breaking into a new field. They know where to take courses and where to network for best results. With this group, you have to keep your game face at all times. You never know who will be recommending you for a job you’ve always wanted. You don’t want to give that person any reason to hesitate based on something you said in a weak moment.

For more information on dealing with layoffs and managing career strategy, visit

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From Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., author, speaker and career consultant, specializing in career challenges of mid-life, mid-career professionals, executives and business owners.

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