In 1907, an English officer by the name of Robert Baden-Powell devised what would become the motto of the Boy Scouts: “Be Prepared.” He advised in his book, Scouting for Boys that, “You are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.”
The recent arrival of Covid-19 (or simply “corona virus” as it is sometimes called) has been a somber reminder that we all need to be prepared for the unexpected. While an estimated 90% of Americans are under a “shelter-in-place” mandate, most have taken some precautions to prepare for what might come next. For most of us, that has taken the form of stocking up on frozen or nonperishable foods, as well as staple items like toilet paper.
One area where many fall short in preparation is being ready for an unforeseen “professional displacement.” In these times of unprecedented uncertainty, it is a really good idea to be prepared for unemployment or reduced employment. As reported yesterday, there have been 10 million jobless claims in the past two weeks alone.
Here is what we suggest to prepare for possible professional displacement:
• Have Your Resume Ready
Your resume should not only give a broad overview of your professional experience, it should also set you apart from others who may share a similar background, technical experience, or qualifications. We suggest highlighting your accomplishments, specifically ways in which you have made money, saved money and solved problems. Advertising these accomplishments should help in getting you to the face-to-face interview stage of the process and can also be utilized in the offer-negotiating process. The idea is to make clear the value you can bring to an organization.
• Back up and Update Your Contacts (Rolodex)
As they say, it’s not what you know but who you know. There is a surprising amount of truth to that. You will want to have contact information for a wide range of people. The broader your contacts list, the more networking opportunities are available to you.
• Come up with a strategy
Research and develop a plan. A good plan is a road map to your new job. You may want to start your plan by writing down what parameters to place around your job search. For instance:
- What is your commuting tolerance?
- Are you open to relocation?
- When your former coworkers have moved on to other jobs, where have they gone, if not to a direct competitor? Invest some time into researching if their new company is growing, getting projects, or backlog.
- What niche markets are your competitors thriving in?
During the last recession, our clients who were the most diversified tended to do the best, especially those with business models in the government and healthcare industries.
Remember to stick to the basics. Even if you are not pursuing an opportunity by applying online, job postings can give you an endpoint goal for your plan.
• Activate Your Network
After you have developed a plan, the next step is to activate your network. Experts estimate that 70-85% of jobs are filled through networking. Prioritize individuals with connections in your target companies or sector. The goal is to have them act as advocate for you in the courting process. It may benefit you to hold off on submitting your resume online or via email until you have established an advocate at the target company.
There are definitely some “dos and don’ts” to networking. For example, don’t make the conversation all about you. Dale Carnegie wrote, “You can make more friends in two months by being interested in other people than in two years trying to get people interested in you.” We will be sharing another vlog/blog regarding the keys to successful networking. Keep an eye out or reach out to us directly if we can assist you.
We offer free resume audits for the construction professionals whom we serve. We can help you refine and highlight your accomplishments, making them effective in not only getting you to the interview stage, but also helping you as you negotiate an offer. We have spent the last 16 years developing a network of professionals in the heavy civil sector. Let us put our network to work for you.
Taylor Maurer runs the talent acquisition firm HCRC as senior managing partner. He is a professional heavy civil construction recruiter dedicated to attracting and retaining high quality talent.
*https://www.payscale.com/career-news/2017/04/many-jobs-found-networking https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/02/economy/unemployment-benefits-coronavirus/index.html https://www.businessinsider.com/us-map-stay-at-home-orders-lockdowns-2020-3