Lost Your Job? Seven Things You Should Do Before Starting Your Job Search

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Unemployed Job Seekers Should Rewrite Their Resume, Prep Interviewing Questions and Set Goals When Embarking on New Job Hunt, Says Executive Search Firm Harris Allied


People lose their jobs for many reasons. Even in cases when you’re fired for poor performance, it’s important to leave that embarrassment at the door and put the past behind you so you can look forward toward the future.

Almost everyone, at some point in their career, gets laid off or fired, say experts at Harris Allied, a New York City-based executive search firm. The toughest thing, they say, is not to be embarrassed or hold a grudge against your former employer.

“People lose their jobs for many reasons. Maybe their company has decided to outsource or sell a division; it’s purely a financial decision; or the nature of the work or business has changed. Even in cases when you’re fired for poor performance, it’s important to leave that embarrassment at the door and put the past behind you so you can look forward toward the future,” says Harris Allied Managing Partner Kathy Harris.

Harris offers the following additional suggestions for unemployed job seekers so that they can put their best foot forward while trying to make the most of today’s job market:

  •     Write a brand new resume: Do not revise or edit an existing resume. Write a new one from scratch and position yourself in a fresh new light. What was important to you five years ago is not important to the job you are seeking now.
  •     Clean up the dates on your resume: Just refer to the years you were employed rather than the months and years. It becomes confusing and, if you remember incorrectly and a prospective employer discovers the discrepancy, they might assume you lied. Simpler is better.
  •     Nail your messaging: Be clear on how you plan to communicate your career interruption during an interview. Get some coaching from a recruiter and work through the language you will use when describing what happened. Be prepared with the right words and make sure you’re not bitter during that part of the conversation. Of course, never lie. Employers will check your references.
  •     Be professional: There are rules for dealing with your former employer: Never bash them in a conversation with anyone because you never know if it will get back to them. Your field is a small universe and people talk. Also, limit conversations with people at your last job – you don’t want to get sucked into old office politics.
  •     Freshen up: Update your LinkedIn profile, update any professional accreditations and clean up your Facebook page of anything that might turn off a potential employer.
  •     Network every day: Connect with people on LinkedIn; reach out to recruiters and ask for introductions to new recruiters; have dinner or drinks with old contacts; and keep the conversation positive.
  •     Pay it forward: Take the time off to do something good for someone else: Make an introduction for someone, volunteer or mentor someone junior. Use the time as an opportunity to “do good.” You will feel better about yourself and maybe make some new connections in the process.

“It’s important to remember that just because your last boss did not value what you bring to the table, it does not mean that your next employer will not see the value in what you bring to your new position,” says Harris.

About Harris Allied
Harris Allied provides premier executive search, technology and quant analyst placement services to the financial services, professional services, consumer goods, digital media and tech industries. The firm represents clients who are at a variety of growth stages: from tech start-ups to established industry leaders. Harris Allied’s client-centric approach allows the firm to objectively assess the strengths of qualified candidates and thoughtfully match them with the right opportunities. For more information visit http://www.harrisallied.com. To view Harris Allied’s corporate video, “For Each of Us, It Starts with a Moment,” visit http://www.youtube.com/harrisallied.

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Nina Dietrich
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