One of the hardest parts of my job is talking with senior executives who are desperate for a new job but seemingly unwilling and unable to recognize what they’re doing isn’t working. Their desperation has led them to fear, anxiety, stress and loss of confidence.
This week, I had two such calls.
Call one: She was in the running for a very senior role. It occupied most of her attention for three months. Confident she would be the winning candidate, she gave up all other avenues of her search to focus on this one opportunity. Sadly, she was the runner-up. Now, she’s left looking for a new opportunity. To make matters worse, she confessed that her severance was ending soon and she was the sole breadwinner for her family.
Call two: A senior technology leader went from applying to CTO roles to considering a role as a greeter at his local Walmart. He had been laid off in July and thought he’d have time to find something. Unfocused and unsure how to conduct an effective job search, he tried using AI to tailor his applications and sadly, those applications produced no results. He tried what he knew, but nothing was working.
Instead of going after his “dream job” he hesitated; possibly out of fear, possibly out of not knowing how.
- He chose not to invest in himself and learn how to market himself to the job market.
- He chose not to take the leap and learn about the job he truly wanted.
- He chose not to reach out to industry insiders to learn about what they were seeing in the market.
- He chose to focus on what wasn’t working instead of what he needed to change to get results.
I highlight these two calls because in both cases, they let the clock run out on their job search.
None of us thinks this will happen to us – especially those of us at advanced stages of our careers!
I don’t like to share these stories. I’d much prefer to tell you that these people reached out in time to get the support they needed. I share these stories to educate and inform and to implore you to pay attention to your career. These individuals missed the warning signs that lead to career distress and crisis along with financial difficulties.
To spare you from this experience, here are my recommendations:
- Develop your career navigating tools. Don’t wait for a crisis to hit before preparing yourself.
- Clarify your goals and your targets. You can’t have *all* the jobs, but you can concentrate your efforts in one focused direction making your job search much more effective and your brand messages succinct.
- Be willing to learn and adapt to today’s job market. You may feel a certain way about your experience, your age and your qualifications, but that doesn’t mean the market feels the same way. Be ready to pivot.
Certified career professionals shorten your time on the job market, they help you see blind spots in your job search, and help you craft key messages to share with employers. Ultimately the good ones can boost your confidence and career resiliency while positioning you as a top candidate.
If your situation persists, consider any of these FREE resources:
- Career transition support: If your employer offers your outplacement services, consider them. As labour markets change, so too does the hiring process. Get up to speed with what’s happening.
- Employment centres: Local, provincial and federal employment centres exist across the country. You may need to be underemployed or unemployed to receive free job search-related services.
- Campus career centres: Recently graduated? Have a look at your colleges and university alumni services.
- Online resources: LinkedIn, company websites, blog posts, podcasts, and YouTube videos are just a few of the online tools at your fingertips. The more informed you are about your industry and the local labour market, the better.
- Public libraries: Gain FREE access to business and career books, magazines, newspapers and digital media. In Canada, most public libraries will give you access to audiobooks (Libby) and LinkedIn Learning (for free!)
Don’t let the clock run out on your search. Get the help you need before you need it most.
Related Categories: Advice, Client Questions & Answers, Featured, Job Search
About The Author
Maureen McCann is an award-winning career coach, master resume writer, and master certified interview, employment, and career strategist whose clients include C-level executives, managers, and professionals in all industries including the Canadian banking, oil and gas, healthcare, IT, and government sectors.