Bumps in the road during your career and in life are to be expected. The critical question is what do you do about it? Do you make a comeback? Wallow in self-pity? Stay depressed? Accelerate your plans? What do you do to come out ahead?
Some say comebacks are a rarity. That may be true in sports or politics, because the opportunities to advance are slim to none. But for you and me, the opportunities are what we make of them, as there are prospects all around us. Here are my thoughts about what to do.
» Make a bad situation better: The unsaid word is “manage” not “roll over.” Whatever the situation, you’ll need to optimize the upside and minimize the downside with strategies in your favor. Caught in a reorganization? Get your resume into the marketplace asap. Ask for additional paid severance, extended benefits, a glowing reference or ask for a few more weeks to finish a project. Cut back on non-essential expenses. Assess your positives and negatives then develop a strategy to augment each one. Your goal is to elevate your position, no matter what it is, to the highest level possible.
» Manage the transition: My best advice is to leave the past behind quickly and focus on the future. Easier said than done, but the sooner you look to your next steps the more positive the outcome. Those who dwell on anger, bad mouth bosses and organizations, or wonder what you could have done differently, are all a waste of time and energy. You can’t change the past; you can only affect the future. Your best approach is to objectively assess your greatest skill, achievements and results, then match them against functions and skills that organizations are looking for in candidates. If you objectively analyze the marketplace you’ll see where the opportunities are and what you need to do to attain a new and better position.
» Focus on your goal: Define your overall objective, then determine the best direction: What goal do you want to pursue? It may be higher, lower or similar to the one you have now. The higher the level, the more difficult and longer it will take to find. Some functions are in demand (like cyber security and big data analysis) while others are not (like retail store and branch bank managers). Put a compelling resume together that spotlights measurable results, then target organizations that are looking for skills and experiences that match your most outstanding traits. You want hiring managers to see you as the answer to their most pressing problem that needs a solution.
Making a comeback after a negative situation is never easy. The most difficult part is to carry on without a destructive attitude that will hurt your chances of finding the right organization. The most important and difficult element is to have the right attitude, focused drive and with the correct strategy to accomplish your task.
Kaufmann is president of My Greener Future. For a free review of your resume, send it to email@example.com.