Jennifer called recently to ask for advice about finding a new job in the current economic situation, a situation characterized by many lay-offs and company closings.
When the market tightens, many people are tempted to succumb to negativity and lose sight of their goals. Perhaps the most important advice we can offer is to stay calm and remain focused. This is not the time to frantically — and blindly — send many resumes with the hope of finding “something.” (This often translates to “something” that takes you off your career path and may cost you a lot in the long run.)
Even more than in a strong economy, it is important to carefully assess and prioritize your skills before identifying the type of position that best suits you. Perhaps you’ll identify two or at the most three areas to explore. More than that can be confusing.
Types of Questions to ask yourself:
- Is top management truly what you do best or did you really excel in the analytical work you did on the way to the top?
- Is the hospital environment one you really love or is there another aspect of health care that would be more interesting to you?
- Do you feel more comfortable in a smaller–or larger–institution?
- Is there a new industry that you’d like to investigate?
Take some quiet time by yourself to ask yourself these kinds of questions so you can delineate some career directions which are appealing and would be a good fit for you.
What Next? Obtain Feedback
Then you can begin to use your network (face-to-face and social media) to ask questions about how your abilities and preferences might fit with the current climate in that industry.
Depending on the feedback that you get about the job market in your areas of interest, you may need to do some brainstorming about how you could fit in. You might also want to explore some alternative directions.
For example, if you are targeting top management, but find that opportunities are limited in your industry, you might consider other related industries which could offer challenging opportunities to use your administrative skills and experience. You might also look in less traditional but more open areas. Being flexible about geography and type of company (and sometimes in type of job) will definitely maximize your chances of finding a satisfying situation which may lead to a new career direction.
To succeed in a tight job market, you must be very focused and aggressively pursue your career goals. Select two, or at the most three, viable career directions and pursue them actively. By utilizing your contacts, getting coaching in presenting yourself in resumes, cover letters and interviews so that the employer sees clearly what you have to contribute, you will be able to create exciting new career opportunities for yourself, even in difficult economic times.