By Constance B. Wolf

You lost your job. You’ve seen it happen to friends and neighbors and each time you thought, “thank heavens it wasn’t me”. Only this time, it was you. Fear, panic and denial came first. Even a little shame. ” What did I do wrong?” you might ask. Then the numbness of inactivity descends. Stress leaves you fatigued or unable to get the motivation to even look for a new job.

If any or all of these symptoms occur, you are not alone. Millions of others have had to face the same fate.

Whether reorganization, downsizing or poor performance have left you in this predicament, it’s necessary to make the Career Transition. Luckily, there is a tried and true approach to finding a new job. The bad news is it takes lots of energy, motivation and work!

The Career Transition Process:

Step 1. Internal Search

Step 2. Resumes

Not much can be done externally until you have revised your resume. The Resume is the summary look at who you are and what you have done that communicates to someone a picture of your skills, abilities
and potential. The resume can be done in a Chronological or Functional format. You’ll need two
types: the formal written version and an Internet version. The E-resume is new and more important as
firms automate the recruiting process.

Once the resume is completed or updated, it should always be used selectively. Managing your job search is an important part of the process. Sending the resume out all over the place will often cause
problems down the road…and seldom yield positive results.

Step 3. Marketing Tools

There are a number of preparatory things you will want in your Tool Box. The first is to design the
“elevator speech”, the 60 second description of who you are and what you are looking for. A :30 second version is also useful for brief introductions or telephone calls.

Other on-hand tools should be letters of reference and sample letters to be used as the basis of correspondence in the job search process eg: meeting requests, thank you letters, etc.

Step 4. Networking

The success or failure of your job search often comes down to how much effort are you willing to
put into networking. Most studies of job searching will tell you that the majority of jobs are found via referrals by one person to someone who has knowledge or responsibility of an open position.
Yet, this is an activity that many people find uncomfortable. So, it’s important to realize that
networking can be done in a variety of ways: one-on-one contacts, associations, networking events, telephoning , requesting meetings for the specific purpose of gaining knowledge or contacts in a certain field. Finding the way you can be comfortable and succeed is the secret. Next , map out your strategy and get going!

Step 5. Research & Search

Finding the companies you wish to approach or those that have open positions is the next step.
In addition to networking, you’ll want to identify companies to contact directly. There are
many resources at your local Library and on the Internet that give information about companies and even list open positions on the company’s website.

Recruiters and Internet Job banks are the next source to consider. Newspapers, government agencies
and private companies run lists of jobs or offer places to post your resume.

Step 6. Planning & Monitoring The Search Process

The Career Search itself is now your job! Finding a quiet place to run your search and manage the communications is a critical part of the process. Next, put a search plan in place as though this is your
full time job. Set aside time to make calls, work the internet, have meetings and interviews, and network, network and network!

You’ll also want to put a tracking sheet in place to monitor your job search. You can use a computer,
written template, or ideally, paper a large wall to track referrals, responses and connections.

Step 7. Presence

You’ve no doubt heard the phrase, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Take a long hard look at yourself. Are your clothes giving the image you wish to project? Do you
take care of your grooming whenever you are out? Who knows who you will run into?
Do you dress appropriately for interviews and meetings? What is your body language saying about you? Are you confident or fidgeting? Do you speak clearly and loud enough to be heard?
Even when we’re nervous, it’s important to ‘ fake it til you make it’!

Step 8. Opportunities & Offers

If you take care of the 7 steps above, you will eventually be faced with the interviewing and
negotiating processes. Before you actually go for the interview, you should have researched the
company to know their products and services, their culture and what is important to them.
If you are clear about your homework on your Internal Search and Resume development above, you will have identified examples to use during the interview. Many interviews today rely on scenarios…how would you handle a certain situation? Reviewing your past accomplishments and experiences will give you a good refresher for answering these types of questions.

When the job offer comes, you enter the negotiating phase. The offer is not just about the salary. There are many aspects that come into the Offer Package. The first question you want to raise is whether there is room for negotiating. Usually the firm will let you know if this is the case. Consider things like vacation time, insurance, bonuses, cars, medical, as well as the salary itself when you look at the package.

In summary, The Career Transition Process has identifiable steps. If the market is tight, the time to find
a new job may take longer than is comfortable. Yet, if you treat your search like it is your current job and follow a well designed process, you will be giving yourself all the advantages for success that you can.


* * * * *

Connie Wolf is president of Sounding Board®, a service of CBW, Inc. She holds a master's degree in Organization Development and is a graduate of Coach University and the Gestalt Therapist Training Program. She is the creator of the Sounding Board® approach to professional coaching and consulting and can be reached at  or 480-607-1960.