Losing your job through downsizing is a tough life lesson. It’s not just emotionally and financially difficult, it forces you to confront difficult truths, too. Don’t throw away the chance for real growth, even when it’s painful: What did you learn from downsizing? Here are eight lessons my own clients have learned over the years from their downsizing journeys.
- No one is irreplaceable. Even those who are excelling in their jobs can find those jobs eliminated. Some are eliminated BECAUSE they do so well! Top-performing employees command higher salaries, and some companies downsize by cutting the highest-paid, not the lowest performers.
- Job loss isn’t always about cause. Sometimes, it’s just about the organization’s bottom line. Being downsized isn’t shameful, it’s just business. Although it has great personal impact, it’s not a statement of your worth or value.
- Your most important assets are portable. No matter what great project or title you leave behind, your greatest achievements come with you to the next job. It’s important to remind yourself, as well as hiring influencers, of that fact. Your skills, experience, education, and your work ethic are all part of the valuable package you offer a new employer.
- Career management is your job, not your employer’s. No one will build your career or has more interest in your growth than you do. It isn’t up to your company to promote you as they see fit, it’s up to you to pursue that next step in the career ladder. Prepare yourself for the next level and pursue your own career ladder!
- Stay ready for the job search. It’s far easier to do a little work every month on your networking, branding, resume, and new skills than it is to play catch-up after an unexpected job-loss. Do the maintenance on your resume, LinkedIn profile, networking, and keeping up with technology as a part of your career management, not in an emergency situation.
- Plan ahead. Create connections in your network to places you’d like to work someday. Learn the skills that are highly sought in your industry. Keep an eye out for unexpected opportunities. Set goals for yourself in your career, so that you’re never simply treading water.
- Use networking as practice for interviewing. All those fears and anxieties that everyone has around interviewing are part of networking, too. Introducing yourself, meeting new people, marketing yourself, and proving your value to others, it all makes networking like a series of mini-interviews. This means that networking is the perfect place to polish your elevator pitch, get comfortable with an effective handshake, and get used to discussing what makes you a valuable addition to any team. If you network regularly, interviewing isn’t nearly as intimidating!
- Brand maintenance is key. There’s no way to build your personal brand in a week, but that’s often the short lead-up people give themselves before the job search begins after being downsized. If you schedule a little time each month to plan out your social media posts, check that your profiles are up-to-date, and find valuable articles to offer, you’ll build a solid personal brand that will serve you well during your next job search.