It’s news that no administrative professional wants to hear. Your executive is leaving and can’t take you along. Your position has been eliminated. You were taken out of the game by the latest round of layoffs. Your company is closing its doors.
If you’re like most people, you’ll go directly to the online job boards and newspaper “help wanted” ads. And while that is a great first step, there are many other options you should factor into your search immediately. If you want to stay ahead of the competition and find positions that might elude the rest of the crowd, here are some alternatives.
1. Activate Your Professional Network
No one likes to tell the world that they’ve lost their job. You’re probably feeling upset and disheartened. Depending on the circumstances of your dismissal, you may even feel embarrassed or ashamed. But your professional network is there to help!
Studies say that 60% or more jobs are found by networking; and most of the time, all you need to do is ask! Send out an email to your professional network letting them know that you’re looking for work. You can share as much (or as little) about your circumstances as you want — but getting the word out as early as possible can only help you find a new position sooner.
2. Leverage Your Social Media Platforms
Social media is a great place to look for a new job. However if you’re waiting for recruiters, headhunters, and other assorted position-givers to come to you, you’re probably going to be waiting quite a while.
Instead, make sure your social profiles are up to date, use good keywords to highlight your skills and abilities, and (again) spread the word that you’re actively looking. This can be as simple as a status update – “Colleagues and friends, I’m searching for a new position in [insert field here]. If anyone hears of anything, please let me know!”
While Facebook and Twitter are viable candidates for your job hunting endeavors, LinkedIn is, by far, your best option. The platform gives you the ability to put your professional portfolio directly on the site, get endorsements, and join admin-centric groups that can help in your search.
LinkedIn also offers you the ability to plug in your criteria for your job search, and the site will automatically email you daily or weekly (your choice!) with recently added positions that fit your needs and skill set!
3. Understand the Benefits of Volunteering
Volunteering is good for your soul – but what many admins don’t understand is that it’s also good for your career. Employed or not, I always recommend choosing an organization close to your heart and donating some of your precious time.
When you lose your job, however, volunteering can save you. Not only does it look fantastic on your resume and help you fill an employment gap, you’re also expanding your network and making valuable connections. In some cases, you may even be able to turn your unpaid work into a whole new career!
Imagine you’re volunteering for a community organization. You’re rubbing elbows with some of the movers and shakers in town, you’re proving your dedication, and you’re making a difference. Now, imagine a paid administrative position opens up in that very organization, or at the company of one of those movers and shakers you’ve spent some time getting to know. You’re perfectly suited to swoop in and take the job!
Barring this occurrence, volunteering still puts you in the right position to gain experience you may not get anywhere else. Volunteering can open doors!
4. Get in Touch with Your Professional Associations
Professional associations are yet another underrated way to boost your job search. You pay your dues, you attend the meetings, you may even organize events – so why shouldn’t you get something in return?
Again, you’ll have to reach out to get help. And while that can be hard, it can also be worth it. After all, these organizations aren’t made up entirely of admins – executives, hiring managers, and even CEOs are also affiliated with professional associations. Your next executive could be sitting next to you at a meeting, or even working alongside of you to help plan it!
5. Be Conversational
You never know what direction opportunity will come from. The stranger sitting next to you on the train could be the owner of a startup company looking for someone just like you to fill a position. The barista who pours your coffee might have an uncle who just lost his assistant.
Obviously, you shouldn’t greet every stranger with “Hi, I’m [name], and I’m looking for a job.” But taking time to meet people, have a conversation, and see where things go is never a bad idea. At worst, you exchange pleasantries and move on. At best, you make a lasting, mutually beneficial connection.
Be prepared with an “elevator pitch” – a short, succinct version of who you are and what you can do. Make sure you have business cards to back this up! At the very least, your business cards should have your contact information, LinkedIn profile, and the link to your digital portfolio. Once you prepare yourself, you’ll be ready when opportunity presents itself!
Losing your job isn’t fun, but it’s also not the end of the world. When you begin to see it for the opportunity it can be, and have strategies in place to help you move on, it becomes more bearable.
Have you ever lost your job? How did you deal with it? Let us know in the comments or email us at AdminSuccess@AllThingsAdmin.com!
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.