It has to be the scariest thing to lose your job having entered the 6th decade of your life.
With more than 10 years to retirement on one hand and the recent business trend for delayaring or downgrading on the other, the future seems really grim.
Here are some practical tips that we in CFR Athens share with executives who find themselves in this position and ask for our opinion/support.
1. Deal with it emotionally
As the saying goes “no need to cry over the spilled milk”. Take your time to deal with your emotions, accept reality and act. Don’t take it personally and don’t try to find someone to blame. Statistics show that nearly all executives will be faced with a similar situation within their professional lives.
2. Check your options
No one is at the same situation as the other. There are two directions to follow. Look for another job or become self employed. Having worked for many years as an employee, the most natural thing is to search for another similar job. Becoming and entrepreneur at that age and with no prior experience seems quite tricky. On the other hand if you direct all the experience and knowledge you got towards a new business proposition it could become a great success. Yes everything is possible. In this article we will focus on the process of finding a new full time job.
3. Make a thorough financial health check
In many cases the redundancy comes with a compensation package that is higher than the typical one. This might give a false sense of a longterm financial safety. We often hear the words “this can keep me going for the next one or two years”. True, however this will definitely NOT take you to retirement. According to a survey published last year in The Guardian “Older people more than twice as likely to be unemployed for two years or longer if they lose job” (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/jan/18/over-50s-who-lose-jobs-much-more-likely-to-stay-unemployed-study-finds). So the sooner you get a job the better. The financial health check has to do with the calculation of the minimum future compensation that will not severely affect the current quality of life of the family. Act as if you need the job from the next day!
4. Make the job search your current full time job
For the next months act as your new full time job is to find a job. Visit all recruiting sites, call your acquaintances in recruiting agencies, contact your personal network and make sure that all these learn that you are out in the market looking for your next career step. Bear in mind that there are many jobs that are not published or managed through recruiting agencies. Continuous follow up with the personal/professional network may “unlock” these opportunities. Especially for executives who have a long, non-stop career development, being suddenly in the position to ask for a job is not easy. This is true and natural. The only way to get over it is … to get over it!
5. Prepare yourself for the interviews
In many redundancies the former employer offers outplacement services to the laid off executives. Do take it! It does not matter if you are highly experienced person who knows how to write a CV or has been through many interviews and assessments. Experienced professionals will lead you through all necessary steps in re-writing your CV and prepare for the next interviews. Bear also in mind that they have to forward your CV to their clients or other recruitment agencies.
6. Apply for the jobs you have real chances for
Take some time and find what is your “Unique Selling Proposition” as an executive. We often hear the words “I can do everything”, “I am ready to diversify and test myself in something new, since my experience is wide”. Remember when you were hiring someone for your team and you had a short list of three candidates, two with all the necessary experience and requirements and one with a more generic experience. Who would you chose? Nine out of ten times the recruiter will follow the safe route. Find your USP and apply for a job which is close to this.
7. Focus on smaller, private, family owned companies
Large multinational organisations tend to use senior executives from their own international network through re-locations to fill in empty positions. On the other hand smaller, privately owned companies may see a redundant senior executive as a chance to “take advantage” of his / her experience offering a win win proposition.
8. Never give up! You only need ONE positive answer regardless of the number of the negative ones!
No one says that this is easy. It takes a lot of physical and psychological stamina to get through this difficult period in your life. And none of the above will be effective unless there is Love, Support and Affection from your family!
Article written by Nikos Floros, CFR Global Executive Search, Greece.
Photo source: Freepik