What would you do if you got laid off from your sales job today? Many sales professionals are getting laid off in today's tough economy and when it happens, many are not prepared to move forward confidently from being laid off to landing a new sales job. I have seen it many times in my sales career and it has happened to me as well. We get notice that we are getting laid off, and our minds go numb because we are caught off-guard and unsure of what to do. I see people frantically rush to LinkedIn and asking everyone to give them recommendations, or they start calling their "network", that they haven't talk to for years, telling them they they got laid off and to keep them in mind if anything comes up. The problem is, that this is more of a reactive approach versus taking a pro-active approach over time. More importantly, if you are employed today, take a proactive approach to prepare you in case a layoff happens to you.
LAID OFF NETWORKING: THERE IS A REASON WHY THE WORD NETWORKING HAS THE WORD "WORK" IN IT
Networking, believe it or not takes work and it takes time as well. If you think you can do a speed networking session within days of you getting laid off from your sales job, then the effectiveness of building a strong professional network over time will truly help you out when you need to reach out to others to explore different sales job opportunities. Being laid off is not fun, but you can better prepare yourself and your sales career to have the ammo to meet it head on.
Most jobs are found through networking and networking does not only involve online networking sites, but a human touch which makes it stick. It would be hard to all of a sudden join associations, volunteer your time with like minded professionals or attend a seminar to develop your sales skills while building your network. It takes time and if you network and build a good one over time, it will be much easier to land your next sales job after being laid off.
LAID OFF FEELERS: DON'T WAIT
Do you keep a pulse on the sales job market while you are employed? It is a good idea to keep current on the trends of your industry and market. It is good to put feelers out there to see what opportunities exist and what companies are looking for. Many industries are evolving and when they do, sales professionals get laid off with a focused skill set, and the market stinks in terms of other jobs so they start from scratch the day they are laid off. During my sales career, I would browse the sales job postings and look at the requirements. I would also keep up to date on the salary and benefits. Some industries could be booming and needing skilled sales people, where sales job skills can be transferable. When you keep your feelers out there, you also keep your resume fresh as well as your interviewing skills up to date. I know of a sales manager who has over 15 years of sales management experience with once company, but the day he got laid off from his sales job, he was clueless in terms of how to interview and the dust burned a hole in his resume. Keep yourself updated and fresh for the market. You might not be actively looking, but putting feelers out there lets you know what is being offered out there and your hire-ability with other companies.
LAID OFF KILLER
Another way to keep yourself competitive in the sales job marketplace is to add new skill sets under your belt. Do volunteer work using your skills and step out of your comfort zone. Consider going back to school for a masters degree or attend an adult extension program to obtain a professional certificate. Keeping yourself updated to evolve with the market so that not only will you make yourself more valuable to you current company and might prevent you from being selected to be laid off, but it also makes you much more marketable and hire-able in case you do get laid off from your sales job.
LAID OFF... THINK ABOUT IT, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Put yourself in the shoes of the many sales professionals who are getting laid off from their sales job. What would you do and ask yourself the tough question about if you are prepared to go back out on the market and find and land another sales job after being laid off. Think about your finances and if you have a sales job now, start saving and putting away for a rainy day. Its like the thing we all did when we were young wondering how it would feel if we were blind as we close our eyes for about 5 minutes as we stumble around. Do the same thing and close your eyes, really think about how prepared you would be if you were laid off from your sales job today. What would your plan be, who is in your network, who have you helped out and are your skills up to date. If you think through and really put yourself in that situation, you will then understand where you stand in case you are the one getting laid off. Don't wait for it to happen to you and take action today. The action should be built over time and not set aside, but a gradual growth versus a mad dash that usually occurs when a person gets laid off. Be prepared and not only will it help develop your current sales career, but it will also prepare you in case you get laid off from your sales job.