Career transition expert HUGH DAVIES has some suggestions for the growing number of financial services professionals who have been retrenched. And here’s a hint – they do not revolve around immediately trying to find a job and a pay packet to match your last one. Aside from taking the blame for recent economic travails, many executives and professionals in financial services firms have also had to live with being retrenched. For many this has been traumatic – and then their discomfort and confidence has been further impacted by the extreme difficulty landing another job like the last one, in a contracting market for financial services firms. How should you handle this situation – assuming of course that a return to well remunerated work is desired?

HERE ARE FOUR SUGGESTIONS Firstly, recognise that whilst your job has been removed from the former organisation, your career, your achievements and your talents remain with you as a strong platform from which to relaunch yourself. Do some work capturing what you are really good at, and build a fully professional resume. Don’t allow the event of retrenchment to lower your self-esteem for one minute: you are still the same bundle of talents and capabilities that you were before the event! If you have been offered outplacement, take it and work the services effectively. Ask to be matched with a consultant who matches your level of seniority and insist on face-to-face coaching which can support all of your interests.

If your employer has only offered a time-limited superficial outplacement program, consider asking the supplier to match you with a senior consultant over a longer period and pay the difference. (Or persuade your employer to supply an appropriate level of program.) Secondly, recognise that while you should put some energy into applying for jobs like the last one in new organisations – assuming you enjoyed it – the absolute number of opportunities has contracted and you will need to be patient in how long the process may take. Thirdly, to the extent that you are working the “jobs” market, of course you should work the visible market: responding to advertisements and talking with recruiters.

But recognise that most new appointments are in fact won in the invisible market – reached by networking, referrals and direct approaches to organisations. You may need coaching in networking, and you may need to take advice as well in how to craft a direct letter to the CEO of a desired organisation – but don’t neglect these activities. In our experience, considering that 80 per cent of new career opportunities are achieved in this invisible market, you should invest 80 per cent of your time researching fields and organisations of interest and opening doors where you can. Fourthly, you may need to seriously consider ‘re-inventing’ your career.

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