Sunday, July 22, 2012

What if you're downsized?

In your opinion, out of 10 people who are fired, let go or downsized, how many of them were SURPRISED?

Most people would agree that all 10 people would be surprised.

Why is that?

Well, it is our human nature to overestimate our value and, in this case, to overestimate the strategic or financial contribution we make to the employer organization.

Linkedin then serves as a kind of insurance, enabling us to find a new job relatively quickly -- if we are downsized or let go.

However, Linkedin itself is just a tool.

The two KEY ingredients of effective and proactive career management are:

-  How big is the contribution you are able to make to an employer organization?
-  How big is your network? (Yes, size matters)

If you read the fabulous little book by Ram Charan, What the CEO wants you to know, you will understand why and how companies hire.

By understanding the basics of business, as explained by Charan, you can position yourself in a way that makes you indispensable or even critical to a business organization.

So that takes care of question #1, in that you must translate your human capital (education, experience, skills, talent, etc.) into terms that a BUSINESS organization can understand and appreciate.

In other words, the first question is all about your Unique Value Proposition (UVP).

Here's a "magic" sentence that will help you get started as you think about and draft your UVP.

Fill in the blanks: "I help .......... to do .................. so that ..............."

Example: "I help consumer goods companies to create effective and robust marketing plans so that they can maximize revenues and profitability."

A VP marketing or director of marketing, might have written the above Unique Value Proposition and included it in his Linkedin profile.

That way, all potential employers, headhunters and his own Linkedin connections, will have a clear idea about what he is all about, career-wise.

As for the second question (How big is your network?), it is fairly technical and relatively easy since you can build more and more connections by participating on Linkedin Answers or joining Linkedin Groups.

Unfortunately, I've observed that most people on Linkedin do not have a clear UVP.

I read their profiles and I don't have a good sense of what they are doing for employers or clients.

Remember that employers will "show you the money" (i.e. make a job offer) only if they first see your Unique Value Proposition.

Everybody can write a good resume or a good cover letter.

The winners in the job market, as well as those who get promoted up the corporate ladder, are the rare folks who know their Unique Value Proposition and communicate it clearly and consistently to all their career allies (on or off Linkedin).