Wow. Your company has been sold. And you are not part of the deal. How can the sale springboard you to the next step in your career?
Over the past few years, my latest employer sold several of its business units. In each case, some teams joined the acquiring company while some did not. The tips below are what worked for many to find their next jobs, in most cases in even better positions than they left.
First step: Breath.
You worked hard at building this brand/product/service and you succeeded in making it valuable enough for another company to want it. Pat yourself on the back for a bit as the news sinks in. Now open up a clean page and let’s start writing the next chapter of your career.
Second step: List your successes.
List the accomplishments you are most proud of during your tenure at the current job. Can’t think of anything? Are you one of those people that don’t recognize the value of their own work? So ask your boss what she thinks was the most important thing that you contributed to the team. Ask your co-workers. Since you are all going to go your separate ways soon, this is a unique opportunity to gain honest insight into how others value the work that you do. Did you provide a unique solution to a problem? Achieve exceptional results? Create something particularly smart, creative and effective? Are these accomplishments quantifiable? Make a list for yourself. Besides a lovely ego boost when you might need one, this will serve as raw material for interviews and your CV in just a beat.
Third step: Take a good look.
Look around you. What were the things you liked most about your current job? The least? What is important to you? What do you want to be the same or different next time around?
Fourth step: Update your social media profiles and CV.
With your list of successes in hand, update your LinkedIn profile and CV with your proudest accomplishments. Check them for grammar and spelling mistakes using the built-in tools in Word or with apps like Grammarly. (This is a pet peeve of mine – I will never invite someone for an interview if they write that they have strong communications skills but the CV is full of errors.) But it’s not just about grammar. Get feedback on the content of your LinkedIn profile and your CV from people you trust.
If you haven’t updated your other social media profiles in years, now is the time. You don’t need to show yet that you are leaving your company, but the profile pictures should actually look like who you are today.
Fifth step: Make a list of your top tier contacts to update.
These might be the headhunters you worked with in the past, the professors who always gave you an A, the former colleagues that just-so-happen to work in companies you’d love to join and more. Update them with your status. Be honest. Many of us have been raised to feel embarrassed about being imminently unemployed, but there is no shame in not being part of an acquisition. Tell them, “I just wanted to let you know that my company was sold and I will be available for a new adventure in the next few months.” Invite them to coffee. Catch up. Ask them which websites or headhunters they would check out if they were you. And in this way you are letting the market know that you are available for something terrific.
Sixth step: Reconnect over coffee.
So you updated your CV and you applied to every relevant job that pops up in your job alerts on LinkedIn (you did assign alerts in LinkedIn, didn’t you?). You have started wrapping things up at work, and you have more free time than you have had in years. Awesome! Take this time to meet friends and other contacts that you might not have seen in a while because you were too busy working. Meet them for coffee. Go to a Meetup together. Take a workshop and learn something new. Having time between jobs is a GIFT. While change and uncertainty can be stressful, we spend so much of our adult life working, it’s a shame not to enjoy the breaks, no matter the reason.
Now what about me?
Mobfox was recently acquired, leaving me in the position of trying to figure out what to do next.
About a hundred years ago (it feels), before my high tech career, before the five kids, before the MBA and even moving to Israel from the US…I completed a degree in creative writing and published a number of short stories in literary journals.
So…while I follow the steps above and keep my eyes and ears open for my next VP Marketing/CMO gig where I can have real impact…I am also doing something completely different. Part of writing this down is a kind of contract with myself to pick up my writing where I left it so many years ago. And I will document my journey here on this blog. I plan to write fiction as well as blog posts on marketing best practices and tips, gentle parenting, and well, all the other stuff that pops into my head and only writing it down will sort it out.
I invite you to come along on my journey by subscribing to this blog.