React and adapt: That’s the order of the day for most managers — even if that means reinventing yourself.
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended nearly every aspect of institutional and commercial facilities, from HVAC systems and entryways to cleaning procedures and budgets.
For many maintenance and engineering managers, the last year has meant dramatic changes in their facilities and departments as they help their organizations try to return to full operations. For other managers, though, the upheavals and chaos have meant something much more dramatic — changes in an employer’s financial situation that mean the possible or actual loss of a job.
I can relate.
In June 2001, I purchased a microbrewery with thoughts of making it big. I cashed out my retirement fund and used my home as collateral to start the business. I had two major investors that would feed me seed money as we grew. Then the terrorist attacks of Sept.11, 2001, happened.
My two main investors pulled out of the deal, feeling that given the uncertainty of the world at the time, it would be more prudent to hold onto their cash. So there I was — unemployed with no health insurance and no savings. I had been married 17 years with two young teenage children. I remember sitting down with my wife and telling her the dire situation we faced. Here is what she said: “I love you, I’m proud of you. Now get your ass back to work!”
Fast forward to 2020, when another catastrophic event happened — the COVID-19 pandemic. In December, I received a call from the owner of the company I worked for informing me that I was being let go as managing director due to the lack of work. Twenty years after the 2001 career crisis, I once again was unemployed with no health insurance. My wife and I have been married 38 years, and the kids are adults, but I do have a retirement fund, so I am not as bad off as I was then. This time, my wife said to me, “I love you, I’m proud of you. Now get your ass back to work!”
Like a lot of people in the United States and around the world, I’ve been through a difficult time. I went through anger, resentment, panic and depression. But now it is time to get back to work.
My wife was playing music the other day, and one of her favorite artists, Joni Mitchell, was singing, “A Case of You.” A line in that song caught my ear: “I live in a box of paints.” I wrote it down and traced it again and again. For some reason, the lyrics resonated with me. So now I’m opening that box of paint to see what the next picture of myself I can paint.
How to Find a Job: Best Practices for the Search
One top-tier manager shares his advice on how he was able to best position himself when the pandemic cost him his job.
Many managers are going through ordeals as a result of the pandemic and its fallout. Job loss — or the threat of it — is always stressful, and recovering and finding new employment is challenging. What can we do to help ourselves out and prepare for a possible worst-case scenario? Start with these resources:
I updated my CV for the first time in more than 25 years. One crucial guideline is to keep the resume short and to the point. Potential employers don’t care what high school you graduated from. Your resume needs to make a good first impression, and fast. One in five respondents said they spend 30 seconds or less reviewing resumes, according to a recent survey of hiring managers. Consider these tips:
- Emphasize skills and abilities. Since a hiring manager spends less than 30 seconds reviewing your resume, make sure you customize your skills and abilities to the job they are recruiting for.
- Quantify achievements. I like to see numbers when a candidate lists achievements. Here are two examples: Reduced mean time- to repair (MTTR) by 18 percent. Facilitated preventive maintenance optimization workshops that resulted in a 35 percent reduction in non-value activities.
- Think digital. More organizations now look at a candidate’s online profile. Employers check candidates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Make sure you are not posting any that could be interpreted as objectionable. When you are looking for a job or setting yourself up for career change, it is important to have an online presence to showcase your skills and experience. Your online social media pages also will help you connect with contacts who can expedite your job search and assist you with your search.
- Keep it short. Ideally, your resume is one page. List contact information, use bullet points, focus on accomplishments instead of job descriptions, and use numbers for accomplishments if you can.
Job sites and boards.
A great deal has changed since I entered the workforce. Typing resumes and cover letters and mailing them out was a full-time job. Today, managers looking for work can visit literally dozens of websites and job boards. Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Google for Jobs and Monster are the top five sites. Industry-specific job sites, such as Facilitiesnet.com and jobnet.ifma.org target the facilities marketplace.
If let go, managers would be wise to consider certain ways to find work that have proven successful, according to Forbes:
- Go to the state or federal employment office. It could be the unemployment service office or one of the federal government’s nationwide CareerOneStop business centers, now alternatively called AmericanJobCenters, to get instructions on how to job hunt better and find leads. This method works 14 percent of the time.
- Ask for job leads. Ask family members, friends and people you know in the community or on LinkedIn if they know of any employers seeking someone with your talents and background. It works 33 percent of the time.
- Knock on the door of any employer, office or manufacturing plant. This method works 47 percent of the time and works best with small employers.
- Get your name and face out there. It is important to keep your name and face visible so people don’t forget about you. For instance, I’m on LinkedIn, and I post hints and tips on several different topics every day. I post ideas that I hope ultimately will open discussions and debate. My goal is to become an influencer but more importantly to keep my name and face in front of the hiring audience.