Oops you made a mistake and waited too long. You can still recover but you will have to check your decision making as you are now under pressure to find a job. Market changes can impact even the good employee’s employment opportunities. If you decide to make a change it is best to do so before you have to (before you are terminated or others in your group are terminated). 

Being employed not only gives you time and flexibility to explore the market for a positive career change but enhances your value too. Waiting until you have lost your job or learn that you will be laid off diminishes your options and lowers your market value. A ticking clock is a stressful environment to make a career decision.

Assumptions You are unemployed currently

1. You have marketable skills and employment experience that is leveragable.

  • This is hard to determine on your own so reach out to your favorite recruiter
  • Helpful to have less than 3 jobs over the past 10 years
  • Best to show performance vs. quota for Sales professional for each job

2. You have a resume and Linkedin profile that clearly shows this marketability

3. You don’t have legal restrictions that might limit your opportunities. If you do or might then check with your attorney.

4. You have reasonable compensation and work expectations

5. You are willing to do the work of finding an opportunity


Playbook Steps

  1. PREPARE FOR YOUR JOB SEARCH through self reflection and bolstering  your resume and Linkedin profile. Get a good professional photo done for your Linkedin link.
  2. List and review your marketable skills
  3. Define a list of problems that you can provide a solution to.
  4. Define, list and review the competitors in your marketplace as well as the competitors in outside markets that you can leverage your experience to.
  5. Reach out and connect to potential hiring managers for all the companies on your list(s). You are not asking for a job but just making an industry connection.
  6. Engage appropriately with some of your new connections a discussion about the problems you have worked on and some of the solutions you have determined.
  7. Follow up more aggressively with the potential hiring managers and once you’ve engaged them let them know that you are actively looking for a job. It is OK to apply to open positions that you might find posted online. For the managers that you aren’t engaged with you might send them a linkedin INMAIL. Use your network to reach out to the right people. Ask for referrals but always offer something positive in return BEFORE you ask for anything.
  8. If all else fails you might put a consulting hat on and approach hiring managers with a solution that you can provide to a known problem. Allowing both you and a hiring manager to test each other out on a “trial contract” is a great way to minimize the risk of hiring.


A good recruiter who works in your market could be invaluable to you if you reach out to him or her early in step #1. But because you are unemployed and driving your own connections and responding to job postings he is unlikely to be as helpful unless he has current clients that match your needs. Once engaged with one of his clients he be helpful through the the remaining steps plus provide guidance on how to prepare for interviews and line up references when needed. 

Author: Rick Zabor

Engineer / Scientist / Researcher turned Recruiter in 1987. Interested in the best way to do things and mixing with people who have passions for life. Writes on topics important to building winning teams and personal growth and accomplishment. Connect with me on Linkedin. Lives in Atlanta, GA.