How to ethically and responsibly train your exiting employees for their next opportunity.
By Gopal Vemuri, Founder and CEO, JobPadhq.com
In March 2011, nearly 119,000 employees were laid off. The national unemployment rate is at 9 percent and rising, which means more pink slips are being handed to employees across virtually across industry and job type. Too often, those being laid off have worked at a company for decades. They have no experience in today’s world of job hunting. And while they have probably grown in their own skill set and core competency, being able to articulate their value, experience, and skills to employers, recruiters, and referring associates requires a new set of skills. Whether the job seeker works with an outplacement agency or doesn’t, HR professionals can assist exiting employees by offering a little time and focus. This could be the best parting gift you can give them.
Below are the five training tips every HR professional or assigned executive should use when teaching exiting employees how reach for the next brass ring.
Train on Social Network Skills. Be prepared to teach the proper use of online platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn—even Yahoo! and Google. Your exiting employees probably will have personal accounts on Facebook and Twitter, but help them set up professional identities where they can post their resumes, published articles, and more. Explain to them what and how they should communicate to promote themselves and their career achievements to attract recruiters, HR directors, and staffing company hiring managers. Consider a bulk sale purchase of the easy teaching book, “The Zen of Social Media Marketing” (http://zenofsocialmedia.com/) as a giveaway in your exit assistance package.
Teach Online Job Search. Show your exiting employees how to go to twitter.com and search #jobs, #jobsearch and other topics to see who’s tweeting about what. Set up a class where you have online demos so they can learn how to follow and dialogue with a virtual set of people. The same goes for LinkedIn, http://www.Linkedin.com. In addition to teaching them the mechanics, have someone train them on the etiquette of requesting referrals, references, inviting associates contacts into their network, etc. The important thing is that they learn how to grow their contacts without alienating them by being inappropriate in their approach.
Train on Job Hunt Organization Skills. Job hunting is often so chaotic that applicants lose opportunities because of their own disorganization. Climber.com has reported that on average, job seekers spend 47.9 hours per month searching for jobs online and another 43.6 hours applying for them. So when my company created http://www.Jobpadhq.com, we knew the goal was to curb time and redundancy while being familiar and easy to use. Make sure you introduce various tracking tools to your exiting employees and identify the ones that are compatible with the job boards they will need, from general to niche. Any quality tool has to simplify job board management; centralize job listings; store documents, notes, and correspondence; and incorporate a system for job search management and goal-setting. And, of course, pricing must be reasonable, even minus long-term contracts.
Train on a Web Presence. Tweeting and the like is purposeful...to generate more interest in the person as a candidate. So, yes, today, a Website is the online resume, portfolio, and more. If your company has a hosting platform it can let your exiting employees use...great. If not, perhaps you can make a bulk purchase at some of the hosting sites and include them in your exit package (even if it is only active for 90 days or so after departure). Once that is shared, help employees with their resume, photo, and other data/content that will help them market themselves for the next opportunity.
Train on Media Outreach. Encourage employees to network with “the press” in their industry by offering themselves to beat reporters as experts on their core competencies and professional career direction. By getting themselves quoted in articles through interviews or submitting relevant content, they can build a brand and have published articles as resume builders, as well as add more search engine optimization (SEO) to their Website and generate more visibility on social media. It also gives them one more industry-related relationship—someone who can be eyes and ears on their job hunt.
Gopal Vemuri is the founder and CEO of JobPadhq.com, an East Hanover, NJ-based company that works with job-seekers, HR professionals, career coaches, and outplacement agencies by using his online job search management tool. He can be reached at email@example.com.