Always Have a “Plan B” in Your Backpack

Gidgett’s Story
I was an honor student and freelancer. I kept my writing skills polished, built a portfolio to showcase my talent to employers, and joined organizations to improve my networking skills. After four successful years of college and a part-time internship on the side, I landed a great full-time position right away. Getting a job so soon meant that I never needed interview prep or resume creation consulting, which posed huge problems for me when I found myself out of a job after just 10 short months. My company was sold, and as a result, my position was eliminated. I was faced with the harsh reality that even choosing the right career path doesn’t free you from the possibility of career danger. Despite my hard work at school, I was not prepared to enter the workforce.

Because of the unpredictable state of our fast-paced economy, Gidgett’s story is becoming more and more common. No matter your career situation, you need to be prepared to rethink your “Plan A” and have a “Plan B” in mind as backup. I’ve seen the most stable careers, rooted in decades of tenure, and highly educated young professionals with multiple Ivy League degrees both blindsided by job loss and displacement.

The first mistake most job seekers make is believing the myth that writing a résumé is equivalent to a launching a job search. As a recruiting expert who reviews résumés all day long, I can honestly say that 90 percent are poorly written or don’t communicate in a way an employer can connect with. As these candidates’ only plan of action, theis  résumé went straight into the reject pile along with their lofty career dreams. In Gidgett’s mind, she hit the jackpot working for a fashion leader in her local market. A “Plan B” for her career was the last thing on this excited millennial’s mind. Unprepared and uncertain what her future held, Gidgett needed to spend time exploring her options.




Find Your “Boots.” Become as outgoing in your job search as our bilingual childhood friend, Dora the Explorer. It may sound corny, but, in my experience, simplifying the daunting process of career enhancement is the best approach to seeing results. Believe it or not, Dora has more to offer than her impressive dual-language skills. Firstly, Dora understood the importance of a support system, which she found in her anthropomorphic companion, Boots, and by enlisting the help of her audience. Use resources, such as your alumni network, career services, and social media platforms to both broaden your professional contact list and build a support system you can rely on. Supplement your networking strategy with a full-fledged job search, starting with online job boards, such as Onetonline, Indeed, and Snagajob, just to name a few.

Think Outside The Box. Dora comes up with cunning strategies with the contents of her legendary talking purple backpack to think different and solve the puzzles she encounters. Because of the incredible ease of communication technology offers, new rules are created, offered and accepted each day in the recruiting process. For instance, a letter of inquiry, the act of sending your resume and cover letter without any knowledge of an open position, has become a more popular approach to tackling the job game. After researching the company’s culture, brand, and hiring managers, send the right person your information and explain to him or her why you’d make a great addition to their team. While it’s not a foolproof plan and requires an incredible amount of patience and follow-up, it often pays off in the long run. Unsure of how to write a letter of intent? Ask us – we’d be happy to help.

Map Out Your Job Plan. Dora also used a map to reach her final destination, overcoming obstacles along the way. My point? Having a job-search blueprint that outlines the necessary steps, big and small, with specific goals and realistic timelines, is crucial to achieving your ultimate career objective. Dora found that her map changed with each challenge she was presented with, forcing her to rethink her strategy time and time again. Like Dora, job seekers must customize their résumé with each new position they apply for. As perhaps the most fundamental job search tool, résumés, when done right, are constantly evolving in order to tell your story in a unique way that prompts a particular employer to pick up the phone and ask for more information. You’re generic résumé template crafted in your college years just won’t cut it. Consider consulting a professional to show you how to craft your résumé and tailor it to a specific job.

It’s a silly metaphor, but our friend Dora the Explorer is a great example of an individual, albeit an animated one, who knows exactly where she’s going, how she is getting there and is prepared to fight her way to the end. Be a fearless job search leader, like Dora, and don’t be afraid to rethink your options.

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