My Job Kickstarted a New Career

Opportunity, Not Calamity: How Losing My Job Kickstarted a New Career Journey

When the ax falls on a job you’ve had for 13 years – which is what happened to me – it can be pretty devastating. But when my job as a diversity director was eliminated during the 2009 economic crisis, I was determined that this was going to be an opportunity, not a calamity.

Once I absorbed the shock of the layoff, I took stock of the positives. I had spent a lot of time in corporate America in human resources and recruiting positions, so I had many contacts. Of course, I was now a job seeker, so I was on the other side of the fence, trying to get the attention of recruiters. That was my eureka moment: I saw a chance to reverse engineer all my knowledge about hiring, and help other job hunters fine-tune their searches and get their dream jobs. So, I pivoted from looking for a new job to starting my own business, Plum Job Search Strategies, and I’ve never looked back.

Turning lemons into lemonade

Naturally, going from a laid-off worker to a successful business owner didn’t happen overnight. I decided to use LinkedIn to tell my career story, so the first thing I did was make sure that I created a complete and robust LinkedIn profile. I began doing contract work for human resources departments at large companies, so I was able to add those projects to my profile as well, showing that I was staying in the game.

Now that I’m helping job seekers navigate their searches, I use LinkedIn daily. It’s the first thing I look at in the morning – checking up on news, and seeing what my connections are up to. I now spend hours each day on LinkedIn attempting to learn every bell and whistle so that I can be an even better resource for my clients. For example, I tell them that they can’t even begin to search for a job on LinkedIn until their profile is as strong (and professional) as it can be.

Why is this point so important? Because a half-completed profile is like answering the doorbell wearing a bathrobe – it leaves the impression you’re not prepared for what’s next.