Job seeker status – does it matter?

Q: My organization is undergoing intensive restructuring and reorganization. As a result, 30 management level positions were eliminated. We have a 3-month transition where we still are in our current roles. If I am job searching during this 90-day period where I am still at the company, should I say that my position has been eliminated or is it best to share instead that I am looking for new opportunities and challenges?

A. Some people who have experienced a lay off believe you are in an enviable position having a working notice prior to leaving your organization. Others find the challenge of being on the job with a countdown to the last day creates too strong a sense of loss on a daily basis and would prefer to “rip off the band aid”.
Either way, the smart move is to start the job search by assessing where you want to go next. Hope fully your resume is current and complete, shows accomplishments, and speaks to the targets you have identified.
On the job stay professional. Balance the work you have been asked to complete, with actively beginning the search. If you are unclear as to the expectations, ask. Have a conversation with your manager about time off for job search activity. You may be inclined to focus 100% of your energy on the job. Others may be inclined to focus 100% of their energy on the job search. Neither is effective. You will need these colleagues and references, so fulfill commitments. You have been given a notice period, so take advantage of the notice time to maximize your search efforts.
Disclosing your 90 day working notice situation, and pending RIF occurs in many ways. Your resume, the dates describing the timeframe for your current role should list the start date, and “to present”. Many candidates leave this description for the length of time on the job for the duration of severance, and most organizations accept this on the resume.
In your job search written communications focus on what you are looking for and what you have to offer. Whether you have left your current employer or not, or your search was separation motivated should not be an issue at this point. Is it easier to look for a job while you are employed than if you are not employed? There is plenty of debate over this situation. I do know that potential obstacles or objections are most successfully dealt with in live conversation, so networking meetings and interview situations are the right place to discuss the facts of your pending separation.
You may not see the positive in the circumstances of your separation, but there are two that can help you position yourself positively. The first is that 30 management level positions were eliminated. There was a level, and a number target to be met. You were affected as part of a larger plan. Second, is the trust your organization has given you to offer a working notice. Hiring organizations see this and know difficult business decisions were made, and professional affected responded professionally.

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