Holy crap! I just lost my job! What am I going to do?
Sometimes it comes with no surprise, but often times it hits us like a head-on automobile collision. We’re going along, just fine, when our world is suddenly turned upside down. Hundreds of questions start to flood the mind and anxiety runs through our nervous system. The shock leaves us stupefied. Deer in the headlights is certainly a good analogy. I could go on, but you may have been there or are currently going through this. Allow me to quote Douglas Adams:
When you lose your job, it’s important to gather your thoughts. Nothing is going to ‘un-do’ what has already been done. It’s what to do now and tomorrow. The building burned down. You can’t un-do the fire. You have to clear your mind and re-build.
Get A Hold of Yourself!
First thing – let the family know that you’re going to have a plan. Assess your situation, finances, etc and ensure you settle the nerves of the family unit. Mass hysteria has to be squashed. Level heads will prevail. Losing a job produces a huge amount of stress. Refocus that stress not on what has been done, things that can’t be changed, but what CAN be changed! It could be a tough road, but all will be ok. You have a great support system. You have your mind, body, and ability to prevail. Pity is not the way to go. Buck up! You’re a capable, intelligent, person. You can do this.
Update the Resume
Now is the time to brag. It’s not time to be humble. Make sure dates are accurate, and make sure you list some ROI highlights. How did you impact the company in your last couple positions? Get tips on how to write a resume. I’m sure there is something here on this blog to help. Could you fit into multiple roles? Make sure you do different versions of the resume that will help you target that specific job.
Network – Spread the Word
When we feel defeated we don’t get into telling everyone about it. Well, welcome to change 101 and the power of social media and networking. You have to tell everyone! Again, the humble route will not work. People will help, but not unless they know that you could use it. Hell, some may think you’re still working long after you departed a company. How often do you run into someone you know and they ask you “hey, how’s it going at ABC company?” and you haven’t been there in 5 years?!
True story. I went to a networking event. A guy stood in front of me. Never met him before. He had a name tag on. We’ll say it read ‘Wayne Last’. It hit me, “wait, I know that name. Where have I heard it?” Then it dawned on me. His resume came across my desk twice in one day and his name was thrown my way at least once the previous day. He had been downsized and let everyone know on his Linkedin profile. I wasn’t even on it and my peers had been telling me about him. “Hey, you know this guy? His position is eliminated. Know of any opps for him?” This is the way to go.
Spreading the word may not land you an immediate job, but it plants that seed where someone may remember you. “Hey, wait, I know a person. Yeah, contact Wayne Last.”
You also have to network. Get to events. Grow your contact list on Linkedin. If you don’t have an account, you need to get hot. Facebook will also work. Many people already have 100+ contacts on Facebook who know you somehow. When you connect let them know you are on the market. Since you already have your resume done, you’ll want to send it to them when they ask. Don’t badger, just put the word out there and then update folks. People like to see that you’re trying.
Additional Help – Staffing Firms
Many firms specialize and cater to certain industry segments – IT, Engineers, Admins, etc. So look into them and ensure you know how they roll. They know companies that you can’t possible think of or remember.
Where Am I?
Make sure you devise a system to keep track of where your information is going. Applying to 10+ jobs and having a firm involved will get your information all over the nethersphere so it’s important to keep track of where you’ve been submitted for job opportunities. Double submissions can get you disqualified from a company. Just be sure that’s not the case. If you need to update your submission, do it via the company’s online process or contact someone that handles recruitment. They’ll help you. Make sure you keep track of where firms send your info and ask them to keep you up to date. They have a stake in all this too.
Stay Positive – Desperate People Wreak
Be confident. Stay positive. Losing a job can make people desperate. We’ll take anything after a long period of time goes by. Don’t slip. Remain confident that you can do the job. It’s a minor set back. Be selective and be sure you do some soul searching on the jobs you feel comfortable doing. Applying to everything under the sun may only confuse matters if you apply to 5 different positions at the same company. You can’t be everything to everyone. Pick a couple, dependent on your experience, and stick to them.
Stay Active – NO SLACK!
If there are things that need to get done around the house, do them. Enroll in a night class. Have an active routine. Looking for a job can be time consuming. Employers don’t like to see long gaps and the candidate can only say “I’ve been looking for a job.” Elaborate. If you have energy when you’ve been beaten down, and without a job, imagine the energy you’ll have on the job!
Feel free to let me know if you have luck using other tactics in searching for a job in the comments section. It’s a tough time but with some help, you can get through it.
One thing I forgot to mention
Unemployment – Take It!
Some of us have a lot of pride, but unemployment is what all employers pay. Don’t think of it as some government subsidy. It’s something you’re entitled to having should you get laid off. The stigma of unemployment only comes if someone abuses it. You won’t get much, and employers should not contest it if you’ve been laid off for just reasons. Yes, there is an oxymoron there, a just layoff. The layoff I’m speaking to is where you have not been terminated. Unemployment is not taxed, so be sure you realize that you’ll be having to recoup that when you file your taxes next year. Either put some away, or get employed soon enough so that you can make it back up when you’re employed. In the end, you may end up owing taxes. Just something to be aware of in case you bank on getting the hefty return.