NEWS + ADVICE
You’ve Lost Your Job, What’s Next
Nothing is scarier than walking out the door of the company that just laid you off – or terminated you for cause – and not knowing what your next step is going to be or how to tell the family. Only fools never plan for contingencies, but even a wise person may not know how or what to plan for in the case of losing one’s job. An easy to use checklist might help.
Resume: This should have been updated quarterly during job tenure with new achievements and value-added metrics to tell an objective story. Have someone else look at it with a critical eye for boring passages, subjective wording, and for spelling and grammar checks. Hire a resume writer for a re-write for 21st Century job search methodology. Let the technology help you find employment faster.
Contacts: Make sure you have all your point of contact information for business professionals you know – within or outside your industry. If you haven’t asked for referrals up to the time you left the job, now is the time to start pushing hard to get those letters or electronic recommendations (on your LinkedIn profile) from past bosses and co-workers. Don’t ask for a job when you call – ask if they know any companies who are hiring for (a specific type of job). This relieves direct pressure and gets them thinking. Ask if they would write a letter of introduction on business letterhead.
Network: The hot spot to look for business network groups is the Internet, but don’t forget the newspaper for listings. Search in MeetUp.com, Facebook, or LinkedIn groups with specific business interests. Use open groups to schedule attendance, meet new folks, announce your job search, and expand your business and social circle. Don’t be afraid to explain what type of job you are seeking.
Training: Get more training now, while you have the time off – anything and everything you can afford for the cost or time to add to current skills and capabilities. Some examples for industry training: Internet marketing (social media), program management (PMP), tax accounting updates (CPA), or medical certifications (advanced CPR, beginner EMT). The more training completed, the more qualified you are because the new employer won’t have to train you. This makes hiring you a better return on investment for them.
Benefits: Depending on your state and why you were laid off, you will likely qualify for unemployment benefits (some terminations are considered eligible). Your taxes and ex-employer’s taxes have paid for your access to benefits. Sign up quickly so you have grocery and gas money. If you no longer have company health benefits, explore your eligibility for COBRA to avoid gaps to bridge to the next job’s package.
Avoid being an ‘UNNA’: An unfortunate trend in recruiting is that unemployed (regardless of reason) are called ‘Unemployed Need Not Apply.’ The assumption is one is laid off because of low-value/skills. Start your own consulting company and find some clients. Volunteering is excellent work experience. Offer business consulting to a local SBA / S.C.O.R.E. organization, find a charity needing fund-raising assistance, or help a small, unknown non-profit achieve a goal. Use the experience on the resume, proving you are employed and productive after your job loss.
Once you lose your job, work to get past the panic stage. Be visible to as many eyes as possible. C-Suite and high-level job seekers may spend a month looking for a job for every $10K over $60K in salary – don’t procrastinate, start now! Let your peers and friends know you are seeking exciting new responsibilities and you can bring excellent experience to the table.
Look at your calendar and mark in best times to make phone calls, upload resumes and complete applications. Your job is now to find a new job – don’t waste precious hours or days playing around when you know that your next paycheck and your future is dependent upon your actions. But do schedule time for yourself and family.
Dawn Boyer is a career services coach, social media management, human resources, and business development consultant. Follow Dawn on Twitter @Dawn_Boyer.This entry was posted on Monday, August 26, 2013 7:35 am