Laid Off? 10 Things You Must Do
In today’s job market, you need to act quickly after being laid off. However, when jolted into the reality of their new situation, job seekers often feel adrift in a sea of confusion. Following are 10 actionable steps you can take to help you set a new course. The first two steps should occur in the order they are presented; however, steps 3-10 can be intermingled. And remember, action begets traction.
- Don’t Think About Job Searching. At least initially, for a few days following your loss, distract yourself through activity with your best friend, your spouse or someone with whom you find comfort, and even better, someone with whom you laugh. Do not dwell on the job you just lost or the job for which you must now search. Instead, take a few days away to begin recovering from the loss, the shock and the disappointment. Soothe yourself with a good book, a movie, a night out or a great dinner experience—whatever makes you feel good.
- Start Thinking About Your Next Job as Soon as Possible. This tip may seem counterintuitive to #1. While getting a few days’ perspective on your situation is valuable, do not let a few days turn into a few weeks, or even months. Today’s tough economy leads to typically longer job searches. The earlier you begin yours, the earlier you will land your next opportunity.
- Google the Web for Possible New Prospects. Print off job descriptions that look interesting. Grab a highlighter and underscore the qualifications you meet. Note requirements you do not fulfill. Shoot straight with yourself and vet out jobs that genuinely mesh with who you are already (not who you wish you were).
- Set Up a Job Search Specific Gmail. Make it professional sounding. Your first and last name is a good first choice; if that is not available, consider your first initial, second initial and last name. You may also use your name with a job or credentials focus attached; e.g., ClaireJacksonCPA@gmail.com or CharlesBrownAccountant@gmail.com
- Update Your Resume. For many people, this means rebuilding your resume from scratch. If it has been more than a year or two since you last updated your resume, then consider a complete resume revamp. Not only have resume practices changed dramatically in the past several years, but also, your career is in a continual state of motion. What you focused in on in your last resume likely is not where your focus should remain.
- Refresh Your LinkedIn Profile. Write content and facts to complement your resume versus simply copying and pasting your resume into the body of your LinkedIn profile. Focus the headline to your target goal, knitting in the right keywords and value message. Read up on LinkedIn best practices, and if you have not been active in any professional groups, get active. Do this organically and consistently, being careful not to over-communicate with your network. Think professional, polished, focused initiative by providing value to your network first, before asking for favors.
- Explore Other Social Media Outlets. If you are not a member already, join Twitter, Pinterest and/or Facebook. Ensure a consistent, professional presence on these sites with a splash of personality, and then, interact. If you’re new to these venues, then follow or friend a few people and then begin listening. Comment purposefully and with kindness.
- Update Your Interview Wardrobe. Make certain you have a smart, updated interview suit, scuff-free shoes and the right, tasteful jewelry, if applicable. Get a professional haircut and if you sport a beard or mustache, trim it up. Make sure your hands and nails are well manicured.
- Volunteer Your Time. Join a charitable organization, and redirect some of your nervous energy into a helpful cause that matters to you. Or, you may join a professional group that has contacts in your field of interest. If you already are an association member, but have not been very involved, change that behavior. Volunteer to serve on a committee. Connect more deeply. Think of how you can serve their needs first, and in time, what you give will come back to you.
- Research Companies for Which You Want to Work. Dig beyond the company website. Research companies through Glassdoor and perform keyword Google searches that help you unearth facts, figures, challenges the company is facing and so forth. Read reports on the state of the industry or sector which you are targeting. Get knee-deep into the foundational details that sustain your target company’s growth. Appeal to their needs when you approach the company president, vice president, sales manager, accounting director or whomever you may deem to interact with regarding offering your services as their future employee.