Into every career a little unemployment must fall. If experience job loss and suddenly find yourself downsized, it can be a big jolt to your ego, finances, and sense of purpose. It’s easy to become paralyzed by indecision and the emotions that come when left without a job to go to every day.
What can you do? Treat your job search as though it were a job. Get up every day with your checklist and do the tasks in order, and with great attention to detail. This will get you back on the job-search trail and, hopefully, into your next dream job.
- Talk about it. Find a family member, close friend, or even a professional therapist and allow yourself a day or two to vent, grieve, and rant.
- Take a break of at least two days. Sleep in, as sleep can bring a fresh perspective and more energy. Eat healthy meals, as you need to take good care of yourself. Go out with friends, or spend time with your family.
- Make a plan. It doesn’t have to be perfect or detailed, but start jotting down what you liked and did not like about your last job. Describe the job you feel would be perfect for you. This will help you see where you need to aim your career, because this job loss wasn’t the end of your career, it was just a small course correction.
- Order cards. If you don’t have, or don’t want to use your old business cards from your last job, consider ordering a set of simple business cards with your contact information and your desired job title or field of expertise printed on them. These will be useful in your job search and increased networking activities.
- Take a day (or more) to file forms for unemployment, touch base with your place of worship, and contact a career coach if you have the means. Get plugged in to the help you’ll need to survive and get the next great job.
- Update your resume. Ensure that all your career information is correct, add your latest successes using numbers and facts. Include the skills and experience you want to use in your next job.
- Update your LinkedIn. Your profile should match your resume down to dates and job titles. LinkedIn is where hiring influencers search for right-fit candidates and you want to present a seamless picture of your skills, experience, and education.
- Proof your work. Both your resume and your LinkedIn profile should be meticulously proofed to ensure you have no errors. Basic grammar mistakes or a resume that doesn’t match your LinkedIn profile can be a red flag for hiring influencers.
- Make a list. Start with the top 10 companies you’d love to work with, then take a look at your LinkedIn and your other networks and see who might be able to give you a referral or a reference.
- Start your search. Start searching and applying for jobs, reaching out to contacts who might be able to tell you about unadvertised positions, and talking to recruiters. If you like, make it known on LinkedIn that you’re looking.
- Start networking. Take a look at the people from #8 and add your favourite recruiters, then start scheduling time to talk, have coffee, or do lunch. Add a few extra networking events to your calendar.
- Take weekends off. Your job search is now your job, so be sure to give yourself a couple of days a week to rest up and refresh.
- Keep networking. Add names from your alumni directory, former colleagues, and keep reaching out to get in touch.
- Prep for interviews. Practice making a great first impression. Rehearse your elevator pitch, your handshake, your smile, and those behavioural interview questions.
- Do not stop until you have a contract signed. No matter how good the interview went, no matter how enthusiastic the hiring influencers were, you don’t have the job until the paperwork is signed, so keep looking!
- Take time to check your progress at the end of each 4-week period. If you’re not getting regular interviews for jobs you’d like to have, consider consulting an Executive Career Coach who can help you aim your resume toward the right jobs, improve your interview skills, and talk to you about how to fine-tune your job search approach.