As a career coach, I’ve seen people accomplish amazing things. I’ve seen them nail interviews, land dream jobs, and snag long-desired promotions. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen a lot of people lose their jobs.
Losing a job is never fun. And with a record number of employees finding themselves unemployed due to COVID, it’s a reality most of us are dealing with. I’ve had so many clients get blindsided, thinking they were steady in their jobs… then out of nowhere, they’re met with the dreaded pink slip. And I get the age-old question: “what should I do if I lost my job?”
So, how exactly do you move forward? First step is to take a deep breath, and realize that even if it doesn’t seem like it right now, you are going to be just fine. Think of it as an opportunity to take new steps and grow in your career, or even find a new career path.
Let’s face it — sometimes work can be a grind. And losing your job is awful, but can also be taken as an opportunity to enjoy some freedom that you haven’t had since you started working. When was the last time you were able to take the afternoon to go on a hike or a nice walk, or spend it binging your favorite TV show guilt-free? Maybe you’ve been meaning to finally use that sourdough recipe you’ve had since last March. Yes, you’re going to want to focus on finding a new job, but it won’t happen overnight, so allow yourself a little flexibility to enjoy your newfound freedom before you go back to work. And getting some good Vitamin D in your system (aka spending time in the sunshine!) will help reduce depression, keeping you in the best shape to look for new work.
Fix your resume
The last thing you want is to land an amazing job interview, only to have to take time out of your interview preparations to remedy your old, out-of-date resume. Studies show that recruiters on average only take six seconds to evaluate a resume before deciding to either pass or keep reading, so you’re going to want to make sure yours makes it through. A good tip: make sure you have a strong, succinct job title at the top (and you can always target this title to the job you’re applying for). It’ll catch the recruiter’s eye and show your experience immediately.
Make a budget
The scariest part about losing a job is the financial instability. One of the first things you should do after getting let go is set your budget, so you’re not stuck three months down the road unable to pay bills. Hopefully it won’t take that long to find a replacement job, but you can never predict how quickly you’ll be able to get back in the game (especially if you’re reevaluating your career goals, or looking for something in a new field). So keeping your finances in check (do you really need that extra subscription service for the next few months?) will help you in the long run, and it’ll be one less thing you’ll have to stress over during the job hunt.
You know those connections you have at various companies? It’s time to use them. Try setting up virtual ‘dates’ with old friends or colleagues that you’ve lost touch with. You’ll never know if they have an opening in their company, or know someone’s sister’s cousin who’s looking for help. And let your friends and family know that you’re on the job hunt, so they can spread the word to their connections as well. Use every advantage you have; you never know where it can take you.
Consider your career goals
Think about it — were you truly happy in your last job? If so, great! You know what field to start looking for new jobs in. However, maybe there was something else you’ve always wanted to do, but never had the chance to. People can get stuck in jobs, for the salary or for the comfort of knowing what you’re going to get each morning. But if you want to make a career change, you can look on the bright side of losing your job, and consider it a blessing, a green light to go for that career you’ve been dreaming of in the back of your mind.
Think about losing a job like being single — breakups suck, and they hurt, but the pain doesn’t last forever. And you won’t be “single” forever! You’ll find a new job, a new career, a new start to your day. Until then, keep pushing forward, take advantage of the free time, and try to turn those
lemons into lemonade.