What To Do (First) When You Lose Your Job

Yesterday was the worst day of Amanda’s career. She knew her company’s sales were down, had heard the layoff rumors. But Amanda was rated a top performer. Sure, there were tough times ahead, but she would be OK. What could go wrong? Then suddenly, it all changed. A short meeting with HR one morning and Amanda was ‘let go.’ Fired. She packed up her office, sent some farewell emails, and turned in her keys, computer, phone and passwords. Her world had been shaken to its foundations.  As she faced her first day without a job, she wondered what to do next.

Have you been in Amanda’s shoes? Struggling companies cut staff and outsource work to meet targets. The unstated contract between loyal workers and loyal companies is long gone. When you’re let go, you can feel adrift, and out of control.

What can you do to get back on track? More than you think. And you need to do it before you start filling out job applications.

                If you don’t know your destination, you’ll never find the road to get there.

Before You Start Your Job Search, Do This

If you’re like most of us, you can’t live very long without working. It’s tempting to immediately start sending out CVs, answering LinkedIn job ads, and registering on job boards. Those are all important steps, and you should do them. But not first. Before you looking for your next job, you have to evaluate some basics.  These 4 steps will get your job search off to a solid start.

Acknowledge Your Loss:

You lost an important part of your life. Mourn. Stay in bed, eat chocolate, cry to a friend. Admit that it hurts. Limit it to 1 or 2 days, though; this is no time for a long pity party. You won’t get out all of the emotion. You will get through the worst of the storm.

sad coffee 1229

Review Your Finances:

This is critical! Know exactly what you spend, and how much money you have on hand. How long can you last? Cancel expenses you can live without. Restrict your discretionary spending now and you will survive without work longer, with less stress. Use a budgeting tool to help.

Re-evaluate Your Goals and Skills:

Before applying, reconsider what you want from a job and what you offer. What did you enjoy in your last job? Where did you excel? What new skills have you learned? Update your resume. Fill skill gaps with a MOOC (check out Coursera and EDx) or other training.

Network Like Mad:

These days you’re most likely to find a new job through your network: people who know you and your abilities, and  tell you about opportunities before they are announced. Publicize what you are looking for and why you are good at it. Find out what companies are hiring in your area, what they look for in a candidate and what it’s like to work there. The best way to reach a hiring manager is to have someone they know hand over your CV and tailored cover letter with a strong endorsement. So get out there! Review your LinkedIn contacts, catch up with people you haven’t heard from in a while, attend networking events, investigate your options, and market yourself like crazy.

 Your network is your best new job source; tell them exactly what you are looking for

Following these 4 tips is just the start. Remember, though, if you don’t know where you want to go, you’ll never find your way there! So first things first, take that deep breath, get your life in order, and decide what you want to do next. Then start looking.  Even if it takes a while, you will find a new job. And you will be fine.



Image credits.

Main.  Sad. 


Marne Platt

Dr. Marne Platt is the President of Fundamental Capabilities and the author of 3 books (so far): Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way; Professional Presence; and PREP For Success. Originally a practicing veterinarian, she built a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. She founded Fundamental Capabilities to ‘pay it forward’ by providing career development workshops and coaching for women. ‘Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way’ is an ‘older sister in your pocket’ packed full of advice for young women on building their own independent and exciting life. 'Professional Presence' and PREP For Success' help you strengthen your spoken and unspoken communication and leadership presence.