Getting laid off from your job, for any reason, is never fun. In fact, it’s been said that losing a job is more emotionally challenging than getting a divorce. Job loss hits all the stress spots—finances come into question, one’s self-esteem is challenged, and overall life stability is strained.
Although this happens to people every day, it feels like the world has stopped when it happens to you. Hearing news reports of a bad economy coupled with a difficult job market doesn’t help, but there is hope. Finding a new job, even a better job is completely possible, if you go about it the right way.
Here are some strategies to bounce back after a layoff, and get you back to work as soon as possible:
This is a big one. Before the worry of not having a job catapults you into instant (and frantic) job-search mode, take some time out for yourself. Chances are, unemployment benefitsare coming your way, and even if they’re not, finding and starting a job the day or so after you’ve been let go from your old job is unlikely. But this is a good thing. Take some time to rest, start or finish some projects that you haven’t had time for, and spend this down-time gathering your thoughts, putting together the best resume you can, and figuring out what you want to do next. Look at this time as a blessing to reassess things—because it usually is.
Join Professional Groups
When you’ve had your fair share of rest-time, it’s time to get back to job networking. A great way to network with others in your current industry, and potential industries that you’re interested in, is to join professional groups. Finding local professional groups is easy with a simple Google search or using websites like MeetUp.com, and will likely list plenty of groups that match your skill set, experience and interests. Joining professional groups is great for networking, but they are also great places to meet people who are on the same journey as you, and can help with professional and personal motivation.
Dust Off the Resume
No matter how sharp you think your resume is, it’s best to look it over and revise. Even a great resume can use a tune-up, especially since you probably haven’t updated it lately. Whatever position you last held, you gained skills and experience and these need to be incorporated. Also, as you’re looking for a new job, find the qualifications/skillsthat a potential company is seeking and add them to your resume.
Be Open to New Paths
If you want to stay in your current industry, it’s fine to narrow your focus and go after the job that fits your latest position. But it’s also a good idea to stay open to new industries and positions. Take advantage of recruiter services and test other avenues of employment. Your job loss was likely not a reflection of your performance, but take this opportunity to discover if there isn’t a career path more suited to your interests and skills. If your latest position was one of management, try an industry that you that can transfer your skills and experience. You may discover that your layoff opens a door to a much more rewarding career path.
Tip: Even after you’ve secured new employment, keep relationships with recruiters who fill positions that you’re interested in. This will help should a lay-off ever happen again, or if you decide to make a complete career move.
Develop a Plan and Set Goals
Job loss can be very disorienting, as you’re basically forced to find a new life-path that will shift your daily and weekly routine. This is why it’s a great idea to develop long and short term employment goals. If all you’re seeking is a way to make money and fast, you’ve got options and can act accordingly. However, if you need your next job to fit your current industry and meet or exceed your latest salary, you’ll need to put some strategic thinking into this.
No matter what the situation, outline a daily or weekly plan to accomplish your job-search goals. Set a number for jobs that you will apply to daily, and record the number of follow-ups you make and interviews being set. Having a solid plan and set schedule will help you to feel more accomplished, and will yield faster and better results.
And who knows? Someday you may thank your former employer for letting you go. If you explore your interests and pay attention to what you really desire, chances are you’ll find the perfect job.
Reyna Ramli is a writer for CareerBliss, an online community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. Reyna loves writing on various topics, especially those related to careers, social media, and technology. Follow her on Twitter!