Some of us have received a pink slip at some point in our career, myself included. And while there are learning professional growth opportunities to be had during these times, it is a scary time in any career, one that requires perseverance, patience, and some luck. Recognize the fear, and don’t let it turn into panic. That will kill your interviewing prospects, hireability, and damper your overall mood.
Here are 12 action steps to take immediately after losing your job, in order of importance.
1. As stated before, don’t panic! This is a traumatizing event, but panic leads to desperation. And desperation is noticeable to your interviewers even if you try to hide it. Don’t go there. Now, I am not expecting that we are emotionless robots; we can be frustrated and sad, but resist depression. It will kill your hire-ability.
2. Focus on what you can control.
4. Can you survive on your spouse’s income alone? Notice I didn’t say live; I said survive. The answer to this question will determine how aggressive your search has to be and how willing you should be to accept a job offer with lower pay. I have had to do this before as I am the primary breadwinner in my household. I recommend trying to avoid settling for a poor cultural fit with an organization and poor pay. I prefer to enjoy the work environment even if the pay sucks, but if both are poor and you have to, you have to. One in the hand is worth two in the bush.
5. Locate companies in ANY state (not just your own) in your specific line of work, and the more specific the better, and apply for positions they have open. Focusing on your own city/state at the exclusion of other locations is a common mistake job seekers make. I personally learned this one the hard way.
6. Don’t panic or become desperate. Focus on what you can control.
7. Call the top 10 people in your network that are connected in your specific industry and ask them to help you spread the word, but don’t expect that they will get you a job. Often, they can give advice and encouragement.
8. Locate organizations within your specific industry where there aren’t any job postings and reach out to hiring managers with a pain letter pitch (see discussion about this in my upcoming book Becoming Generation Flux).
9. Don’t panic or become desperate. Focus on what you can control.
10. Depending on how much severance or unemployment income you have, you may need to look at getting an interim job to pay the bills. Mow lawns, do other odd jobs, work in retail, or anything else to keep money flowing in.
11. Rely on your closest friends and family for support and encouragement. Do not isolate yourself from people who care; just isolate yourself from people who are negative. This cannot be overstated or undervalued. Emotional well-being is vital to tackling the challenge of a job search these days.
12. Don’t panic or become desperate. Focus on what you can control.