You’ve received the news – maybe it was expected, maybe it wasn’t – but the pace at which you’ve been working has suddenly changed dramatically. You likely have a mixture of feelings from relief, to anger, to panic, to calm, and around and around you go. Everyone absorbs news differently, but job loss is not something anyone likes to experience.
Take comfort in knowing that once you start sharing your news with others, you will be very surprised to hear just how common it is. I read a quote recently that says, “Every successful person has lost at least one job.” I have learned that those who have been through job loss are more than ready and willing to help you by sharing their lessons learned and by providing you with encouragement and insight into the journey. These same people are all gainfully employed again, so they speak from experience.
Here are some tips to help:
- If you are eligible, complete the Employment Insurance Application immediately after losing your job. This becomes the safety net while you sort things out and prepare for the job hunt.
- Remember you have lost a job, not your career. Perspective is everything.
- If you have credentials, use them proudly to describe who you are. This is also helpful during transition. As you remove your title and employer from your social media profiles, it’s good to have something to fill in the blank. Use those credentials – you earned them!
- Polish up your resume and, equally important, your LinkedIn profile. This is where you will find a vast network to help you start the job search.
- If you are fortunate enough to receive post-employment career transition support, career development or counselling, it can be very helpful, especially if you’ve been employed a long time and haven’t had to job hunt for a while. Things have changed in the job market, and understanding how to apply for a job is extremely important. Here’s an example of the service: http://www.transitionresourcesgroup.com. These companies give you the tools to help tune up your resume, prepare for interviews, but more importantly, reflect on yourself, your skills, your strengths and your career goals so you can successfully transition to new employment. Through them you realize you are not alone.
- Be prepared for the “firsts”. What’s your elevator speech if someone asks you what you do for a living? Have something you can say that feels comfortable for you, such as “I’m a Certified Event Professional with 15 years’ experience in corporate events.” In our industry we are often asked “what do you do or who are you with”, so having something ready to say makes it easier at industry events.
- If you have residual benefits after you are laid off, use them to take care of yourself. As well, enjoy a different pace during this time. You may have left a job that was so busy you didn’t get to do some of the things on your personal to do list, such as more time with family, physical exercise, reading etc.
- Look at your immediate costs for working and re-evaluate. For example, if you pay extra car insurance because you drive to/from work, call your broker and get that changed. It may mean only a few dollars saved, but every little bit helps as job loss means a change in income.
- Network, network, network. The majority of jobs found are not advertised. There is no law that says an employer must advertise a position, so although job websites are great, there are many more jobs that never get posted. The best strategy is to get in front of the right person at the right time, ideally before a job even becomes available.
- Last, but not least, focus forward on what’s next for you. Make a list of what you want in your next job and give yourself permission to have it. This is an opportunity to evaluate the direction you are going, do you want to stay in the industry or perhaps try another area within it (i.e go from planner to supplier)? Maybe you want to consider enhancing your education or even retraining for a new career. Is there something you are passionate about that you could consider building into a new career?
Job loss is normal. Once you’ve landed in your new job (because you will!), remember to pay it forward by sharing your journey with someone else who’s just lost their job and is starting their journey.
This article is dedicated to Derek J. who struggled with the transition.