What to Do After You Lose Your Job

February 15, 2010

business woman standing aloneOnce you’ve been let go from your position, there will be fear and anxiety about what to do next. Even if your company has some services for your transition, it still can be a bad time if you’re not sure what your next steps should be.

1. Take stock – Look at your current financial situation. What do you have in the bank, savings accounts, investments, etc? If necessary, create a spreadsheet or list of where you are now with your debts and what is in your savings. If you know where you stand you can eliminate some of the anxiety.

2. Talk to your family – If you have family/friends that you are financially responsible for, sit down and speak to them honestly. Everyone has to be on the same page. Don’t hide the realities in the hopes that everything will work out quickly, or because you don’t want to worry anyone. If everyone knows what is expected of them, then you can all work together.

3. Find out what your current options are – If you can apply for unemployment, then do so right away. If you will be receiving severance or some other package, look at the paperwork. Consult an accountant or attorney if necessary. Getting these issues squared away will help to stabilize things, so resist the urge to put it off.

4. Don’t beat yourself up – It is likely that after a lay off you will feel betrayed, depressed or angry. Those are legitimate feelings, and you have to let yourself feel them. Pretending that they aren’t there will just take you deeper into denial. Give yourself a couple of days to unwind and to get a “breather” before you have to get started again on the process finding another job. Practice as much positive “self talk” as you can. Being negative will drain your energy and may lead to paralysis because you will shut down and not be able to make any decisions.

5. Update your resume – If your resume is not updated, do so right away. Look on the job boards for the descriptions of the jobs you want to apply for. Use keywords that are included in the job requirements. You want to be sure that your resume is selected since there may be hundreds if not thousands of resumes submitted for each position. If you aren’t sure what to do in order to make your resume is the best it can be, the Secrets of a Great Resume Updated Edition eBook can give you step-by-step information to quickly make updates to your resume.

6. Join a networking group – Get back out there as soon as possible and start meeting people outside of your circle. Go to business events, alumni events, local community events, events at your place of worship – meet people and get to know them. Don’t make your objective to go and immediately get a job lead, but work on building relationships. People will be willing to help those who they get to know and like, also known as the “know, like and trust factor.” You may find your next position through a contact you make a business or social event. In addition, don’t be afraid to help others as well. People will be more likely to assist you if you do the same for them.

7. Join social media groups – Online social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook could be extremely helpful in your job search. LinkedIn in particular is the main site for professionals, and you can find many industry leaders there. People on social media sites are there to connect and network, so don’t hold back from making connections. Building relationships online may take a little more time since you don’t have the benefit of face-to-face contact; however it is possible to create strong connections if you are willing to be consistent in your networking.

Losing a job can be devastating. Though people may tell you not to take it personally, it will feel personal! Allow yourself to grieve the loss of your position, and stay open to the changes to come. Make the choice to respond to this event with a plan, as opposed to reacting in anger and frustration.

Regular, consistent and determined effort will yield results. Your search for a new job may take longer than it has in the past, but if you continue on and build new support systems through your networking, it will support you to move forward.

Copyright © Deborah A. Bailey


Deborah A Bailey

Deborah is a writer, writing workshop presenter and published author. She's host of the Women Entrepreneurs Radio podcast.

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