As someone who’s on the brink of losing his job, I have been doing my research and looking for employment opportunities. I can tell you that there are jobs out there, but it’s not easy to get one. With unemployment rate in record territory, companies can pick and choose whomever they want to hire, and they can do so at a lower salary than just a year ago — that is if they are hiring at all!
What follow is various tips I picked up along the way to help me deal with my potential job loss.
Whether or not you like your job, losing it could be a traumatic experience; especially when you know that it’s tough to find another job right now. If you are handed the pink slip, it’s important to keep your emotion in check. Cry if you want, but don’t get angry. You don’t want things to get out of control for no good reason.
It’s better to leave a good term, rather than burning your bridges. Depending on your industry, it’s likely that you’ll run into the same people again, and you may need their help.
As part of the exit interview process, your employer will ask you to make a couple of decisions and sign a few things. Some of these a meant to help both you and your employer part way, but some are designed to limit your options and protect your employer against any future liabilities — i.e., in case you later figured out that it was a wrongful termination and you want to sue them, etc. In any case, you should ask for more time and don’t sign anything until you have time to review everything carefully.
In addition, there may be decisions that you want to make with your family instead of on your own. For example, What do you want to do with your 401k?, Do you want to take advantage of COBRA insurance?, etc.
They already fired you on their term, so make sure the exit process is on yours.
It may not sink in right away, but losing your job can be emotionally painful. No matter how bad you feel, it’s important to remember that you can always find another job and recover from this bump in the road. I recommend that you don’t keep your feeling welled up inside, instead share your thoughts and feelings with your family and friends. At the very least, this will allow you to get it out of your system.
If you’re lucky, your cousin’s neighbor may happen to be looking to hire someone just like you.
Most companies don’t simply cut you lose and sever all contact. Be sure to talk to the Human Resources department and see what kind of assistance they can offer to someone in your situation. Ask about severance pay, any unused vacation pay that they owe you, part-time or contract job opportunities, and job search assistance.
Also reach out to your former managers and colleagues to see if they are willing to act as your references.
As pointed out by Writer’s Coin, check your state’s Department of Labor regarding your unemployment insurance benefits (link for NYS).
Depending on your financial situation and the size of your emergency fund, you may have to implement an expense reduction plan. Assess what you have, your expenses, and review your budget. Cut back on unnecessary expenses, put away your credit cards, and put purchases on hold.
You many even have to go as far as selling some of you stuff that you will not need in the short term. Remember the most important thing to keep is all the necessities — i.e., food, shelter, medicine, etc.
To help you get started, check out Does Your Family Have An Emergency Plan?
You may be focused on getting a similar job to the one you had, especially if you like what you did. However, it’s important to be flexible in this economy. Don’t limit your job search to what you formerly did. Expand your search to include other jobs that you could do. And if you are flexible enough to relocate, be sure to look at jobs in other geographic areas as well.
Perhaps this is the time to try out something you always wanted to, turn your favorite hobby into a new career, or even change your career direction altogether.
While you are searching for a new job, it’s important to stay disciplined. Treat your job hunting and other related activities, such as, exploring new income opportunities, managing your expenses, and networking as a real job. Wake up and be ready to start by 9 AM, take your 1 hour lunch, and wrap up everything by 5-6 PM. This way you stay in the groove and use your time effectively.
Whatever you do, don’t become an unemployed couch potatoe.
Explore every networking opportunity that you can. Reach out to your former colleagues, customers, vendors, and contacts. Take advantage of all available channels such as telephone calls, emails, face-to-face meetings, and networking via the Internet. And as mentioned above, don’t forget your friends and family because they are not only your best links, but they will work harder than anyone else to help you.
If you don’t know about LinkedIn, I’d like you to check it out because I think it’s a superb networking tool.
As part of your preparation process, you should also do practice interviews. Do it by yourself in front of a mirror, with your spouse, or with your friends. The more you practice, the better you’ll become at it, thus improving your chance of success.
Additionally, it’s important to keep yourself well-groomed and physically fit, because first impression means a lot.
Personally, I hope that I’ll be able to keep my job. Unfortunately, it’s very likely that I’ll be using this list myself in a few months. If you are in the process of looking for a job, best of luck to you and I hope you find this list useful.