10 Tips For Surviving Job Loss

1. Accept your situation – Job loss happens to most people at least once in their careers; try not to take it personally even if you were one of a few, or the only one in your department to lose your job. You may not know it yet, but it could be a blessing in disguise.

2. Adopt a future focus – Look forward, not back. You cannot change yesterday, but you can change tomorrow. Take a couple of days off, but don’t loll around. View yourself as having a new job – your new job is to get a job, so you need to get going.

3. Avoid resentment, or self-pity about your current situation – don’t hold onto grievances toward your former employer/boss or colleagues. Give yourself 2-3 days to process and grieve your loss, then let go of all grievances; they only drain you and you need to move forward energetically. To help with this:

– Write a list of everything you have to be thankful for today
– Get plenty of sleep (Turn in early, if possible, have a hot bath, a warm milk drink and some kind of carbohydrate, such as toast, before bed; turn off the TV and read a book to help you sleep better the first few days.)
– Determine to get out of bed with a fresh perspective, a hopeful outlook
– Look at it as a temporary setback from which you will spring back
– Tell yourself that you are a survivor and you will make lemonade out of lemons and let everyone watch you succeed.

4. Analyze your current financial situation – Put any severance money into savings not to be touched unless needed, and cut-back immediately on discretionary spending, such as entertainment, eating out, etc. Put your credit cards away temporarily, pay cash or don’t buy. Create a budget that will work for you until you secure your next position. Sign up for unemployment, if appropriate,

5. Aim for a specific functional/industry/geographical target – Focus – don’t generalize your resume to try appeal to a variety of jobs. Focused resumes get attention, generic resumes don’t.

6. Ascertain the value that you bring to the marketplace/a potential employer:

– Document your accomplishments and successes in your career. Quantify the results you’ve accomplished at each position.
– Create a personal brand and value proposition (what do you bring to an employer that is exemplary and brings high value to them in terms of corporate benefit.)
– Prepare your resume and cover letter, at minimum. If executive level, add a career bio and leadership addendum of initiatives you’ve led and your leadership style to create an executive bio. Secure professional help to correctly position yourself and prepare your documents if you can.

7. Assemble a Job Search Plan

– Know the most effective job search strategies to secure a new position in this marketplace and create a written job search self-marketing plan for the first 4 weeks. Hint: this isn’t about sending out resumes to online job postings which is proving ineffective currently. There are several more effective ways to secure your next position. Take control of your job search and be proactive, not passive.

– Include in your plan:

a. Networking (speak to at least 5 people a day about where you are going) use Linkedin.com and invite others to join your online network, schedule coffees and don’t ask for people to look out for a job for you. Instead give to your network first, before you get back from them.
b. Contacting recruiters who recruit for your function and industry. Consider a targeted resume distribution.
c. A company list – from your industry and in related industries. Do considerable research on each one of high interest. Network in or directly contact hiring managers with a strong 20 second pitch as to how you can help them.
d. Strengthen your online identity (or get one, if you haven’t already – in Linked in, Ziggs.com, Zoominfo.com, Jigsaw.com, Plaxo.com) Consider putting your resume and any portfolio documents online at www.visualcv.com and/or your own website using your own name for a domain url. Over 75% of recruiters and many companies will Google your name before calling you in for interview – what do they see now?

8. Act on your Plan:

a. Take action in a structured, methodical manner.
b. Be at your home desk Monday morning as if you were on the new job!
c. Work 25 hours a week or more, with a refreshing break at weekends.
d. Begin to gather references from former managers, colleagues, etc
e. Approach your network and schedule phone calls/in-person meetings

9. Adopt a feeling of confidence – Act “As If” you are a rising star – even if you have been demoralized by a layoff or firing. If you have done a review of your skill-set and strengths, and your qualified accomplishments, and know the value that you bring to an employer, see yourself in a new position. See yourself being successful again. Adopt a confidence you may not feel as you market yourself in interviews. Don’t be arrogant, but hold yourself upright and assume your next job is just around the corner!

10. Adjust your course, if needed – e.g. relocation, retool, new certifications or added education, etc. If you find yourself securing interviews, but not gaining offers, seek professional help to determine what might be an obstacle in your interviewing skills, work through it, alter your technique, and try again.