Whether you saw it coming or it knocked you for six, losing you job sucks. Aside from sending your stress levels off the Richter, suddenly finding yourself unemployed can significantly affect your finances, your confidence and your personal relationships.
While you could be forgiven for wanting to whittle away your days binge-watching Netflix, now is the time to dust yourself off and start again.
If you’ve just lost your job, here are some essentials to help you overcome this period of uncertainty and find yourself in a new and rewarding role – long before you get through a series of Suits!
Tip 1: Laugh, cry and get over it
Suffice to say, you’re probably feeling a whirlwind of emotions right now. The only way forward from here is to allow yourself a brief period of self-pity, but don’t dwell on it. Getting the boot can be demoralizing, but you can bounce back. Just ask the late Steve Jobs – you know, the guy who got fired from Apple, the company he co-founded? During his hiatus from Apple, Jobs co-founded computer company NeXT and launched Pixar Animation Studios. When he returned to Apple nearly a decade later, he brought the innovation of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Take a leaf from Jobs’ book and reflect on what you liked and didn’t like about your previous role, and where you want to go from here. While the financial strain of unemployment will no doubt be front and centre in your mind, try to use this time to figure out what you really want to do, whether it be a similar role for a different company or a total career change. Once you’ve got a bit of direction, you can put the wheels in motion to get there.
Tip 2: Be a tight-ass (for now!)
Even if you received a redundancy payout, it’s a wise move to reassess your budget and make cutbacks so you can stay on top of your bills while you’re looking for a new job. Curbing your spending will undoubtedly mean changing your habits and plans. You might have to postpone that trip to Bali, cut down on your morning latte and forgo eating out, but remember, it’s only temporary. Resist the temptation to use your credit card to cover shortfalls. The interest you'll have to pay will only add to your financial woes in the long run. If you have a serious budget deficit, contact your bank ASAP to discuss repayment options.
Tip 3: Talk it out
Research shows that job or financial loss can increase the risk of health problems such as anxiety and depression. Talk about issues with your family and friends, don’t bottle it up. If you have emotional support, you’ll be in a better place to deal with the financial ramifications of unemployment. Beyond Blue has put together a downloadable booklet, Taking care of yourself after retrenchment or financial loss, which is a great source of knowledge and support.
Tip 4: Keep up appearances
As tempting as it might be to lounge around in your jim-jams all day, set your alarm for the usual time you’d get up for work, shower and get dressed in your usual work attire. Mentally, the structure of a routine will make you more motivated to get back into the workforce ASAP. It’s also important to exercise and eat well; this will ensure you look and feel your best when embarking on the next chapter in your life.
Tip 5: Revamp your CV and LinkedIn profile
Before you start applying for new opportunities, polish your resume and ensure it includes your most recent role and responsibilities. If you’re applying for professional positions, you’re going to be checked out on LinkedIn. Use this time to update your profile, making sure the information matches your resume. While you’re at it, reach out to your LinkedIn network and ask your connections to let you know if they come across jobs that would be a good fit. Lastly, line up a few referees now, so they can expect a call when you start interviewing.
Tip 6: Make yourself more marketable
Now that you have some time on your hands, read blogs, listen to podcasts and tune in to webinars to update your skills. For example, you might like to take a social media marketing class to build a stronger online presence. You could also consider volunteering for a board or not-for-profit organisation. The benefits of this are twofold – it keeps your skills fresh and makes you more lucrative to potential employers. Remember, it’s always easier to get a job when you’re in a job.
Tip 7: Keep on keeping on
After the crushing blow of being fired, it can seem like another kick in the guts to apply for job after job with no luck. You probably expected to hear back from more employers, and chances are you certainly didn’t expect the interview process to take so damn long! Try not to feel down if you don’t find a new job straight away because these things take time. To help you stay positive and keep your professional momentum, try to do a few work-related activities every day. Even if it’s just a call to a recruitment agency or a few tweaks to your CV, each move will be a step closer to your next role.