Many people are losing their jobs. This isn’t an easy thing to deal with emotionally. Sites like this one and careerbuilder.com offer several viewpoints for someone to feed off of when ready. I try to point people to a diverse set of options, whether it is in regards to entrepreneurial opportunities, self reflection, or job resources (blogs, pay websites, job posting websites, and job statistics).
So desolate job seekers, the good news is that even with these
tough times, things will get better and you will survive. Here’s how
you can make the most of your unemployment:
Step No. 1: Take care of logistics.
When you’re laid off, there are several unpleasant — albeit necessary
— issues to tackle. Before anything else, apply for unemployment
benefits, resolve severance concerns, figure out your health-care
coverage and assess your financial situation.
Step No. 2: Mourn.
Job loss is devastating. In fact, after the death of someone close to
you and divorce, it’s one of the biggest losses you suffer. Not only
have you lost your job; you’ve lost routine, money, pride and perhaps
most importantly, a sense of purpose.
Understandably, a little
moping is allowed, says Jodi R. R. Smith, president of Mannersmith, an
etiquette consulting firm. A week of bad daytime TV and junk food is
about right; then it’s time to dust off and find some balance, she says.
Step No. 3: Make good use of your time.
With eight extra hours in your day and not much coming up in your job
search, there are countless things you can do to improve yourself,
personally and professionally. Here are some ideas:
• Create your own jobs.
Suddenly being jobless throws a lot of people into a schedule-free day,
says Lynette Radio. As consultants who are sometimes between
assignments, she and her husband tackle projects around the house like
painting or putting in new floors.
“It keeps us busy and on a
schedule,” she says. “Structure is what you need most at this point to
not only feel professional, but not fall into a cycle of self-pity.”
• Don’t limit yourself.
If you can’t get a job in the industry you want, find a creative way to
be a provider — not just a worker — in the industry you’re interested
in, says Vicki Kunkel, author of “Instant Appeal: The 8 Primal Factors
That Create Blockbuster Success.”
“Don’t limit yourself to
finding a job in the industry you’ve worked in for the past 15 or 20
years. A layoff is a good time to look at what really matters to you,
what you love to do or what you’ve always wanted to try.”
• Reassess your life. Joblessness allows you to reconsider your work situation, as well as other aspects of your life.
• Learn a new language.
Spend 30 minutes every day learning a foreign language, suggests Jill
Keto, author of “Don’t Get Caught with Your Skirt Down: A Practical
Girl’s Recession Guide.”
• Look for an internship. If you’re interested in a career transition, an internship allows you to learn from a company in a different industry.
“Make yourself available for a learning opportunity, at a cut rate to
the employer,” says Lauren Milligan, founder of consulting firm
ResuMAYDAY.com. “Seeking out this nontraditional type of situation will
show initiative and confidence.” And, if you do a great job, you’ll be
on the short list for a full-time position.
• Network, network, network.
Always look for new ways to expand your network and utilize the one you
already have. You can do so by getting involved with relevant
professional associations, says Colette Ellis, a career and stress
management coach for InStep Consulting.
“Find opportunities to
take on leadership roles to increase your visibility within the
industry,” she says. You can also join committees that are working on
strategic projects for the association.
• Re-invent yourself.
Reinvention is simply re-examining yourself, taking what you’ve learned
over time and evaluating what makes you tick, says Sean Simpson,
communications director for Express Employment Professionals.
“Reconnect with what gets you excited,” he says. “Once you have figured
out what your passions are, match them to your skills and experience
you have gained over the years. This will help you determine what jobs
best utilize your strengths and which choices are most suitable for
• Set up a buddy system.
• Take a class.
• Volunteer. Eighty-one percent of employers
view volunteering as relevant work experience, according to a recent
CareerBuilder.com survey. Roxanne Ravenel, a job-search coach, says
volunteering gives people a sense of purpose and empowerment, which is
critical to the self-esteem of job hunters who feel powerless after
weeks or months of a fruitless job search.