Coping with job loss: How to get back on your feet
The sooner you start working again, the sooner you can begin to recover emotionally — and financially — from your job loss.
Losing a job is never easy, especially when it comes out of the blue. It’s natural to take some time to grieve, but don’t dwell in despair too long. You’ve got to get back on the horse that threw you and refocus your energy on finding a new job, stat. The sooner you start working again, the sooner you can begin to recover emotionally — and financially — from your job loss. Here are tips for coping with job loss:
Revamp your resume
It may have been a long time since you’ve updated your resume, so that’s the best place to start on your road to recovery. Begin by crafting a basic resume that targets your general field, and then tailor it as needed for specific job postings.
If it’s been a while since you’ve applied for a job, you may want to start from scratch, as trends in writing resumes and cover letters have changed a lot over the years. Here are some tips for crafting a standout resume:
- Write clearly and compellingly. Leave out odd metaphors and fancy words.
- Ask a friend to proofread for spelling and grammar errors and figures that don’t add up.
- Rather than detailing job duties, create bullet lists that highlight specific accomplishments in each position.
- Leave out resume objectives (too vague), hobbies and interests (too personal) and “references available upon request” (premature and unnecessary).
- Be truthful, but there’s no need to mention salary requirements (unless specifically requested in the job ad) or the reason for your job loss at this stage.
Call up your connections
If you’re an extrovert, networking may be an easy, even fun, part of your job search. If you’re an introvert, the very idea of networking may fill you with dread. Never fear: Social media has made it easier than ever to build a network and keep in touch with your contacts.
As soon as you know a job loss might be looming, get the word out that you’re in the market for a new one. Reach out to everyone: family members, former colleagues, alumni networks and fellow members of professional associations, civic groups and houses of worship. When possible, send personalized messages or tell them in person. You never know when a connection might lead to your new job.
Make sure your profiles on professional networking sites are complete and include a professional-looking photo. Take time to connect with friends and former work colleagues and endorse their work, but heed proper business etiquette.
If you use Facebook to network, make sure your profile information and pictures are up-to-date and professional, and double-check your privacy settings. There’s nothing worse than inappropriate party photos you’re tagged in appearing in everyone’s news feeds. Post status updates about once a week to inform friends about the progress of your job search.
Giving back to the community will give you a renewed sense of purpose, which is helpful when you’re coping with job loss. Volunteering also leads to meeting new people (you’ll be networking without even knowing it) and adding new skills to your resume. Get the most out of your time and efforts with opportunities in or near your field. For example, finance professionals can participate in the IRS’s volunteer programs to assist low-income or elderly taxpayers. IT workers can put their skills to work teaching computer literacy classes.
Use a recruitment agency
Consider approaching a recruiter to aid your job search. Connect with firms that specialize in your field to learn about availabilities in your particular industry. With their expertise, staffing firms can set you up with positions that fit your skill set. Don’t turn up your nose at temporary or temp-to-hire positions, as interim work brings in income and gets your foot in the door. Temporary assignments also can help you sharpen old skills and develop new ones, and demonstrate to future employers that you’re flexible and determined.
Choose an agency that offers perks such as free online training so you’ll be improving your employability while you search.
A job loss is a blow to both your finances and your confidence, but it’s important that you not wallow in self-pity. Staying busy and working on your skills will increase your odds of finding new employment quickly.
Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 400 staffing and consulting locations worldwide. For more information about our professional services, visit roberthalf.com. For additional career advice, read our blog at blog.roberthalf.com or follow us on social media at roberthalf.com/follow-us.