Lost Your Job? 5 Things To Do Right Away

by on Oct 23 2012 - 20 Comments

As one of my coworkers said recently, layoffs and downsizing of departments are becoming the norm. In light of a new economic climate, companies are trying to reshuffle responsibilities, adjust strategies, and cut costs. Unfortunately for employees, cutting costs usually hits employees. Sometimes it happens in the form of a hiring freeze or not filling jobs once someone leaves their current position, but sometimes it comes in the form of layoffs.

Everyone reacts differently to job loss. For many it can be unexpected and catastrophic; others see it coming far in advance and are not quite as shocked when they get let go. Regardless, there are some proactive actions that can be taken when faced with job loss:

1) Update Your Resume

Updating your resume is a no-brainer. This is something that you ideally would be doing every few months even if you are employed. There is a ton of free information available online about resumes, as well as at your local library. Once you are done with your resume, the best thing you can do is have multiple people review it. Different people will have different suggestions for you.

2) Leverage Your Network

Having a connection at a company can really help you get your foot in the door. I have countless stories where people got their current job through a referral or through word-of-mouth. Don’t underestimate anyone in your network; you don’t know who they might know or where the people they know work.

Make sure to contact the people you plan to use as a reference. Make sure they are comfortable being a reference. The last thing you need is a reluctant reference who is not willing to go to bat for you. One supervisor I know gets calls all the time from someone who put him down as a manager, even though the individual never reported to him. Needless to say, she probably isn’t getting any jobs where she puts that supervisor as a reference.

3) Figure out what jobs you want

One trend I have noticed is college students nearing graduation or even graduating without an idea of the kinds of jobs they want. If you don’t know what you are looking for, how will you ever find it? No one is going to show up out of nowhere with a job offer.

The same can be said of those who are recently laid off. Write down your ideal job, then write down other jobs that are closely related that you would consider as well. When someone is searching for a job but is unable to tell me what they are looking for, I can’t help them out. If you narrowly define the job you want, you will be much more likely to get help from your network and won’t waste time applying to positions that you have no interest in taking.

4) Figure out what companies you want to work for

Another approach is to write down the companies you want to work for. Do you want to work for a small company, or a large corporation? Do you want to work in a specific industry? Do you want to switch from the private sector to a nonprofit? Listing the companies you want to work for will save you time when applying, as well as force you to have a much more targeted and focused job search.

There is value in putting a lot of time and energy in pursuing a specific company rather than randomly blasting fifty resumes a day to any company with a job posting.

5) Don’t Panic – Plan

I know, easy for me to say, but don’t panic. Make a plan of action and remind yourself that you have a lot to offer. Treat your job search like a full-time job, and make a to-do list each day. Like most things in life, the more you put into the search the more likely you are to get something out of it – in this case, a job.

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Losing a job is never an enjoyable experience, but one thing to keep in mind is that there are things that can be done to help make the transition period a little less painful.

Is there anything else you would recommend people do when they lose a job? What would you do – or what have you done – when facing a layoff?
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Photo by bpsusf
 

20 comments
seedebtrun
seedebtrun

The key is your last point on there.. Don't panic.. Use your network, use the online tools that are available, and get your name out there.. Perhaps it will be a blessing in disguise!

Eyesonthedollar
Eyesonthedollar

I'm sure that I would panic a bit, but I think not wallowing for too long is important. Hit the ground running and touch base with your connections for sure.

CanadianBudgetB
CanadianBudgetB

Most people panic when they are given the lay off pink slip or simply terminated for other reasons as it's human nature. As far as a resume I have always kept it up to date as I go along. The hardest thing to do is to go back 10 years on a resume for example and try to remember all your top accomplishments, training and experience. Taking your resume out every few months to update it will help you during a time where your emotions may dip until you bring yourself back up! Cheers Mr.CBB great post. 

TacklingOurDebt
TacklingOurDebt

As RFIndependence mentioned, often you see the writing on the wall and being proactive is important. Years ago I was working at an oil & gas company and there was a takeover. A much larger company bought us out and over the course of the year they began laying people off. Instead of waiting I phoned a few headhunters and within a month I had a much better job down the street. Personally I think using headhunters is a great way to find a new job quickly.

Veronica @ Pelican on Money
Veronica @ Pelican on Money

That's when you start feeling depressed, can't eat, can't sleep well, feel like absolute crap. I guess what I'd like to say is... it's really important to have family support and or good friends who can keep you motivated no matter how long it takes to finally find something.

SavvyScot1
SavvyScot1

Great Tips DC... I know of far too many people looking for work with the same resume that they used a few years back!! Absolutely ridiculous... IMO, people should slightly tailor their CV for each job that they apply to; putting more or less emphasis on relevant aspects

JustinatTheFrugalPath
JustinatTheFrugalPath

A big one is to start figuring out what you want  right away. Don't just sit at home feeling bad for yourself. If you want to get a degree schedule an appointment right away. When we had massive layoffs a few years ago a bunch of my friends' spouses waited until their unemployment was about to run out. By then they were scambling to find jobs in a market where it can almost take a year

Holly at ClubThrifty
Holly at ClubThrifty

Great tips!  Networking is so important and it's equally important to have those relationships to fall back on if you lose your job.  I would like to think I would get hired quickly if I ever lost my job.  I hope to never find out!

FrugalRules
FrugalRules

Good tips. Networking is huge as you never know what will come out of it.  I usually go back to my resume on a regular basis, like every few months to make sure I've got the best things on it.  I would also add that in addition to using your network to look for any organizations you can become a part of...ideally ones that are no or low cost. It sort of goes with your point #2.  It can be a great way of opening you up to new people to be added to your network.

FrugalRules
FrugalRules

Good tips. Networking is huge as you never know what will come out of it.  I usually go back to my resume on a regular basis, like every few months to make sure I've got the best things on it.  I would also add that in addition to using your network to look for any organizations you can become a part of...ideally ones that are no or low cost. It sort of goes with your point #2.  It can be a great way of opening you up to new people to be added to your network.

SenseofCents
SenseofCents

And this is why I'm always updating my resume! Even though my job is stable, you just never know. And you should always be keeping in contact with your various networks.

MonsterPiggyBank
MonsterPiggyBank

I like to keep my resume constantly up to date just in case I ever lose my job.

 

I also like to know exactly how long I can live for without any income coming in from my job. That way I know exactly how long I have to find a new job.

 

One last thing I will add is that sometimes you have to take a job you don't really want just to keep the money flowing in, even if its only for a couple of weeks/months while you find something more like what you're after.

RFIndependence
RFIndependence

I would plan ahead, because most of the time you know it is coming, and many recruiters will prefer to hire someone currently employed rather than someone out of work for the past 6 months. 

If my financial situation allows and I actually find myself out of a job, I would enjoy the first few weeks. Take a vacation, staycation, visit friends, family, do all the "if I had the time, I would.." stuff and then go look for a job. Who knows when will be the next time you'll get a month off.

 

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

 @MonsterPiggyBank I agree with your last point. Sometimes you need to bite the bullet and work somewhere you would rather not just to keep the cash flowing and the bills paid. 

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

 @RFIndependence That's a great point, recruiters go after those that are currently employed much more than they do those who are not employed.

 

I don't think I would take the time off, but that's because I have a lot of fixed payments (mortgage + utilities + student debt) that wouldn't allow me to waste any time in pursuing another job.