After much struggle and strife, you’ve finally done it. You’ve been working your dream job for some time now — and loving every moment.
Don’t let success give you a false sense of security, though. Here’s a hypothetical scenario to keep you on your toes: If your boss gave you a heads up that your job would no longer be available in two weeks’ time, what would you do? How would you use that time to prepare for the upcoming job hunt?
Losing your job is stressful, but don’t make it worse by not having an emergency plan. Here are six things you should take care of if you lose your job:
Talk to the Boss
The absolute first thing you should do is set up a meeting with your boss to hash out why exactly you’re being let go. What they say will shape what you can confidently tell interviewers in the future. Company financials are a common reason for being let go. If you were let go for other reasons, however, like lack of performance or professionalism, ask to hear examples of your mistakes. This will help you identify areas to improve on in your next job.
Examine Your Finances
Being newly unemployed, it is imperative to get a handle on your budget. Hopefully, you have some money saved as an emergency fund. Take the time to look over your finances — determine what you spend on food, rent, utilities and leisure, and see what you can cut. Think about your wants versus your needs and what adjustments you’ll have to make to your standard of living. Even better, see if you can keep your newfound thrifty ways once you get a new job and apply the extra money back to your emergency fund.
File for Unemployment
After you have your finances in order, file for unemployment. The main barrier to getting this done is your pride, but don’t feel ashamed about applying. Unemployment benefits can help get you through this tough time without running through your entire savings. Use the benefits received as motivation. The sooner you can get a good job, the sooner you can stop depending on unemployment money.
Develop New Skills
Build on that conversation you had with your boss, and develop some new skills. Reflect on your ability and job performance, and identify areas of improvement. Find some continuing education classes that cover those areas or new fields that will make you more valuable.
Also consider volunteering at a non-profit or other organization in the interim. You’ll develop a good reference, be exposed to people who could help you out in your job search and learn valuable information and skills that might help you in your next position
Brush up Your Resume
This should be a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning all the same. It is vital to update your resume and any online profiles like LinkedIn that you may not have touched in awhile. Put down any certification courses, new references and additional job experience you’ve gained since your last edit. Update any keywords and language that are outdated. Last but not least, keep updating as you continue with your job search. Since you’re taking the time to cover skill gaps, it would be a waste not to include them on your resume.
Reach out to Your Network
You know that saying “Don’t burn your bridges?” Take it to heart. You may be bitter about losing your job, but don’t let that stop you from keeping in contact with colleagues. Let them know you’re looking for a new job, and they might be able to offer you some leads or put in a good word for you. Consider joining a networking group to get some more exposure as well. You never know what might turn up, so it helps to network as much as possible.
Losing a job is certainly difficult, but try to take it in stride and remember that you’re not the only one who has been through it. Follow these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to finding a new career.