According to the U.S. Department of Labor, approximately 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits during the last week of March this year, a new record. The global pandemic has placed the working class in impossible financial positions, with many dreading the start of any month, when their bills come due.
Losing your job is always difficult, whether caused by a pandemic or a business decision. It dents your self-esteem; it’s tough on your bank account; and if you’re not decided about your next step, it can throw your career off the track for an extended period of time.
Here are a few effective steps that can greatly improve your chances of bouncing back from a layoff quickly.
1) Talk it out
Layoffs bring a lot of resentment and anger, and it’s important to talk about those feelings. You need to get the emotional baggage out of your system before you face a recruiter. If they sense your bitterness, it will put recruiters off, and you’ll rarely be the candidate of choice, not matter how strong your skill set.
Before you start the process of looking for a job, make sure to ask your trusted circle for objective feedback on your job market-readiness. Pay attention to their feedback and find a resource to help you make peace with your situation: a spiritual practice or a good hard workout – whatever works for you. Being psychologically steady ensures that you’ll be better equipped to overcome small setbacks during your job search.
2) Take a Short Hiatus
Research on the psychological impacts of layoffs have revealed that extended unemployment can cause depression and emotional scarring. In the immediate aftermath of a job loss, you need to give yourself time to unwind by taking a small break, even if it’s just for a few days.
Your goal is get out of your own head. Go camping, hiking, take long walks in peaceful scenery. Do whatever makes you happy. Take some time to process what happened and how you feel about it. You might even write down your feelings in a journal; give yourself permission to rant or feel despair on paper for your eyes only. Then take some time to write down the blessings you have remaining: friends, family, and possibilities. Try ending your hiatus on a high note of hope.
3) Do a Financial Assessment
Getting a fair idea of where you stand financially after a layoff is vital to keeping your anxiety and stress levels in check. Assessing the particulars of your household budget in the context of your severance and any other unemployment benefits is crucial. Look at what you spend money on and think about ways you can cut back.
Figure out how long you have to look for a job and create a Plan B for earning money (a temporary, retail, or gig job) if another career position doesn’t present itself right away.
Involve your family in discussions about how you’ll need to economize, including children old enough to understand. They’ll need to come in terms with the new reality too.
4) Leverage Networking
Today, a number of industry experts state that the majority open positions are found through networking. So when looking for a job after a layoff, investing your valuable time into setting up, expanding, and strengthening your professional network online can be extremely effective.
Your network of former colleagues, mentors, managers, and other professional connections will not only systematize your strengths, but also give you useful ideas on what your next step should be.
Networking is about connecting with people who can vouch for your ability and are willing to alert you or refer you when a relevant opportunity pops up.
Make sure your resume is ready when you get the opportunity to share it. If it’s been a while since you last updated your resume, do your homework to understand the current trends. Look at as many samples as possible to gain better understanding of what employers within your niche are looking for at the moment.
You can also put in extra effort for better results by tailoring your resume each time you apply for a new job to suit the objectives and needs of different employers. Make sure it represents what you’ve done accurately. It’s OK to position yourself well in the roles you’ve held, but never cross over into misrepresenting your experience and skill set.
5) Surround yourself with Positive People and Activities
As you begin to think about what your future may hold, it is common to feel flat and slightly depressed about your job prospects on some days. The remedy is to surround yourself with activities that improve your wellbeing and finding individuals who will both encourage and help you move forward.
Studies have shown that practicing meditation or exercising regularly can also help you keep a positive outlook toward life, increasing mindfulness and decreasing stress.
Lastly, a job search requires immense dedication. You can’t afford to lose focus, so create a plan that includes a daily schedule of online networking, follow up calls and skill building. Your job search is a game of numbers, and the more daily and weekly activity you generate, the closer you get to the callback that offers you your next opportunity.