What to Do When You Suddenly Find Yourself Unemployed

What to Do When You Suddenly Find Yourself Unemployed

Losing your job suddenly can be an emotionally jarring experience. You may have spent years working at least 40 hours a week at your job. That’s a lot of time you’ve dedicated. When economic times are uncertain, you may not know what to do next.

If you’ve lost your job recently, you’re not alone. As of April 18, 2020, there were 4.4 million unemployment claims in the United States, an insured unemployment rate of 11%. Get instructions on how to file for unemployment here.

Consider this period of unemployment as an opportunity to refresh and restart. It’s a time to pursue a career that will keep you engaged and fulfill you. Use these strategies to work toward finding meaningful employment and stay sane in the process.

1. Network

Networking is key to staying visible in the industry you want to find work in. Like we outlined in “How to Network When You’re Not Going Out,” apply these tips for networking at home.

  • Use LinkedIn: Optimize your profile for search by making it complete and keyword-optimized. Add genuine, useful comments on updates. Participate in industry LinkedIn Groups.
  • Reach out individually: Send personalized notes to former coworkers and people in your network to ask them about what’s new in their careers. Ask how you can help them. If they ask what you’re up to, explain you’re open to new opportunities and qualify your experience.
  • Participate on social media: Stay active with your personal networks on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. One of your friends or personal contacts might be able to connect you with a job, so now’s a great time to stay active in those communities.
  • Connect on video: Face-to-face interactions can deepen connections that might lead to your next job. Set up a video happy hour or coffee meeting to connect with mentors and those in your network who might be able to look out for jobs for you.
  • Be available: Sign in to chat networks like Google Hangouts and Skype while you’re job searching so you can stay in touch when people contact you.

Ask your friends and family to introduce you to people who might be good leads, as well. Use LinkedIn and online tools to “meet” new people and stay in touch with contacts who can help.

2. Look at Job Postings

Even with the current unemployment levels, there are still thousands of active job postings. Approach looking for a job in the same way you would as working at a full-time job. Set up a schedule to peruse job postings and prepare to apply for relevant positions.

One smart strategy is to bookmark the job postings that most appeal to you. Look at the descriptions to see qualities and experience that you have that you can highlight on your resume.

If you’re short on certain qualifications, now is a great time to get the education and training you need for a better position. Coursera is one site with lots of free educational material, much of it the same that’s taught on traditional college campuses. Brush up on skills that can help boost your resume for the jobs you’re interested in.

When you find jobs that appeal to you, use LinkedIn to research the companies. You might have people in your network who have worked for that company and who can introduce you to a hiring manager.

You can also follow companies on social networks like Twitter and start engaging with them. If you get to an interview stage, you’ll know more about the company culture and what the company is up to, which can give you an edge as you’re interviewing.

3. Update Your Resume

You never know when someone will want to see your resume, so it’s best to update it as soon as possible. Look at the skills, experience and qualifications that are most frequently mentioned on the job postings you’re most interested in. Make sure you’re matching those up with what’s on your resume when you have the relevant experience.

Did you know that the format of your resume could be negatively impacting its visibility on online job sites? Creative formatting could actually be hurting your chance of getting seen. Now might be a good time to work with a resume consultant to get a resume review and edit so that it’s optimized for online job banks.

Make sure your resume includes:

  • Current and professional contact information – watch out for unprofessional email addresses
  • A powerful summary statement
  • Career highlights
  • Core competencies
  • Work experience that quantifies the impact you made
  • Education
  • Awards, organizations and volunteerism

If you have any questions about your resume, book a free consultation with HiConsulting to see if we can help.

4. Follow Influential People & Companies of Interest on LinkedIn

Back to LinkedIn. Spending time on LinkedIn is just as important as looking for jobs on online job sites. The reason is that:

  • Most companies also post job openings on LinkedIn.
  • LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to connect directly with hiring managers and people who work at the companies you’re interested in.

LinkedIn is also a great source of inspiration as you’re on the hunt for a new position. There are countless articles and resources for all topics that relate to the workplace. Make sure you’re following high-profile professionals who inspire you (think people like Bill Gates or Barbara Corcoran), as well as business leaders in your local community. Browse your LinkedIn feed regularly for a steady stream of updates to stay informed and inspired.

Use LinkedIn to engage in the communities of the companies you’re interested in working for. When you make comments on updates, their employees and networks will see your feedback. This can help you form new connections on LinkedIn and grow your network.

5. Set Boundaries & Stay Sane

Your job search should be a positive experience, despite the cause of the search. If you’re tired or depressed or in a bad mood as you’re searching for jobs, that can affect the quality of your interactions and the impression you put out as an applicant.

Take frequent breaks during your job search. One recommended way to boost your productivity is the Rule of 52 and 17. You work with intentional focus for 52 minutes, then you take a 17-minute break to do whatever you want. Take a walk around the block, grab a snack, pet your dog or watch TV.

The idea is that you’re going to be really productive when you are concentrating. These magic numbers are ones the site The Muse found were the best for productivity. When you have a break, that’s “you” time that can recharge you for your next 52-minute focused session. You can use a timer on your phone to schedule your work and break times.

You also might set daily goals for yourself. Work towards completing those goals, then do something fun that keeps your spirits high. For example, you might decide that from Monday-Friday, each day you’re going to:

  • Find 10 job descriptions that you’re interested in and have bookmarked
  • Reach out to 5 people in your network with a personalized note
  • Spend 30 minutes scrolling through your LinkedIn feed and commenting on updates
  • Spend 30 minutes interacting on your personal social media channels
  • Host 1 30-minute coffee meeting with someone in your network
  • Apply for 1 job you’re interested in and are qualified for
  • Spend 1 hour learning or practicing a new skill that will boost your resume

This type of schedule and structure can help you build momentum as you stay productive on your job search. No action rarely yields results. Know that with every positive step you take in your job search, you’re moving closer to getting a position you’ll enjoy.

You’ll Get Through This

Losing a job is rarely easy. But this negative experience could lead to the best opportunity of your life.

During your job search, make sure to:

  1. Network
  2. Find jobs you’re interested in
  3. Polish your resume
  4. Interact on LinkedIn
  5. Create a manageable job search schedule

Sometimes, working with a professional career coach can also help you stay focused and on track as you embark on this new time in your career. Get help with interviewing, editing your resume, finding high-quality job opportunities and more. Contact HiConsulting for how we can help.

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Hillary Kuenn is an ambitious, responsible and compassionate leader. I’ve known Hillary for several years and have had the opportunity to work with her, both under her guidance and in a collaborative capacity. She’s not one to settle for mediocrity, is consistent in her attention detail, and extremely intentional in implementing a clear vision and strategy as a business development manager. Hillary is also a great coach, providing encouragement and motivation, but also an objective opinion when you need to hear it. I highly recommend Hillary if have the opportunity to work with her. She is a business changer.

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