How to Rebound from Job Loss: 8 First Steps
It can be sudden or expected. Getting back in begins here.
One minute you’re putting blood, sweat, and tears into your career, with long hours, lunch at your desk, and business trips that included weekends. Suddenly, for whatever reason, you’re unemployed.
I’ve been kicked off the playground, too, along with friends and colleagues. Now what?
Well, now…the stages of grief — shock, denial, anger, sadness, self-doubt, eating everything in sight and watching TV in bed for a week. Then…clarity. Okay, maybe that’s what I did. But clarity will hit, and when it does, have a plan to get yourself back on track. Here, what I learned when I sought advice and researched how to start over after a stumble.
ORGANIZE YOUR FINANCES. IMMEDIATELY.
Compile a list of what you have – severance, unemployment (sign up online asap, it takes a few weeks to kick in), estimated tax return, personal savings, 401K (fill out that rollover paperwork!). Budget your mandatory monthly expenses. Dinners out and weekly manicures may have to be pared down for a while. Download a personal finance app like Mint to help get you started. Here are a few others…
JUMP ON LINKEDIN. IMMEDIATELY.
Connect with people, set up job alerts, and flip through your LinkedIn feed like a monkey on a cupcake. Update your profile. Make connections!
I have been able to obtain solid leads that turned into consulting and long-term freelance projects. And, keep LinkedIn contacts “public” (in your settings) to help others in a similar situation. (Many people make their connections “private”. Really?!) Remember, Madeleine Albright said, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” A few other suggested job search sites, of which you are probably already aware.
• Indeed (filters in the best job listings from smaller sites)
• ExecThread (high level, must be screened)
• LinkUp (job listings from company websites)
• SimplyHired (great site. Very focused. Also features remote opportunities).
• Google (yup – just type “apply for XXX jobs” – a list will appear)
• LinkedIn (one of the best)
CREATE AN ONLINE PORTFOLIO. YES, YOU NEED ONE.
You can design your own via sites like Wix or WordPress. Or, hire a designer, through a site like Upwork or Fiverr, to do this for you. I wanted to focus primarily on my job search, yet needed my portfolio up and running asap, so I hired a designer through Wix. In my opinion, it was a worthwhile investment. I have attracted clients and can share my portfolio immediately with recruiters and talent managers.
GET THE WORD OUT. TO EVERYONE.
There is no shame in asking for help. You never know who knows who and so on (just like that old Herbal Essences commercial). Design business cards. Invent your own on sites like VistaPrint or Moo. Both offer quick turnarounds and are reasonably priced. Always be packing; these are your calling cards.
REGISTER ON EMPLOYMENT AND RESOURCE SITES.
Register with long-term placement agencies (Aquent, Randstad, 24SevenTalent, etc.). Utilize resource sites like HoneyBook, The Muse and Upwork. You can search for project work or set up a profile, with a link to your portfolio, so people can find you.
NETWORK. NETWORK. NETWORK.
Keep professional memberships current. Attend those events. Market yourself. Search out resources like CoveyClub, an excellent support group, connecting women over 40 (of all career levels) who are facing similar challenges in this millennial-focused workplace. LinkedIn has a multitude of groups to join, depending on interests and focus.
TRUST IN YOURSELF.
Keep busy. Shake off self-doubt. Own your worth. Just because your age has increased, your abilities have not diminished. You have skills, knowledge, and experience and you know what you are capable of. You are a prime resource.
For more on what’s happening with women 40+ and job loss, read “Ageism in the Workplace: Do Women Get Harder?” in the February 2019 issue of TheCovey.
Ageism in the Workplace: Do Women Get Hit Harder? (TheCovey, Feb. 2019 issue)
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