One of the most stressful things a person can experience is the loss of a job. The feeling of rejection can be severely painful. Worrying about how you will pay your bills can be overwhelming.
It’s natural to be emotional at this time. However, you can choose to focus this negative energy into a positive outcome. You need a plan. I’m here to help you create one.
In this article, I list my top suggestions for what to do when you lose your job. The list is based on years of experience in helping family, friends, and colleagues with their job search. The list also includes some of the things I did when I lost my job after the Dot Com bubble burst in 2001.
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What To Do When You Lose Your Job
Below are the top things to do when you lose your job.
Ask your employer about remaining pay, severance, vacation balance, retirement balance, and health insurance. Reach out to your human resources department to get answers to these questions.
Transition your work gracefully. It’s usually best to leave an employer on good terms. You may need them for a reference. Also, you shouldn’t leave your former colleagues in a lurch as you may want to explore future networking opportunities with them.
Apply for unemployment ASAP. Always, always, always apply for unemployment, even if you were fired for cause. There’s a chance that your employer will not report the reason for the job loss. Sometimes the employer doesn’t respond to the unemployment office at all. File for unemployment right away, even if you have good leads for a new job. Don’t miss any potential payments.
Update your resume. Make sure your current contact information is present. Make sure to highlight the skills and experience that are relevant to the job you want now, which may not be related to your most recent assignment.
Prepare for questions about your job loss. Potential employers will definitely ask you why you left your previous job. Before you begin your job search, you need to be prepared for answering this question. If you were fired for cause, you probably don’t want to mention this during an interview.
Reach out to your job references. Make sure you have their current phone numbers and email addresses. Give them a heads up that employers may be reaching out to them soon.
Update your job board information. Post your current resume to the top job boards. Make sure you update your status to reflect that you are currently looking for a job. My favorite job boards include. Monster, Dice, Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn.
Update Your LinkedIn profile. Take the time to write a good title and summary. Make sure your profile contains your relevant previous employers and positions. Take the time to specify relevant job skills that match job listings on LinkedIn. Let recruiters know that you are open to job opportunities.
Send LinkedIn requests to your former colleagues. Don’t be shy- send a request to anyone that would be either 1) a good person to network with in the future, or 2) someone that would bolster your profile solely because you are connected with them. I have sent LinkedIn requests to CEOs, directors, etc. for this reason.
Clean up your LinkedIn connections. Remove anyone from your connections that might negatively impact your profile. This includes connections that are irrelevant to your industry, people that might provide negative feedback about you, or people that have unprofessional or otherwise negative looking profiles.
Ask for LinkedIn recommendations and skill endorsements. Consider exchanging recommendations with colleagues you are really cool with. Endorse the skills of your connections- they may return the favor and endorse your skills.
Reach out to your network. Ask your network if they know of opportunities that match your experience and skill set.
Apply to jobs every day. That’s right- apply to jobs every day. You’ll discover that, eventually, you will have applied to most of the relevant jobs within a few days. After that, you’ll only need to apply to the few new job postings that are created daily.
Apply for jobs in person when appropriate. For some jobs (for example, retail jobs), applying in person can give you a real advantage over adding your resume to the huge pile of online submissions. You may be able to talk to a decision-maker right away. That’s how I got my very first job at Taco Bell when I was a teenager. Consider pounding the pavement at any local shopping malls, strip malls, or other retail centers.
Explorer side jobs and other sources of income. While you pursue your next dream job, consider looking into ways to make money in the meantime. Options include temping, looking for short term assignments, completing freelance work, etc. You should also explorer part-time jobs in retail, Amazon Deliveries, DoorDash, Uber, etc. Don’t assume you will get another job quickly. Try to continue making money while you search for your next job.
Did You Lose A Job Recently? Share Your Plan.
Did you lose a job recently? Did you find a new job yet? Please share your experience in the comments section below.
If you found this list helpful, please let us know. A job change can be a negative event for sure. However, by taking the right actions early on, you can minimize the pain. You might even find a better situation than the one you were in. Good Luck!
See more Job Hunting Tips.