Landing that next job after a lay-off or getting that first job (for fresh graduates) can be a herculean task for most people. Here are some tips to help you get through the process with less cost, less frustration and hopefully greater success.
1. Chill! Don’t Panic: It’s natural to feel a loss of self-identity and sense of security and these almost always make you panic. Take some time to adjust to your new reality and let the dust settle. Job-hunting right before you have processed what just happened to you (if you were laid-off) will just add to your stress. Look at it as that week-long vacation you’ve always wanted but couldn’t take. However, make sure you get off that couch after a week. You don’t want to make this a habit.
2. Talk about it: There is no practical reason to hide the fact that you were laid off and are now looking for work or the fact that it has been almost a year after graduation and you’re still unemployed. Your family certainly needs to know that you are not just in an extended sabbatical so that they can support you. Your friends and colleagues will be encouraging as well. Your contacts can recommend leads and suggestions for jobs. It’s not embarrassing — it happens to everyone. Even CEOs, bigwigs and sacred cows can get laid-off. Graduates of some of the most prestigious colleges in the country (with MBAs even) spend several months before landing their first job.
3. Don’t Splurge: If you’re lucky enough to have gotten a severance package after the lay-off or a hefty graduation gift, do not look at it as a windfall. You have no idea when your next paycheck is coming in. Put the money in a low-risk mutual fund to stretch it as far as you can. If you are among the few who started on a personal retirement saving, don’t even think about touching it for now.
4. Examine Your Personal and Household Finances: This is a good time to take a really close look of your financial situation. Do a budget and stick to it, eliminate unnecessary expenses and be really honest about what’s necessary! This is something you should have done long ago. Whatever you accomplish here will be useful even after you start on your new career.
5. Evaluate Your Options: Now is a great time to examine your options. Have you always wanted a career change or start a new business? Now may be the best opportunity to take advantage of these new endeavors. If you were happy in your previous job/career, great! That’s your direction going forward. If you’ve always wanted to change careers, now’s the time to explore it!
6. Rework that Old Resume’: Always have an updated resume’ or CV on hand. Keep in mind though that resume’ writing rules change. Don’t use an old copy when interviewing for a new job. Go to the library, a good bookstore, or the internet to research on resume writing.
7. Reconnect: One of the best ways to find that elusive job is to use your network and the network of everyone you know. Think about family, friends, neighbors, previous co-workers, church and social groups you belong to. Touch base with people who may know where your next position is. Give them a call and let them know what’s going on and specifically what you’re looking for. Social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Tweeter are useful tools. People like to help, so use them!
8. Always be on the Prowl: You are job hunting so act like a real predator. Be alert of what’s going on around you. There are opportunities where you least expect them to be. Read the want ads, surf the internet. The more you know, the greater your creative agility will become as regards to seeking out jobs, finding interesting companies, and gaining confidence in an interview or networking situation.
9. Stay Focused: You probably won’t get hired on the first interview so just keep at it. Don’t lose sight of that goal. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall down what counts is the number of times you get up. Dust yourself off and learn from the experience. Don’t look back; keep moving forward.
10. Don’t Give Up: You need persistence and staying power to continue job hunting. It is much like running a marathon, you need to be prepared and you need to pace yourself in order to finish. Keep moving even when the road seems endless. You will eventually reach the finish line. As long as you are mentally and physically in the zone, you will be able to cross the line with a new job and a renewed sense of self.
11. PRAY: Okay, so the title said “Top 10. . . ”! The first ten are things for you to do. But you can only do so much. In the end, after you have done what you are suppose to do, leave everything to God. Imagine being in the last three seconds of the 4th quarter of a basketball game with your team down by one and you have the ball. Who would you rather take the last shot, you or Kobe Bryant? You see, you can only do everything humanly possible to succeed, but in the end it depends on whose hands it’s in.
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