Sometimes, against all odds and due to no fault of your own, you find yourself either out of work or about to be out of work. Maybe your company has gone out of business or is taken over by another company. Sometimes a product line is eliminated or some other catastrophe has occurred. Whatever the reason you are (or will be) out of work is really not important. What is important is that this unfortunate turn of events took you by surprise. You don’t have a “Plan B”. You are not ready to look for a job because you had no plans to make a career move. Your whole world has been turned upside down, now what?
If you are really lucky, the scenario described above won’t (and hasn’t) happen to you. But what if it does. Do you have an emergency exit plan? If not, you should (everyone should). Everyone should have an exit plan (in the event of an emergency). An emergency plan is not something you want to deploy, but you will sleep a lot easier if you have one (much like any emergency evacuation plan).
Managing Your Time – Believe it or not (and I know from personal experience), one of the most difficult things to manage when you are out of work is your time. You have lots of time when you are out of work and gives you a false sense of “there’s lots of time to look for a job later”. Not true. When you are out of work your job is to look for a job and you need to manage your time effectively (see Job Search Marketing Toolkit). One of my favorite time management books is Getting Things Done by David Allen and is worth a read (or two) to help you manage your time during (and after) your time search (you can find it here – Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity).
Resumes – You should always have a current version of your resume, whether or not you are looking for a job. For one, it helps ensure that you have an accurate record of your achievements and, as indicated above, you will be prepared in the event of an unplanned disaster. More than any other aspect of your job search, your resume is both the most important tool as well as the most time consuming document you will need to prepare. Having an up to date resume is 50% of the job search battle.
Keeping Your Resume Up to Date: Keeping your resume up to date is not all that difficult. You have a baseline to start with and now just need to add any new roles or achievements. Even if you don’t need (or want) to look for a job outside of your current company, an updated resume can help you get promotions or new opportunities at you current employer.
What, You Don’t Have a Resume?: Maybe you don’t have a resume (sounds strange, but this is not all that unusual). Well time to get that fixed. Resume writing can be a very painful process, however, once it is completed you will feel really good about your achievements. As the saying goes, the best place to start is at the beginning.
- 5 Steps to a Great Resume (on the CareerAlley Lessons page)
- Take a look at Unbeatable Resumes: America’s Top Recruiter Reveals What REALLY Gets You Hired – one of the top selling resume books.
Caught by Surprise – Okay, you should have had an emergency job search plan but you don’t. Don’t panic. It is never too late to start your plan. So what do you need to do first if you’ve lost your job?
- 15 Things to do if you Lose Your Job – This article provides 15 basic steps in getting yourself on track for finding a new job. The first tip is the most important (Don’t Panic). The other tips are also worth a read. Once you’ve gone over these basic steps, you need to really get down to work (no pun intended), and that work is to look for a new job (which is your new job until you find a paying job).
- Create a job search plan – This article, from Careerinfonet.com, will help you plan your search. From career goals to an occupation profile, there is lots of great advice and links to resources to get you started.
- Why You Need a Job Search Marketing Toolkit – This is one of my prior posts, but it is a great place to start if you are first planning your job hunt.
Where to find Help – Job hunting can be an overwhelming task, especially if you’ve lost your job and don’t yet have the resources you will need to get you started. Every piece of the puzzle you put in place will get you one step further in finding a job.
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Good luck in your search,