Early in my career I went on a business trip to Boston with our company’s head of Operations. I was in my early thirties and he was in his fifties and was a former US Air force pilot. As we landed, the plane bounced a few times on the runway, swerved back and forth and for a few minutes I did not think we would make it. After a few frantic seconds (which seemed endless to me), the pilot got the plane under control and we arrived at our gate. I turned to my coworker and said “that was a bad landing” to which he said “any landing you walk away from is a good landing”. I guess when you put it in that framework he was definitely right.
Job search is very much the same. The circumstances of your search will drive much of what you feel. If you are out of work and looking (hard landing) the process will be more challenging than if you are looking while working (soft landing). The job search process is somewhat different for each scenario. Yes, the vast majority of “what you do” and “how you do your search” will be similar, but the drivers will be very different.
Job Search Considerations When You Are Out of Work: Layoffs, mergers, bankruptcies, boss didn’t like you, it doesn’t really matter the reason – out of work is out of work. What to consider.
- Review Your Personal Finances- The rule of thumb is that you should have 6 months to 1 year of take home pay in the bank in case you lose your job. The truth is, I really don’t know many people who have that much emergency money (and even if you do, who wants to part with it?). Make a list of your monthly bills, minimum amounts to get by, what you can cut, etc.
- Apply for Unemployment -There is nothing wrong with applying for unemployment. You’ve paid your taxes and others have benefited by unemployment benefits, now it’s your turn. You may feel that the amount is so small it doesn’t matter, but whatever you get is more than $0. Additionally, some unemployment offices provide career advice and leads.
- Reevaluate Your Career Choice- Understanding the dynamics behind why you are out of work is critical to your next move. If your industry is shrinking then you should consider other options including re-training for a new career.
Next Steps in Your Job Search:
- Resume– If you don’t already have an updated resume, now is the time.
- Cover Letters– Look at the Resumes post, this may help.
- Companies you want to work for– Make a list of the companies you want to work for and start applying to their websites.
- Business Social Networks – LYou should leverage contacts who work for the companies where you may want to work. Sites like LinkedIn will tell you if you know someone who works at one of your target companies (or if you know someone who knows someone).
- College alumni Associations – Check out your college alumni association as well as your colleges job recruiting center. These can be great resources.
- Make a Plan- Different things work for different people, but everyone should have a plan. Don’t focus too much time on any one method of job search. It is best to spread your time (every day) across:
- Job Search Sites
- Company Websites
Good luck in your search.