In my last blog I wrote about the Lessons Learned While Being Unemployed. The blog was more about acceptance and moving forward. It’s crucial that you keep yourself productive and moving in a forward motion to ensure you get back on your feet and back to working again. Since I’ve been there, I’ve learned lessons about myself through the experience of unemployment. I want to share with you the steps I took so that you too, can survive unemployment.
Unemployment Survival Tips
Update your LinkedIn profile. I like to research jobs and companies. I study the profiles of their top talent. What skills do they have that match mine? What are some skills I can learn? I also recommend asking former colleagues and managers for referrals. Endorsements can be a powerful way to off-set current job status. However, be fair. If you request one, make sure that you also give one.
Write down all your accomplishments while they are fresh in your head. When you’re looking for a new job, they do not care about the job duties. If you are applying for a sales job you best know how to make phone calls and manage a pipeline. Employers are interested in what you accomplished, what goals you surpassed, or what positive changes and impact you had in your role. Brag about yourself; don’t laundry list job duties.
Update your resume. Pinterest is a great resource to explore impressive templates, styles, and trends in the resume depart. You can follow my Pinterest board here.
Remember your are valuable and someone needs you. You were employed, you have skills that can be used in the time being to make money. Go ahead and make a list, right now of what you are willing to do (that’s legal) to make ends meet. There is someone out there right now that will be happy you are available because the need you and your skills. Don’t deprive them.
Get your emotions in check. Do not lead with a negative foot. Focus not on what happened to you, but how you can deal with it now. You may have loved your job but it is not an option now. Acknowledge it for what it was, find a way to make peace with the situation. When you talk to people or go on interviews, find a positive spin but be real and speak about the future with excitement. Don’t bash them, it was unfortunate, but it was the wrong environment for you and you’re excited at your options ahead!
BUT…..if you find that it really was a situation that was toxic, or has a revolving door of employees, and you find yourself saying “If I only knew what I was getting into I wouldn’t have taken this job…” then I do recommend you spare someone else the pain and give an honest review on the job board Glassdoor.com. Consider it a service so they can review their business practice and hopefully learn from their mistakes and create a better work environment for future employees.
Develop a Game Plan. Have a plan on how you are going to navigate through unemployment. Set yourself personal goals. For me, I had a number of new contacts I’d make each day, and a set number of resumes I’d send out. It’s a formula that works in sales, and in that space I’m selling myself. The more productive you are, the more likely you’ll see results.
Network. There are plenty of free activities out there (that might even have free food!) where you can mix and mingle. Write an email to your network of friends, family, and colleagues explaining your current situation and that you are a looking for your next exciting opportunity. Ask them for referrals and if they can pass your resume on. A friend did this and one of her other friends place of employment needed a temp and so she was only out of work for a week. She did this until she found the job she really wanted.
Practice your pitch. You’re going to have to answer that dreaded question “What do you do?” Tell them what you do. Example. I would say “I operate a successful start-up servicing my community helping care for special needs animals when their owner has to go out-of-town. However this is something I hope to turn into a side business because my real passion is in sales, marketing and business development. I’m hoping that I can find a place where my skills will allow me to take my game to the next level!” No sob story there.
Learn a new skill. YouTube, TED Talks, the library, lectures, online courses are all available to you and most are free. If you do have money to invest in yourself then take the time to get a certification related to your field. If you ever said “I’m too busy to do….” the universe heard you and just handed you the time you claimed you didn’t have. So no excuses. This is an opportunity to add more value to your resume and a future employer. It’ll also make you feel good about yourself to learn something new. For me it was taking a deeper dive into how social media marketing works and blogging.
Exercise, Eat Well, and Get Rest. You are you’re brand, and you need to offer the best. So take care of yourself. Get your head and health back on track. You are undoubtedly going to find this experience stressful. Having a routine of regular exercise, getting your 8hrs of sleep in, and eating the right foods will help you combat this stress.
Have a routine. I give you permission to binge watch Netflix and loaf around on your couch for 3 days tops! You need the time to decompress, but after that get up every morning and go to “work”. You have a new job to report to and that is to find your next big opportunity. Get up early, go for a run if that’s your thing, come back and put on actual clothes, and carve out time and space where you can be focused and productive.
It is not the end of the world to lose a job. It may certainly feel that way, but it is not the fact. You will find another job. If you take the time and invest in yourself with this gift of time, you may even find a better job you love even more, or even increase your salary. You are figuring out your new normal, and the advice I’ve given you is meant to help you find purpose in each day, and to help you self motivate. Remember sometimes in like we have to take a step backwards, to get two steps ahead. Take care of you, and this too like so many other of life’s curveballs, shall pass.