Times have become more unpredictable nowadays, with businesses either downsizing or even closing. In 2020, Covid-19 and lockdowns led to a historically high unemployment rate, which will undoubtedly lead to an indelible mark on the U.S. economy.
According to keynote speaker Monique Valcour, “involuntary job loss is one of the most stressful events on a scale of stressful life events.” In fact, a job loss feels so personal for many Americans because it means not only the loss of your income but of your self-identity as well.
If you find yourself dealing with job loss, you will find yourself going through a whirlwind of emotions-denial, anger, fear, frustration, and eventually a sense of adaptation. Dealing with job loss can be hard, but not impossible. As always, it will always seem rocky at the start, but once you know where and how to start, you can soon find your footing and begin again.
How can you manage to pick yourself up after a job loss and have a fresh start? Every beginning came from an ending. At this point in your life, you will have a lot of questions for yourself. This may be a good time to take a moment of self-reflection before you plan your next career move.
1. Accept its reality.
The first step is always the hardest. Initially, you might feel a sense of denial about losing your job. Perhaps the job was not perfect, but it paid the bills and gave you a sense of security. Job loss might give you a feeling of uncertainty. Know that what you are feeling is normal because you are human, and you have emotions that you have to deal with.
Have yourself a good cry about your job loss, and you can vent about your frustrations to people you can trust, whether it is your friends or family. The sooner you can start accepting that it has happened, the sooner you can move forward.
2. Set Small Goals Regularly
Now that you have started to accept the situation you are in, it’s time to work on yourself. Of course, you want to find another job as soon as possible, but give yourself a mental and emotional check. Check your finances if you can tide yourself over without a regular paycheck coming in. See if you are qualified for any unemployment insurance. Check if you have any obligations left with your previous company and make arrangements on how you can settle them.
These goals may seem small, but they will matter in the long run. Once you look back on them, you will be thankful that you have achieved these little victories.
3. Create a Career Map
Now it’s time to get to the more creative part: job-hunting. To put things down on paper, you have four options: to stay in the same occupation in the same industry, to move to the same occupation under a different industry, move to a different occupation under the same industry, or move to a different occupation under a different industry.
All career moves will have their own set of pros and cons, so you should write all possible scenarios before sending out your resumes. For example, if you worked as a receptionist in a hotel before, you could consider applying as a receptionist in another hotel or as a receptionist in a hospital. Both are receptionist jobs, but they belong to different industries.
Try to assess if you want the familiarity of the same industry, albeit being with a different company or shifting to an all-new industry with more or less the same job description. Remember that no industry is guaranteed to be layoff proof, but still, the healthcare and other human service field jobs are less likely to be subject to economic downturns.
4. Transfer your Skills
The next step involves doing an introspection. Let’s say your last job was as an accounting clerk at a marketing company. Ask yourself, would you be able to make the career jump to a school or hospital? If so, are you ready to take on the risks of being in a different industry? While the job description might be the same, there will be changes that you need to adapt to.
For example, the environment of a school or hospital is different from the marketing industry, so the people you work with, from your colleagues or superiors, will be different. These changes could range from how they deal with each other and their clients. Understand your skills and know how you might transfer them should you decide to take the career shift.
5. Put Yourself Out There
Nowadays, the job market has become even more competitive. Employers are becoming even pickier about who they welcome into their company. Give yourself an edge over the competition and market yourself as the best person you can be. Review your resume and tailor fit it according to your application. Include a cover letter if possible. Explain your past job experiences on how it would translate to a different industry and benefit the company. It is all a matter of creating a great first impression.
6. Research the current employment trends.
View the employment trends according to occupation and industry. Doing so will give you an idea of where your future will lie career-wise. It will also allow you to feel what industries hire potential employees based on your background and skills.
Another powerful move to get yourself ahead in the job market, and eventually, your career is to build connections. This is especially effective if you want to shift to another industry. Your contacts might know of a company that needs someone of your skills and caliber.
Starting over again can be challenging, but not impossible. It’s all a matter of reaching out to the right people and focusing on what you can control. Tough times do not last and remember that you can get yourself through this. It’s also crucial that you don’t spend too much time dwelling on the negativity of it all. After all, the first step of getting somewhere begins with you.