"I lost my job" are some of the most dreaded words in any language.
We’ve all been there. There was a lay off. The start up shuttered. You got yourself fired.
Or it was just and out and out unexplained termination. Job loss happens. It can send you into a tailspin. But it also means that you have an opportunity to get another job. A better job. A job you really want. Take a day or two to grieve and breathe, then get moving!
Start by defining your next steps. This is your chance to design your career - don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Instead of letting your next job just happen to you, actively design where you want to be, who you want to be and what you want to be. Reverse engineering can be really helpful for this. Take a bit of time to think about yourself one year from now. Think about what your year from now you would be doing all day at work to feel engaged and fulfilled. Who are you? What are you doing?
Now work back to see what steps you would have needed to take to get you get there.
If you are currently an accountant but your future you is a basketball coach, then some changes are pretty obviously in order! Maybe future you is in the same role at a similar company but two levels up! What do you need to do to get there. Maybe you need to take a class, get a certification or move to a new town. Those are actionable steps you can start taking.
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After, and only after, you’ve decided what your career will look like, then revise your LinkedIn, resume and website or portfolio. Think of these things as your ‘Sales Packet’ - because you truly are selling yourself here. Many people make the mistake of using resumes as a log of job duties. But they are your chance to tell your story. How did you get to where you are now? Where are you on your way to? Make sure your resume and LinkedIn showcase who you want to be - not just who you are.
If you don’t have a website or portfolio- make one. No matter who you are or what you do - a website can be incredibly helpful in showing who you are and what you’re capable of. Try a free site builder like Weebly or wix - or step it up a notch with squarespace. Use your site to let employers get a better sense of who you are. Showcase your work and what you’re working towards.
Now leverage that network! Once you have a clearly designed path, and an updated ‘sales packet,’ reach out to people in your network who can help you get to where you want to be. Be strategic here - don’t spam everyone you’ve ever connected to. Think quality over quantity and reach out. Offer to take that old manager out to lunch. Send that copywriter you used to sit next to an article they might like and talk about that new agency they’re at. If you absolutely cringe at the thought of networking - check out some alternatives.
If you have the means, hire a career coach - even if only for one session. Many times a spare set of eyes on your resume and a little push is all it takes to find that next great job.
For many people, the landlord will be knockin’ soon and they don’t have the ‘luxury’ of doing this type of exercise. That’s ok! Take whatever gig you need to take right now to pay the bills and work on your future you’s happiness on the side. Make lattes while taking that certification course, stock groceries while building up your portfolio. Do what it takes to make a career for yourself that will be engaging and rewarding.
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