Losing a job, whether due to the economic fallout of COVID-19 or other reason, is never easy. Choosing to view this time as an opportunity instead of a crisis can have positive long-term effects on your career path.
First you need to understand that losing your job is not the universe's way of punishing you. You're not a failure. People are let go every day for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes it's because of economical or financial factors. Other times, it's simply not a good fit.
Here's the silver lining: Sometimes failing gives you the push you need to find something better. Sometimes, you can fail upwards and unlock opportunities you didn’t even know existed.
Take a step back
Before making any efforts to find a new job, take a second to look at where you stand career-wise. Did you feel trapped at your old job, or were you truly happy? Where do you want to go next? Would a complete pivot be in your best interest, or would you rather stay the same field?
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you gain clarity on your future career path:
- What did I love about my old job?
- What did I really not like about my old job?
- Which valuable skills and experience that I gained at my old job can help me move forward?
- What are my unique strengths and talents?
- Which aspects of my old job played to those strengths?
- What were my long-term career goals 10, 20 or even 30 years ago?
- Have I achieved those goals? If not, what has stopped me from reaching them?
- What’s my secret dream job?
- Have I always wished I could open a business of my own?
If you have trouble answering some questions, try this: Close your eyes and picture yourself waking up in the morning and going off to your dream job. What job is it? Your subconscious might just help you out here.
Narrow down your choices
Once you have some idea of what you’d like to do now, jot down your job options and review them carefully. Which of these choices is really best for you? Narrow down your list until you have less than five options.
Consider these factors as you work through the list:
The position should play to your natural strengths. It’s always easier to build upon an existing skill than starting from scratch. You’re also more likely to enjoy a job where you naturally excel. Every job has its learning curves, but if you're capable of getting things done right from the start, not only will it impress your new employers, it will boost your confidence (which may be lacking after your previous job experience).
The expected salary should meet your needs. It can be helpful to review your monthly expenses and spending habits to refresh your memory. To find out if a possible career can adequately meet your financial needs, look up salary averages on Payscale.com.
The job you choose to pursue should align with your personality. Some people do better in administrative positions, some only feel fulfilled in a “helping job,” while others thrive in careers that require creativity. Narrow your search down to career paths that match your particular needs.
If you choose to use this opportunity to realize your dream of opening your own business, consider scheduling a free Total Business Review with one of our Business Services Advisors. They can help guide you in the right direction, help you avoid potential roadblocks and map out next steps. It's a completely free service that has helped many people in your current predicament build a better future for themselves and their family.
Build a killer resume
Your resume is your passport to a dream job. Make yours stand out from the pack by polishing it until it truly shines.
Creating a brilliant resume takes some work. Luckily, online tools like Resume Gig, My Perfect Resume and Resume-Now offer basic resume templates that can help get you started. You can also hire a professional resume writer. It’s not cheap, but if you’re looking for a managerial job, it can be a real difference maker.
As you work on your resume, make sure to include all the basics, including your complete educational background, full career history and a select few references who can vouch for your skills and reliability. It’s also a good idea to highlight accomplishments, such as projects or campaigns you’ve initiated, led and/or successfully completed at your previous place of employment. Triple-check the spelling and grammar and have a friend look it over to provide some feedback before submitting your resume to a potential employer.
Network and job hunt
The easiest way to land a dream job is to already have a foot in the door of a company. You may feel embarrassed by your current situation, but you have to kick those feelings of shame to the curb and let every one know you're looking for a job. People can only help you if they know you need help. A friend or family member may know of a perfect position for you and be open to putting in a good word. Share your resume with anyone you reach out to so they have a better idea of your career choices. Social media can be a big help here, too, giving your messages a wider spread. Tell them about the kind of job you’re seeking and ask if they know of any open positions that might suit you. They can also help out by providing contacts who can lead you in the right direction. Follow up every few weeks to remind people that you’re still job hunting.
If friends and family can’t help you out, you can also look up available positions in your chosen field and pursue them directly.
Here are some trusted job search sites to get you started:
Finding your dream job may take weeks or even several months. Use this time to build up your skills by investing in a course or an online lecture series given by a professional in your chosen field.
Build a safety net
If there’s any lesson to be learned from turbulent life experiences, it’s the value of having an emergency savings account. Having at least three months’ worth of living expenses saved up can help you weather the storm while searching for your next career opportunity.
Hopefully, your efforts will soon pay off and you’ll find a job that fulfills you. In a few years’ time, you may look back at your present unemployment and appreciate it for the blessing that it was.
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