Job loss ranks as one of life’s top stressors. It’s normal to experience a multitude of negative emotions as you grieve the loss of your job only to have to tackle the challenges of finding another one.
While you should take some time to process your feelings, you don’t want to get stuck in a constant loop of negative speak and self-blame. That can significantly diminish your emotional and physical well being.
Before you launch any job search, you may need to find a licensed healthcare professional who can help you deal with any negative emotions you’re experiencing and offer you some perspective as well as some coping tools. I recommend speaking to your family doctor about this.
Once you get a handle on your mindset, you can start implementing other tactics to help you reach your job search goals.
A journey of 1000 miles starts with a first step
Before you can accomplish anything in life – including finding a new job – it starts with taking one step, then another, then another, and so on, and so on, until you reach your destination.
This means taking decisive, immediate, and strategic action.
Taking action gives you clarity, a feeling of empowerment, and some momentum. This is particularly important when you feel like you have little to no control over your life.
Even though it might be hard to get going, once you start, each step you take will get easier. The key is to not do too much too quickly. Start with one, small action step every day and then build on it as you gain more energy and confidence.
Plan and prepare
Every successful job search starts with a strategic plan. Spend some time thinking about things like:
What is your target position and industry?
What employers do you want to work for? (size, location, culture, etc.)
What is your unique, personal brand?
Who will you network with for career research and to generate informational meetings?
What skills/experience gaps do you need to address?
Be realistic. It could take you several months to land your next position and you might have to apply to dozens of jobs.
Set achievable goals and deadlines. For instance, aim to contact X number of Hiring Managers, to apply to X number of jobs, and to get X number of informational meetings each week.
Get professional career help
I personally believe in the power of investing in the right kind of professional help.
Yes, it will cost you more than you are prepared to spend but it can save you money and time over the long run. Trying to do things on your own that aren’t your zone of genius will just stress you out more and end up not getting you the results you need.
Invest in a personal branding expert to create stand-out career marketing documents (résumé, cover letter, Linkedin profile)
Get some professional, one-on-one coaching to help you with your job search and interviewing.
Find one or two good recruiters who specialize in the industry you are targeting.
Upgrade your skills
Since you could potentially be off work for an extended period of time, you might as well make use of that time in a productive way.
Take advantage of any free courses and resources that are offered through your severance package, community programs, or government benefits, and other sources.
Now is the time to upgrade your skills and to address any skills and knowledge gaps. This will demonstrate to potential employers that you are vested in your personal and career development which will set you apart from other candidates vying for the same jobs.
One of the top ways of finding a new job is through networking both online and offline. Before you do this, you should have your career marketing documents improved and customized for your job search.
Identify networking opportunities and participate in as many as you can.
Connect with and reach out to potential Hiring Managers on Linkedin.
Email everyone you know in your personal and professional network to let them know what you do, what you’re expertise is, and that you’re available and looking for a (fill in the blank) position.
The end goal of networking is to uncover potential open positions (especially those that are not advertised), market yourself, and generate as many informational meetings as you can. I read somewhere that if you can get about 12 informational meetings lined up, you’re very likely to get one job offer as a result.
One reason many people don’t land interviews is that they’re not persistent enough. It’s important to follow-up and not give up.
When you reach out to people to set up meetings you likely won’t hear back from most of them after the first email. You might have to email people every week or so until you get a response and even then only a certain percentage of people will respond.
According to experts, it can take up to about 7 “touches” before someone “buys” your poduct/service which is why you shouldn’t stop after the first email or phone call.
While you might tick off a few people with your persistence, don’t worry about it – you probably wouldn’t have wanted to work for them anyways so it’s not a loss.
The trick is to be professionally persistent without being annoying. It’s a balancing act.
Hope for the best but prepare for shit that might go sideways. I’m not pessimistic – just realistic.
The path to any kind of success is never straight. It will be riddled with twists, turns, and dead ends. In fact, it could be a two steps forward one step back kind of scenario. That’s reality. As long as the overall direction is forward, you’re on the right track.
While you might be one of the lucky ones and land interviews right away and your target position soon after that, you would be in the minority.
The reality is that It takes on average about 4 to 5 months to find another position according to the stats I’ve come across. Others say it’s one month for every $10K you earn.
Whatever the numbers are, it could be awhile. That’s probably because the average hiring process from résumé to job offer is 42 days (source: 2016 Human Capital Benchmarking Report from the Society of Human Resource Management) but according to my estimation, it’s much longer than that. Read the blog here which talks about the timeline.
Don’t despair. As long as you continue to apply to jobs, network, and generate informational meetings, follow-up, and don’t give-up, you will significantly increase your chances of securing employment sooner than later.
Take care of yourself
Looking for gainful employment is not only stressful, it’s draining on so many levels. That’s why you need to include regular self-care as part of your job search plan.
Go for walks in nature when it’s sunny.
Get at a full 8 hours of sleep every night.
No matter how busy you are, make sure to take at least one self-care break during the day even if it’s only for a quick jaunt around the block or dancing to your fave piece of music. This is not a luxury – it’s a necessity.
The best thing to do in any challenging situation is to cultivate a positive mindset. This will give you the motivation and energy you need to move forward. It will also make you look more attractive to potential employers and anyone else you come into contact with.
I know it’s really hard to remain positive when times are tough, but it’s probably the single most important thing. Let’s face it – no one wants to interview or hire someone who gives off negative energy.
As I already mentioned, taking action brings momentum, clarity, and results which in turn will help to create a positive mindset.
By doing little or nothing you are pretty much guaranteed a similar result – little or nothing. That will keep you stuck and feeling crappy.
The more action you take, the more momentum you create, and the more results you will get. Once you feel like you’re moving forward, and things start to happen, you’ll start to feel more positive.
Keep good company
Even though the feeling of a job search might make you feel liking crawling under a rock, be careful to not isolate yourself. The negative self-talk can kick in pretty quickly and sabotage your success.
Surround yourself with people who are positive and supportive. Conversely, avoid anyone who pushes all of the wrong buttons and makes you feel negative or vulnerable.
The kind of company you keep can have a huge impact (good or bad) on your feeling state.
Get your finances in order
If you lost your job, probably the biggest stressor is anything to do with money, particularly if you don’t have a large amount of savings set aside. To reduce your stress level, you need to get your financial house in order right away.
Since I’m not a financial expert, I’m not going to give you any specific advice other than to advise you to consult a professional financial advisor or accountant. The general idea is to reduce your debt load as much as possible and keep your bills paid.
By reducing your money stress as much as possible it will make the whole job search process way easier and more productive.
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Hi! I’m Diana.
I draw from over 15 years recruitment, career/job search coaching, and sales/marketing experience to help all kinds of jobseekers stand out, get noticed, and get hired for their dream job.
Need help? That’s what I’m here for!
Are you in the midst of a job search and not getting the results you want? Or, are you employed and not actively looking but want to “get ready” in case your situation changes and you need to launch a job search?
Don’t get caught in the endless cycle of applying to jobs, hearing little to nothing, and becoming more frustrated.
I offer both “Done-For-You” and “DIY” options to help you overcome the obstacles and get you on the right track to accelerate your job landing success. You choose the level of service you feel you need that fits your budget.