Losing your job can be a significant setback; however, it can also open the door to opportunities you would have otherwise missed. These six tips can help you stay focused and land a new job after a termination.
1. Apply for Benefits
Many programs are available to help workers between jobs, but many take time to get started. That’s why you want to make applying for benefits one of the first things you do after getting a pink slip.
Unemployment insurance is a lifeline for many people who have lost a job. It pays a portion of your prior salary. You will have to qualify, which usually means you must have met a certain amount of hours worked in the past year, and you can’t have been fired for misconduct.
In addition to unemployment, look into other benefits. For example, state-sponsored health coverage, food stamps, and the Affordable Connectivity Program can help cover necessary monthly expenses while you search for a new job.
2. Evaluate Your Finances
Now is also a great time to do a comprehensive analysis of your finances. This will give you a realistic picture of how losing your job will affect your ability to cover expenses. For example, you may find that you have ample savings to cover bills for six months, but adjustments are needed after that. On the other hand, it could be that you will need to cut back right away to pay bills.
Take the time to work out a budget that meets your needs. It may feel a little constrained, but it is better to err on the side of caution than overspend during uncertain times. The longer you are between jobs, the more important a realistic interim budget becomes.
3. Start Searching for a New Job
Finding a job can be challenging depending on your field, education, skill set, and personal requirements. Additionally, certain professions tend to have more openings than others, so if you struggle to find a job that matches your field, consider expanding your search. That flexibility can make the difference between finding a job and staying unemployed.
If you are searching for a remote job, look at job sites where these are posted. Many helpful remote-first job search services are available; however, some are better than others. For example, FlexJobs routinely lands at the top of many “best of” lists and is worth checking out.
4. Consider Returning to School
If your budget and personal responsibilities allow, you might consider returning to school for additional training. If you skipped college and went straight to work, you might be surprised at the availability of scholarships and financial aid opportunities. In many cases, you can get a degree with little or no money out of pocket at some state schools.
Community colleges are also excellent resources for career-specific training programs. This could even be viewed as a step down if you already have an advanced degree but decide to switch careers with a certificate in another field. However, that really doesn’t matter if it helps you find a job you love.
5. Develop a Career Network
Many industries rely heavily on referrals when seeking new job candidates. This practice can be good or bad, depending on how well-connected you are.
Don’t panic if you haven’t built up a network yet. You can get to work on it now. The following suggestions offer some insight into where to start:
- Post your interest on a career-focused site, such as LinkedIn
- Join a local professional network
- Reach out to industry associations for opportunities
- Attend meetings for groups you already belong to, such as your school’s local alumni association chapter
6. Keep a Positive Mindset
Staying upbeat can be one of the hardest things to do after losing a job. However, that positive mindset is critical to getting through this time. It also projects to prospective employers, possibly giving you an edge during interviews.
Mental health is a serious matter. Being laid off or fired can be catastrophic for individuals whose identity is tied to a job. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses in this area, and be willing to seek out help when needed.
Keep an open mind, be aware of your financial position, and get creative during job searching to find a new job you love more than your last one.