From disappointment to opportunity: how to pick up the pieces after being let go
Let’s face it…. Losing your job is really hard.No matter what the reason: performance, down-sizing, personality conflict with your boss or maybe your company is moving to another location and you’re not in a position to move your whole family to another state. It still hurts. It can feel like a personal defeat and many people feel out of control. However, there are things you can do right away to regain control and take positive steps to secure another position.
Robin Kane, Vice President of Human Resources for the Family Dining Division of American Blue Ribbon Holdings (the 8th largest restaurant holding company in the United States), has over 30 years of experience in corporate human resources experiences, and she shares here 5 important tips on how to move forward after a job loss.
Remember, this may feel like a set-back, but it’s also an opportunity to try something new, re-connect with your network of colleagues and friends as well as to use what you’ve already learned to find a position that suits your current needs.
5 Steps to Getting Back on Track
1.) The first and most important thing to do is get out and network. Right away. Don’t hide, feel embarrassed or spend too much time licking your wounds. Make plans to meet with people who know you or who may know others in your field and let them know you’re available.
Your first instinct may be to get on the computer and start applying for jobs. Before you do that, make sure you’re reaching out to your network. People want to help and you need to let them know you’re in the market.When you’re working, you’re focused on your job and it’s sometimes hard to find time to network and keep in touch, but you have to continue to meet people and maintain your contacts – keep networking even when you’re employed. Who knows, you may need them in the future, or be in a position to help others.People with large networks fare the best when times are tough.
2.) Update your resume and your LinkedIn Profile. Contrary to popular belief, your resume isn’t the most important thing: LinkedIn is a favorite tool for employers and recruiters. When they’re looking to fill a position, it gives them everything they need to know about your experience, skills and education at all levels of employment.
If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, create one. Make sure you have a good head shot, provide all the pertinent information, have a good summary and a good headline. Then, begin connecting with colleagues, friends and others in your network… and continue to build your connections over time.
Familiarize yourself (or find a savvy friend to help you) with the settings and features so your connections will be notified when you make updates/changes to your profile.It may make sense to pay for a premium version for a short period so you can send “in-messages” to reach out to professionals in your industry. Use LinkedIn to do some research on those who have prominent positions that interest you and model your profile on those. (YouTube has tutorials you can view to get up to speed on LinkedIn).
3.) Explore gaining additional skills offered for free on MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses). Don’t rush out to get a new degree or an expensive certificate. These courses are available from well-known universities on a vast number of subjects and can be attended online at your own pace, for free and without pre-qualifications. At the completion of the course, you can obtain a “Digital Badge” that verifies that you’ve completed the course and you can post that on your profile.
4.) Find out what your recent employer will say when they are contacted as a reference. You should have access to your personnel file if you’d like to see it. Many large companies will not offer any negative information; will only verify your dates of employment and that you’re no longer employed with them. If there has been a dispute or you were let go as the result of a “violation of policy,” it should be fully documented and you will want to know what’s in your file.
5.) Start applying for jobs. Today, most all applications are submitted online and are electronically scanned for keywords that automatically screen for likely candidates. Look closely at the job description and use those words in your application when listing your experience and skills, provided you have the skills and experience listed. If you can find an individual’s name to contact, follow-up with them personally.
Many companies reward their existing employees for referring quality candidates. That saves the company time and is another avenue to pursue. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it here: dress the part, be on time, pleasant/respectful and ready to ask questions that demonstrate your interest and show you’ve done your homework.
While you’re searching, surround yourself with positive people. Be intentional about who you hang out with. While you may not have chosen your current circumstances, be confident that your will find your next position by networking and reaching out to others.