So you’ve been laid off, terminated, or otherwise separated from your main job. You may be tempted to ride out the unemployment, take a little break, or wait awhile until you begin a new job search. This is not a good idea! Here’s some helpful ideas to get you on the right track to your next opportunity:
Dress for success. That means getting up at the regular time, dressed, and ready for whatever tasks, contacts, etc., need to be accomplished. You’ll feel more professional, and lounging around in your pjs leads to just that – lounging. You may feel you need a short break after a stressful job, but you never know who may come to the door, who you will meet at the supermarket or post office, that just might have a job lead for you. Looking your best will make you feel more prepared for whatever comes your way.
Update your social media sites. If you’re not utilizing Facebook, LinkedIn, or other media, now is the time to start. Just keep in mind that anything posted there stays there forever. This is not the time to bash former employers, use profanity, or make fun of past bosses and co-workers. Keep it upbeat and professional. Let people know your talents and abilities, and that you’re available for a new opportunity. Network, network, network! Check out your friends’ pages and see what they’ve done, follow your former co-workers, etc.
Plan your work, work your plan. This phrase takes on new meaning for job seekers. Set a goal for yourself to do something specific each day to accomplish new job contacts. Block out specific times and put it in writing or on your computer calendar with reminders. It’s very easy to get carried away with chatting online, playing computer games, but you’re wasting time better spent on other endeavors.
There’s something about checking off a list that really feels good as well. You can build in some “free time”, but get the important work done first. For instance, set aside time to check e-mail alerts from job boards, respond to openings, etc. If you don’t have a computer at home, then ask your local library when you can come in and use theirs, and the librarians should be able to tell you the best times to do this.
Exercise your mind and body. Physical exercise has long been touted as alleviating tension and improving health, and job hunting is certainly stressful. Even a walk through your neighborhood, taking the kids/pets to the local park, is beneficial. You’ll feel better, and so will they. Some people find prayer and/or meditation helpful, and it can provide insight for your job and life direction as well.
Respond to unexpected contacts and opportunities. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation while standing in line somewhere, waiting for the bus, etc. Job hunting is truly a sales job. Get out of your comfort zone. You never know when it will pay off. This doesn’t mean that you have to mention to everyone you see that you’re unemployed. But in talking to others you might learn something about industries you haven’t considered, or find a contact at a company you’ve always wanted to work for. Make it a point to learn something from everyone you talk to. It will enrich your mind, and you might make a new friend.
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