Even in a good economy, over 20 million people will lose their job this year through a discharge or layoff. The decision won’t be theirs. You just received word you’re one of those who has lost your job. It doesn’t matter why, or whether you saw it coming, your life is now changing, and you need to move in a new direction. You may be in shock and wondering, what do I do next. Let me give you a few tips on the things you need to do.
- Pray – You need God with you in this search, he’s the best job search consultant you can have with you. Pray, God wants you to tell him what’s on your heart. If you haven’t spoken with God in some time, it’s okay, he’ll welcome you starting a conversation.
- Don’t “burn bridges” with your employer – Choose your words carefully. You might be angry that you’ve lost your job but resist the temptation to lash out in anger. How you leave will say more about you than your employer. If you are still working, continue to do your best and use your time to say good bye to those you care most about. Remember, the people you worked with are future references for you.
- Let People Know – A normal first reaction is to keep quiet, telling only your family and perhaps a few close friends. The greatest challenge you face right now is finding a new job. People need to know that you’re out there looking, and I don’t just mean the people where you apply for a job. I’ve found that people want to help, and that they like to help. But they can’t help if they don’t know. If you haven’t already done so, create a message letting others know you are out of work and on a job search. Send it to as many people as possible, whether you think they’re connected and can help you find a job or not. I’m confident that two things will come from getting the word out. First, you’ll receive many responses, calls or cards affirming you as a person and offering to help. Second, people will pray, and you’ll need all the prayers you can on this journey.
- Assess yourself & your gifts – Take a little time to ask yourself some key questions about work, i.e. what you do well, what brings you joy in your work. Too many people are working but not experiencing joy because their job doesn’t match their gifts. Ask yourself, your friends, family and former coworkers what they see as your gifts. As you consider applying for different jobs, ask yourself if the job offers the opportunity to use the gifts you identified.
- Update your resume and LinkedIn profile – If you’re like many, you haven’t looked at your resume in a while. Take the time to update it, make it reflect your skills and accomplishments. Also, update, or create, a LinkedIn profile.
- Take a deep breath & relax – Don’t panic, a job loss isn’t fatal. It’s not “if” you get a new job, it’s “when & where”. Take some time to relax and get past what just happened. You need to be rested, full of energy and positive when you search for a new job.
Dale Kreienkamp is the author of How Long, O Lord, How Long? Devotions for the Unemployed and Those Who Love Them. He is a Human Resources executive and consultant who has experienced a personal journey of unemployment twice when both positions were eliminated in organizational restructuring. These personal experiences created a desire within him to help others impacted by unemployment through inspirational devotions. Dale is also an active volunteer at his home church and leader in his local community.