On the first day, have a good cry / moping session, catch your breath, because the following day starts a new and better chapter. The loss of a job means that your task completed or that you were not that good of a fit for your expertise. You might have done something wrong, or some sort of combination.
The other purpose to take a breather on the first day is that a job search requires a fresh look with no emotional baggage. The first day, maybe two depending upon the circumstance emotions are high, anxiety is high, and the reality has not yet fully set in. Wait for the dust to settle and prepare to start working mentally. A job search is a job in and of itself and will be quite different from the job that you just completed.
Before delving into the mechanics, I highly recommend to work with a professional career coach. Just as most projects are best done in a collaborative team environment and athletes use a coach, so should a job seeker use someone. A job seeker does not eat, breath, and sleep career searches, an expert does. I am a big fan of working smartly in teams and bouncing off ideas and getting feedback and opinions. There is also the side benefit of having someone else to impress. Think a teacher. The money spent will be made up by getting a more rewarding and fulfilling job sooner than later.
Summary of steps to follow:
- Spend a portion of each day for a week writing down in a text document or piece of paper an honest assessment of what went right and wrong in your most recent position. Even if you feel that you are perfect, write down things that you could have done better. I want you to really hone in on your strengths and mostly your weaknesses.
- Work out any personal issues as best as possible.
- Ascertain what skills you have and what direction you want to pursue. What would make you happy and where do your passions lie? The best job is that which would make you happy and be enthusiastic for going to work. One has to be real and take into account that the best job is one that pays, is close, and brings in a steady and consistent paycheck. A big secondary is that you like the environment / colleagues.
- Update your resume and online presence inclusive of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media.
- Update your profile on the main job boards.
- Apply to jobs online and directly through company portals.
- Reach out to your network and recruiters.
- Research companies that need your skill set.
- Always keep in mind that looking for work is a harder task than working and not done one-hour per day, but rather 7 to 8 or more hours per day.
- Create a message and network
Remember that personal and professional lives share a common trait, namely that people gravitate towards individuals that are honest, passionate, positive, and not self-absorbed. Think of how you can solve the others problems, not how they can solve yours. Money is a byproduct. Follow your heart, as it knows best, to a degree, but realities do take precedence. You may want to surf for a living, but being a legal assistant or lawyer is more financially prudent. The same goes for acting. For every one well-known actor, Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt, there are zillions more that have no name recognition. Life requires a consistent and steady cash flow not subject to variations.
You also have to take into account market realities. Is your current field flooded? Are there needs somewhere else? Is your skill set mostly outsourced or done overseas? Is your skills et outdated and either no longer needed or on its way out? Is your skills et seasonal (think of a construction worker)? You may want to create a short-term and long term plans. Maybe the short term is getting a part-time job and then going back to school and changing paths. You should weigh all these considerations and then run by your findings and thoughts by an independent person. You would be surprised how something sounds, when you say it to someone else besides just yourself.
Companies, much like people, are quite self-centered and have their interests and immediate problem at heart. When hiring managers put out a requisition, the reason is to fill a need. They need someone to solve a pressing problem. It is their misfortune (need) that is your good fortune. All interaction that you have with a company should answer their need and state why you are the best person to solve their problem rather than someone else. They do not care about previous employers, your needs, great projects that you did in the past, or anything beyond the narrow prism of the best person at the price that they can afford that can solve their problem and get them to the next step.
People also hate to read and do not have time to read novels. You will be lucky if your resume gets more than a 30-second glance. If you provide a summary, they will glance at that. The human resource manager, recruiter, or hiring manager will look at the timeline, companies, titles, and maybe a few bullet points or highlighted skills. If they feel that your resume is a novel, out it goes. Do keep that in mind. You write for someone else to read. Think what you would do if you had a stack of resumes to go through.
If you go in for an interview, be concise and to the point. Show them step by step, why you have what it takes to solve their problem. State their problem. Play with their problem, like a fiddler would show off his skills at fiddling to a rival.
Do research ahead of time. You must know your audience and the people with whom you will talk, as you do not want to talk above their heads or below it. You will be a standup comedian with an audience for all intent and purpose, just no jokes, all business. You do not want to use words that sound like gibberish. For all you Arrow fans, not everyone that you talk to will be as sharp and as fast as Felicity Smoke, the technology genius and nerd of the show.
The offer letter stage is also another part of the process. I wrote about this whole subject in another article.
A job search is hard and methodical work, totally glamorous, but there is a lot of ways that you can streamline and shorten the process. I talk about this process in other articles. One thing that I will say here is create small tasks and rewards. Create schedules and reward yourself in small ways for accomplishing goals. If you have Microsoft Project, you might want to create a project schedule for yourself with dates and timelines. Fill it out complete with milestones.
A good job search is not done from the confines of your home office chair. Finding a job is an active job, not passive. Anything done at home is passive. You can send out emails left and right, but people respond to handshakes and eye-to-eye contact. Go to groups and network. Learn to speak. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be honest. Nobody likes a liar. Omissions are lies.
My last comment is to try to make the process fun. The first stanza to the song, “A Spoonful of Sugar” from Disney’s Mary Poppins rings true. “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and snap! The job’s a game.” The Sherman brothers, Robert and Richard, knew what they were talking about.
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Sarah Weinberger is a professional career coach, software and systems engineer, and founder and CEO of Butterflyvista Corporation. You can learn more about her and Butterflyvista by visiting the website, http://www.butterflyvista.com/.