The most difficult part of an unexpected job loss is the uncertainty it creates. Questions such as ‘How will this impact my career plans? Where am I going to work next? How will I pay the bills?’ arise. In an effort to try to provide answers to some of the questions, many job seekers react by hastily updating their résumés, hopping onto a job board, and searching the available listings for positions. While this reaction is understandable, it might not produce the best results.
Job seekers should approach their search through a strategic lens, like they would any other work project—because for now, your job search is your new job. The most successful projects start with a project plan. Here are several things to do before working on your resume, to maximize the chance of the project’s success:
· Think about what’s next—While losing a job is stressful, it also provides an opportunity. Is there something else you want to do? Somewhere else you’d like to live? Is changing careers a possibility?
· Develop a financial plan—While the numbers vary somewhat, most statistics suggest that a job search could take a year on average in today’s market. Having an understanding of your obligations can help you develop a budget to get you through your search.
· Consider temporary/contract work—Temporary assignments can help you to keep your skills current, help to develop new skills, provide some financial assistance for your budget, and help you make connections that might lead to your next great opportunity.
· Think about becoming your own boss—If you have a highly sought-after skillset, you may be able to obtain clients of your own through your personal and/or professional contacts. This has the potential to be more lucrative than temporary work, plus it can benefit you by eliminating a potential résumé gap.
· Consider your knowledge/skill gaps—Do you have the knowledge necessary to obtain the position you want? If not, you may consider using some of your time to take courses towards a degree or certification, or pursue a volunteer opportunity that adds to your depth of experience and leadership abilities.
· Consider additional resources—Don’t overlook resources such as your college career center, local library & city/state workforce agencies in your search.
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