If you have just lost your job, whether through being fired or being laid off, you may think finding a new job will be difficult. You may not even know where to start.
Many workers have a harder time searching for employment after losing their jobs because they are worried the job loss will look poorly on their resumes. It is also harder to start looking for a new career after having worked a different job for so long. If you are having trouble finding new work, you should consider setting up a reemployment plan.
A reemployment plan is essentially a roadmap you will follow to find a new job. Setting up a reemployment plan works a little differently than the initial employment plan you first set up to find your original job. The main difference between the plans is you now have additional work experience to list, as well as work contacts. Both of these will make it much easier for you to find reemployment.
A common mistake workers make after losing their jobs, especially if it was an unexpected loss, is attempting to find new work as soon as possible. Finding new work is important, but if you rush the process you may end up in a job that is a bad fit for you. Instead of looking for immediate work right away, you should focus on networking with your existing work contacts. Who you network with may vary depending on what sort of job you had previously.
If you were in a job where you directly worked with clients, you should start networking with them. If you have a good relationship with your client, it is possible he or she may know other businesses you could apply with. Depending on the client, he or she may even be willing to give you a job with his or her business.
If you are on good terms with your former work colleagues, you should speak with them as well. It is possible your former coworkers know someone who is hiring and could benefit from your skillset. The nice thing about working with former coworkers is they are already aware of your experience, so they should be able to recommend jobs you have the experience and qualifications for.
You can also go to your former boss, if you still have a good relationship with him or her. Things might be trickier if you were fired, since your boss may have ultimately made the decision to get rid of you. If you were laid off, there may have been extenuating circumstances, such as the company not having enough money to keep you on the payroll. In a situation like this, your boss is much more likely to help you find new employment.
Building up references is a little different than building up a network. When you create a network, you are actively reaching out to your allies with the hopes of finding another job. Looking for references is much more passive. If someone agrees to be your reference, he or she just has to put in a good word for you when contacted. In some cases, you may ask your reference to write a letter of recommendation. This is especially common if you are reaching out to a boss or higher ranked employee you are still on good terms with.
How important your references are will vary depending on the career you worked, how long you were at your last job and your overall work experience. Even if you have a large resume built up already, it never hurts to have a good reference from the last job you worked. Many hiring managers will start with your most recent reference if they are considering hiring you, since this is the reference who has the most up to date information regarding your abilities.
One of the reasons setting up a reemployment plan is recommended is it gives you a chance to mentally prepare for searching for a new job. If you recently left a long-term job you were particularly attached to, you may not be emotionally ready to start looking for work. If you have not had to search for a job in a long time, you may have forgotten how draining the process can be. Depending on your career, you may also have to endure very competitive interviews, which requires all your energy and focus. Do not be afraid to take some time for yourself if you do not feel you are mentally ready to apply for a new job.
Part of setting a reasonable pace also means not applying for too many jobs at once. You may think it is a good idea to get your resume to as many companies as possible, but you may be setting yourself up for failure if you take this approach. Even if you believe you have the energy to start applying for jobs, if you end up with too many interviews in a short period of time, you may end up losing steam very quickly. Instead of lining up as many interviews as possible, you should prioritize job listings you are genuinely interested in. Not only will this set a better pace, but you are bound to do better in an interview where you are genuinely interested in getting the job.
When you are building a reemployment plan, you should set aside time to update your job portfolio as well. First, you should update your resume. Do not just list the previous jobs and the dates. Make sure you update your skills and experience section to reflect the duties you had at your old job. If you were at the job for a long period, you have likely developed many new skills and experiences that will flesh your resume out.
If you have any examples of your previous work, such as grant proposals, reports or other samples, you should include these in your work portfolio as well. One of the greatest strengths of looking for work after having previously been employed is having direct samples to show hiring managers.