I’ve Lost My Job. Now What?
Losing your job, especially if it’s through no fault of your own, can be extremely difficult. You’ve lost your source of income and possibly part of your social connections or even purpose. Therefore one of the first things you should do is give yourself some time, at least a day, to mourn, be angry, be sad, whatever emotions you may be feeling. Taking a bit of time will allow you to work on the practical items without the emotional distractions.
Immediately after decompressing, take care of your income issue whether that means filing for unemployment or creating a budget. Besides taking care of your income loss, you’ll want to consider your health coverage as well as any pension plan, 401K, or any other retirement plan you had with your former company.
Now let’s get down to the job searching part. First get on the computer, google yourself and clean up your social media. Make sure there is nothing out there that might prevent you from getting a job. Hiring managers do check social media and google with potential hires. Take down your posts with any partying activity, risqué photos, and definitely any posts where you may have badmouthed a previous workplace/boss (which one should never do as that tends to get back to your employer). However, while you’re on your social media, do get the word out that you’re looking for a job. Many people have found out about job openings this way.
Once you are done with the last step, move onto your resume. If you don’t have one, create one. If you do have one, update it. You should make sure that it is applicant tracking software compliant. Applicant tracking software (ATS) is software companies use to scan your resume for keywords before it goes into the hands of a hiring manager. To make your resume ATS compliant, use keywords directly from job ad. For more on how to set up a modern resume, refer to our article at CayugaCortlandWorks.org/job-seekers under Job Tips (We’ll also be writing articles about resumes, so watch our blog!). If you need help writing a resume, come to your local career center and get one created for you.
After your resume is done, update or create a Linked In profile. While a Linked In profile is not 100% necessary, it is a way that recruiters are looking for people, and it is a great place to network. And speaking of networks, make sure you’re telling everyone that you’re looking for work. Don’t just post it on social media. Tell those people you’re not connected with through social media too. Again, many jobs have been found simply through networking.
You’ll also want to update your references. Make sure all your references are professional references. Every now and again an employer will ask for a personal reference, but for the most part they want to talk to someone that knows your work ethic. Professional references can be a former supervisor, former co-worker, even a former subordinate. If you’re new to the job market, a teacher, that neighbor you did yardwork for, the family you babysat for, all of them can be references. Make sure you check with your references to ensure they wish to be a reference for you and so they know to expect a call. You’ll also want to get their contact information (phone number, email).
Next up, is actually looking for jobs. Indeed.com and the NYS Job Bank are the two biggest job sites in the Cayuga/Cortland area. You can also google jobs by typing: “job title” near me. It’ll bring up a few possibilities for you from other job sites you might not be familiar with (There are a lot of them out there!). If you know a company you’d like to work for, don’t forget to check their company website or google: “company name” jobs.
So you found a job you want to apply for, you have a ready resume and references, you’re ready to fill out the application….but hold on. What about a cover letter? Not all employers will ask for one; not all candidates will send one. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include a well-crafted, tailored cover letter. Doing so will set you apart for other candidates. And, yes, the letter should be tailored to the job. Don’t attempt to write an “all-purpose” cover letter and send it to every job. It’ll look and sound like a form letter, and that will not impress anybody. For more about cover letters, see our blog article. Like resumes, if you need help with a cover letter, you can contact your local career center and bring the job ad and a copy of your resume. We’ll help you create that perfect cover letter.
Now that you’ve applied for jobs, it time to start preparing for those interviews. Make sure you have an appropriate outfit or two. Practice your answers to difficult questions (Google common interview questions for ideas of what you may be asked). Research the company you will interview with. Check out their website, social media, and any recent news article. Referencing something you’ve researched will show your interest in both job and company.
For more interview tips, refer to our articles at CayugaCortlandWorks.org/job-seekers under Job Tips. We’ll also be exploring this topic more in future blog posts. We also can help by conducting a mock interview with you so don’t hesitate to contact your career center.
You got an interview and that’s great! Make sure you do one thing at the interview. Get the name(s) of the person(s) you interview with. Get their business card or write it down. Why? Because you’ll want to send a thank you note to them within 24 hours of the interview. Thank them for their time and the opportunity and reference something you spoke about during the interview, like an upcoming project. Also confirm your interest in the position. A hand written note or email are both appropriate. There’s a couple reasons to send a thank you. It’s good manners; it’ll get your name in their mind again; and it may just be the reason you are chosen over someone else because it shows you’re willing to go that extra step.
Lastly, ask for help if you need it. Cayuga Works and Cortland Works can help you with each step whether it’s creating a resume or looking over a cover letter that you have written, we are here to help!