6 strategies to find work after losing your job
November 19, 2013 2 Comments
Being out of work is awful. No, that’s not entirely true. Feeling like you’re not being useful is awful. Not contributing to, or working towards your goals can really start to weigh down on you. And the longer it goes on, the more likely you are to have feelings of self-doubt ever finding work again.
When I found myself suddenly unemployed, I was devastated. But I couldn’t afford to stay devastated. There was too much on the line for my family and me. So I got to work right away trying to find more work. At the time, there seemed to be plenty of opportunities out there for me. I was working my network, getting calls for interviews, but nothing was sticking. No offers were coming through.
Interviewing is just like marketing. But instead of marketing a thing, you have to market you. And if you’re like me, this is extremely hard. You see, one of the things about being introverted for me is I’m not all big about tooting my own horn. I can communicate, educate, market, and write the heck out of a brand and its products and services, but ask me to do the same thing when the subject matter is me and my mind goes blank. Being your own worst critic has a lot of drawbacks.
Something had to change, and when I came to that self-realization things started to click for me. Following are six strategies to help get back to work.
Create a strategic plan
You have an objective – to find new work – now create a strategic plan on how you’re going to achieve it. This is common practice for any campaign you want to start, why wouldn’t you do the same thing when searching for new work. Not only are you writing down exactly what you need to do to accomplish your goal, doing so will hold you accountable to achieving it.
Develop a personal brand
As I applied for job after job, and wrote countless cover letters explaining how my skills match those businesses’ needs, trends started to emerge. No matter what the potential work was I found myself describing certain traits that were musts in explaining who I was as a person and a professional. Find out what those are for you and create your own personal mission statement that will lead who you are and your professional vision for years to come.
Practice before the real thing
Athletes do it. So do orators. Practicing what you want to say and giving dry run answers to potential questions is a must. If you neglect this, the risk is extremely high that you will fumble, ramble and have uncomfortable silence and lack of eye contact that will make an interview feel like a failure. I like to write my answers down then practice them aloud. That’s what works for me.
Prepare narratives of your professional successes (and maybe a couple personal ones too). This will engage the interviewer to be an active listener and will make the interview feel more like a conversation than an interview. No matter how many lists blog posts you read people will always love hearing a well-told story rather than rattling off a bunch of dry facts.
Make it about them
Businesses are hiring because of what they need, not because you need the work. Try leading off an interview with questions of your own that will give more indicators about what are the true needs of the business rather than relying on what you read in a job description. Doing this will help you better craft your answers to show you are the best person to fulfill their needs instead of someone else.
If all else fails, work for yourself
Maybe getting fired, let go – or my favorite – not being the right fit, will be a blessing in disguise. It’ll give you the opportunity to really find out what it is you want to do with your professional life and go do it. Consulting could be an option. That way you can pitch the people and businesses you want to work with and offer your services. And if you want to be in charge of your own destiny, starting your own business may be for you. You never know. Maybe you’ll end up surpassing that company who decided to let you go in the first place.
Now it’s your turn. Let me know in the comments what strategies helped you get back into the workforce.