Even in a strong economy, it's possible to lose your job. Sometimes it's your own fault, and in other cases, you get laid off or your company goes out of business for reasons that have little to do with you.
No matter why you are out of work, it's important to be proactive. Take a few hours and be angry at what happened (or at yourself if you got fired), and then put it behind you.
That does not mean you shouldn't learn from what happened. Certainly, carry forward any lessons learned, but drop any anger or regret you have about the situation and leave it behind. Instead of looking back, work on the following things so you can get your next job.
1. Get your resume in shape
If you have been employed for a while, you probably have not kept your resume ready. You should update it and it's important to check with others in your field as to whether there have been any changes in what's acceptable.
For example, in journalism, there was a long period where anything longer than a one-page resume was considered obnoxious. That has changed and turning in a single page may put you at a disadvantage.
Get your resume updated and have copies ready to go in print as well as digital formats. Make sure to have a professional copy editor look it over as well.
2. Alert your network
Don't be ashamed of your situation. Let everyone you know that you are looking for your next opportunity. In the case of professional contacts, reach out personally and tell people what you are looking for.
3. Update and scrub your social media
Update your LinkedIn profile so it's complete and shows that you are searching for a new position. On your nonprofessional social media pages and feeds, make sure there is nothing that would be a red flag to a potential employer. That may include taking down anything political or likely to influence someone's opinion on you before you've even met.
4. File for unemployment
Unemployment isn't a handout. It's insurance that you paid for and are entitled to receive. File for it as soon as you are eligible to make sure you get the maximum in benefits while you are out of work.
5. Get to work
Being unemployed isn't a vacation. Instead, getting a job has to become your job. Spend time each day searching for and applying for jobs. Look in less obvious place like company websites and make sure you apply quickly when relevant jobs are posted.
You should also devote time to growing your network. If your industry has events, go to them. Ask relevant people for an informational interview (an interview where there is no specific job available) and leverage your contacts to meet people who might be able to help you.
Make it happen
The job market is strong but that does not mean there's not a lot of competition for open positions. You increase your chances of getting hired if you put in more work than your competition. Do everything you can to make yourself stand out so you can land an interview and eventually get back to work.
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