Losing your job can shake up your world like very few other life events.
Many people define themselves by their careers, and when you lose your job you lose that definition of who you are and how you contribute to society.
It’s important to take time to grieve when you experience such a significant, stressful loss. But it’s equally important to begin moving forward as soon as possible.
Today’s job market is ultra-competitive, but there is opportunity out there. Be different by conducting a proactive job search campaign by target marketing to companies and decision makers to communicate your value proposition, rather than relying on the mainstream job boards for job leads.
Here are six steps for jumpstarting your new job search:
- Network, network, network. Seventy percent of all jobs are found through networking, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consider people you know from your work history, volunteer work, business/social organizations, school alumni, military service and more.
- Volunteer in your community. Look for volunteer opportunities that allow you to show off your professional skills and bring you into contact with others in your field.
- Update your resume. Customize your resume for every job you apply for, making it easy for the employer to see how your skills and experience can help the organization. And be sure to include specific on-the-job accomplishments for all of the positions listed on your resume.
- Sharpen your skills. Take advantage of your downtime to develop new skill sets so that you’re up to date for your marketplace. Prospective employers will be impressed that you’ve done this, and it also shows them you’ll be looking for opportunities to help them improve if they hire you.
- Get your LinkedIn profile up-to-date. Businesses looking to hire use LinkedIn not only to source talent, but also to find out more about prospective candidates. If you’re a novice LinkedIn user, you may be able to get free training through your local library or workforce development agency; LinkedIn also offers free webinars to help you get started.
- Reach out to your references. Reconnect with former bosses, colleagues and others to ask them about serving as professional references for you. Then, compile a stand-alone reference contact list that you can provide to a prospective employer upon request, and bring it to all of your job interviews.