Chair throwing, keying someone’s car, blowing something up. If you’re laid off, these and many other emotions may run through your head in the first few days. And as satisfying as these may be, it’s always more practical to process through your feelings and get yourpriorities identified and covered. This can give you peace of mind and a place to start the journey into your next opportunity. Let’s look into some of the top things you can do to start cutting through the cloud of thoughts swirling through your head and begin taking your first steps.
Unemployment Benefits – Finances should be a hot priority. Severance pay or not, if you were separated for a qualifying reason (no misconduct, you didn’t quit, etc.) file immediately for your unemployment benefits.
Budget – Make a temporary budget based off your new income, factoring in income from any investments, rental properties, or side business in addition to your unemployment pay.
Insurance – There’s no “off-the-hook since you’re in transition” with an emergency room visit or expensive diagnosis. So I never recommend just winging it without insurance until your next job. You can try to get on your spouse’s policy, choose a policy on your own (a local broker like Dudley Carter 615-415-4328 or perusing a site like Health Insure can help you with this at no extra cost), or if you’re not married, check healthcare.gov for many options (with the government paying part of your monthly premium in most cases based on your estimated income for the next 12 months). Another option is companies like Cowan Benefits that you can find through the COBRA coverage from your current employer. They can help you find a similar plan usually at a lower cost.
Mental Health – Right out of the gate, you probably feel shocked, unappreciated, angry, etc. It’s a good idea to talk to someone besides your spouse, partner, or best friend about these emotions and work through them in order to “get the chip off your shoulder.” Ask for time with your pastor or a Stephen Minister (Google “Stephen Ministers” + your city to find churches who can get you in touch with one.), and feel free to meet as regularly as you need. Further, you can Google for job search support groups in your area.
Physical Health – Staying fit is not only good for your body but your mind, mood, and attitude as well. Take this opportunity to start exercising regularly (even if it’s just walking for 30 minutes daily). And keep up the good work if you already have a fitness routine.
Career Coach – Establish a relationship with a Career Coach at your local Department of Labor or a recommended life coach. This person can give you valuable advice on your Action Plan, Résumé’, and current insight into all things job search as you begin to have questions.
Elevator Speech – Very soon at a party, family function, mixer, etc., you’ll have to answer the question, “What do you do?” Craft this 30 second schpiel that will cover your background, key things at which you’re successful, and a few top job titles to represent what you’re seeking and help people begin to keep you in mind as they hear of job openings.
Also, check out these 2 helpful videos:
3 Important Things to do to Get Your Unemployment Benefits Started After a Layoff
Job Loss & Staying Obamacare Compliant
Looking for a new job? Want to get what you want fast? Check out my book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow, and subscribe to my blog (kurtkirton.com) for free advice on your job search.
During the time I worked in the music business—for two record labels and two music dot-com’s—I had a great boss I worked for at three of those four companies. I remember during a walk around our block of downtown Nashville one day his encouraging me to always log my accomplishments.
Sometimes after we land that new job we’ve worked for so hard, we tend to relax and not think about such things. We shift focus onto getting up to speed, learning policies and procedures, and being successful in the new role. And for those of us who were brought up in the South or a conservative country, we’re probably used to parental admonition to be humble and avoid bragging.
But having an advantage in every step of the job search process can help put you ahead of the competition (and, this type information can also give you concrete examples at raise time.) So always keep up with your accomplishments and the big recognizable clients you’ve worked with at each job.
For example, although I did not work directly with the client, the work I did for the Project Managers and Sales Managers at one large company included NASA, Texas A&M University, and Boeing. Impressive clients on a résumé can really draw the attention of hiring managers.
Your new job is most likely not the last job you will have in your career, and it’s easier to keep up with accomplishments as they happen rather than trying to think back later. I recommend creating a word processing document that is not your résumé, and as you accomplish significant things outside of your expected duties or work with noteworthy clients, log it there. Shoot for listing at least one top accomplishment per year with each company. Then you can pick and choose what to include the next time you update your résumé.
People get promoted not only because they do a good job but because they perform beyond expectations, showing they can be effective in helping their company reach tomorrow’s goals. So as I mentioned earlier, keeping up with your accomplishments as you achieve them will also be to your benefit come performance review time.
Being a student fresh out of college in this day and age is more challenging than ever. I worked summers and during Christmas break during college because I needed the money as I’m sure all students do. And I coveted my study and free time during the semesters and never did an internship.
Although most are unpaid, an internship is one of the best ways to meet, work and network with movers and shakers in your field of study…not to mention giving hiring managers a taste of the great work you do and your reliability, creativity, and work ethic. Side note, at least here in Nashville, I know frequently that there are actually more companies wanting interns than there are students wanting to intern! Go supply and demand!
Students should do an internship at one of their top target companies if they can afford the opportunity cost. If you need to work a paying job during college, try doing the internship the summer before your final year. Or better, consider interning during your last semester. Make sure to contact the companies you’re considering in late summer to check if a Spring-only internship is an option, since some may only offer a Fall+Spring option. This way you won’t be blindsided and miss the boat on a great opportunity.
You’ll get firsthand real world knowledge at a company ideally in the department in which you’ll be working once you graduate. This could help you have an advantage over those applicants unknown to the company and earn you a full time job after graduation. Even if you are not hired on after, a reference from your manager as well as opportunities to network during the internship can be valuable tools in efforts toward a solid first job. You could meet someone at another company that may end up hiring you down the road. At worst, you will be able to start building your network.
You seasoned folks, what other advice do you have for forward-thinking college students on preparing for a career? Please comment.
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