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.
Now you may be looking at the title of this post and thinking, “How can something as piddly and insignificant as folders on my computer merit a blog post or do anything for my job search?” Allow me to explain: I’m a very organized guy. Ever since I was about 13 and starting high school, ways of organizing things started to come to me. It was just logic.
As an adult, I was able to enjoy the fruits of my already established organized habits. And after my first layoff from a record label (my dream job in moving to Nashville) in 2000, I’ve been applying my organization skills to perfecting the job hunt. Making and regularly using the following five folders can help you find what you need quickly and take the tendency toward procrastination out of your daily job search activities.
1. Job Search – This is your top-level master folder and should contain the folders below plus any other files, such as aptitude tests, letters of recommendation, articles, references page, business card print files, etc. 2. Company-Specific Information – This is where you’ll store information on any company for which you prepared for an interview or put in an application and can include documents you’ve created or information you’ve downloaded. You can make sub-folders by company name here and use those to file applications, directions, background check documentation, etc. 3. Core Items – This folder should contain the files you use most frequently such as your most current Action Plan, elevator speech/exit statement, versions of your résumé, and job application and networking tracking spreadsheets. 4. Letters (cover, follow up, future position, and thank-you) – Keep all these letters in this folder. You can save a lot of time using them as templates, modifying them when applying for similar jobs. I suggest this format for naming the files: Account Exec–Aug 15 ABC Enterprises.doc (i.e., job title, month/year you applied, company). Then you can add “–fu” for follow-up, etc. to indicate what type of letter it is. This will keep the files sorted by job title, which is best when using these letters as templates. 5. Résumés–Old – Store older versions of your résumé here. It’s good to keep these, since at some point you may need to reference one to refresh your memory about some of your experiences or use the information when applying for a position that’s a bit of a stretch.
The more connections you have at LinkedIn.com, the more likely people may be to accept your request to connect. Also, the larger your network, the more 1st- and 2nd-level connections you’ll have available when you’re networking.
Here are 3 main ways you can grow your network at LinkedIn: 1.Those You Know Already – After setting up your profile, invite those you know to connect. From the Connections link in the options bar at the top of most pages, choose Add Connections, and follow the process to import your email address book. LinkedIn can then suggest connections. Here’s another route: A list of “People You May Know” will also show up on different screens as you use LinkedIn. Don’t use the Connect quick-link, however. Make your request more personal. Go into each person’s profile to send connection requests, so you can customize the message they’ll see. You can also go back and add friends from high school or college.
2. Those You Meet – Add each person you meet as you network to your LinkedIn connections. Do so within two days so they won’t forget who you are, and always mention the event where you met when customizing the wording of your connection request. (As part of the targeted networking process, you’ll be requesting LinkedIn connections to people with whom you’re attempting to schedule networking meetings. This will also grow your network.)
3. Group Members – This is how I grew my network from about 50 people to 200. Join LinkedIn Groups (probably no more than 8-10) that have to do with your field. (To browse Groups, use the search blank at the top of the screen, change the setting to Groups, and enter keywords.) After you’ve joined the group, from the top of the Groups page, click the Members link; you can only see all members if you’re a member of the group. From their profiles, you can start to invite select people to connect. On the “How do you know ___” screen, select Groups; then choose the Group you both have in common.
Your personalized message can be something like, “Hi, James. We’re both members of the Music and Marketplace group here on LinkedIn. I’d like to connect with you.” Participate in discussions as often as you can. This way, you may meet potential employers or people who can help you learn more about topics in your field. You can also establish yourself as a subject matter expert by contributing original material to your groups. I once got a contract position after having met a hiring manager in one of my groups.