As the global pandemic continues to wreak havoc on U.S. unemployment figures, a simple question needs to be answered? My job was just eliminated…now what? Here are some basic tips to take during these turbulent times.
- Breathe. Relax. Prioritize. Do not take your downsizing personally. Millions of Americans and professional across the globe have been rocked/affected as well. In most cases, this had nothing to do with personal performance. Although it is difficult to not be angry and to not take it personally, it was more than likely a business decision. Period. Take your anger/fear/anxiety and put it to work to motivate you.
- Communicate. Yes, just as you perhaps told your toddler (or spouse) in the past…use your words. Tell your spouse/family/friends/former co-workers/etc. what happened and how you feel. Explain the facts of your downsizing. Ask them for their support and assistance where needed. Utilize them as job search network tools. You are not in this alone!
- Health Insurance. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, known as COBRA, should be available to you through your (former) employer and should have been explained to you by your (former) Human Resources representative during your exit interview process. If not, you need to find out about this important bridge to your health insurance plan. Under this plan, it allows an employee to stay on their employer’s healthcare for a period of time after being let go. Look at these options, the timeline, while also starting to research other options. Not doing so could lead to financial ruin down the road in case an unexpected (or current) medical condition occurs.
- Unemployment. File your unemployment claim. Yes, immediately. Do not delay, as this process is sometimes cumbersome and takes time (i.e. see Florida). Research your state’s Department of Labor website and file. And, read the fine print and instructions. In most cases, you cannot simply file and receive checks down the road without some type of follow-up/check-in/job search/etc.
- Financial Frugality. If you are not already on a strict budget, get on one immediately. If you have a financial advisor, reach out to them to look at options. Although we are hopeful for a quick economic recovery when a vaccine is perhaps introduced, we may be in this for the long haul. Prepare accordingly.
- Create a routine. Wouldn’t it be great to treat this like an early retirement or extended vacation, sleep in every single day, and just do everything you have ever wanted to do in life? If your last name is Buffett or Bezos…yes, probably. If not, you may want to establish a routine and schedule…and, fairly quickly. Yes, set your alarm. And yes, practice basic hygiene. Pajamas and workout clothes are great…but, try wearing grownup clothes now and again as well. Create a schedule and try your best to stay on it. Job search. Exercise. Network. Friends/family. Etc.
- Treat your job search like your job. Yes, your new job is to now find a job. Work hard at it. And, quickly. Set time on your calendar every day to keep you on track. Update your resume. If you do not have one, create one. Immediately. There are resume templates available by using a simple Internet search if needed. Or, consider hiring a consultant. A less expensive option is to utilize any friends or family with an HR background. Or, perhaps reach out to your old HR team and/or recruiting team to see if they will assist. Most are willing to do so.
- Job boards. Yes, somewhat “old school” but necessary. When you perfect your updated resume, place it on as many job boards as possible. You want as many eyes looking at your resume as possible. Update your LinkedIn profile to include your last position end date, a new headline with what you are looking for, and change your settings to “open to new opportunities.” This will let skilled recruiters know you are looking and may move you to the top of a filtered search.
- Network. Like crazy. Seriously. Connect with everyone you can within your industry on LinkedIn and social media. Once you do this, the social media platforms are intuitive and will begin suggesting new “friends” and/or connections to you from within your industry right to your fingertips. Like magic. Take advantage of this. When/if someone in a hiring manager capacity within your desired industry accepts your invite, take this as a warm lead opportunity for you to introduce yourself and explain to them you are on the job search. Nicely. Professionally. Non-stalker’ishly. Thank them for the connection, give them an elevator pitch about your background and what you are looking for, and ask them if it would be okay to send your resume for current/future consideration…and, follow-up. Also, ask them if they know anyone within the industry who may be hiring. Connect. Connect Connect. Network! And, follow-up and keep in touch with everyone.
- Database it. Track your connections (name/title/company/contact info), when you contacted them, any response, etc. on Excel. You are now in a high metrics, highly competitive race against hundreds, thousands, even millions of unemployed and/or underemployed job seekers. This is a contact sport and you have to play the game. As with sports, you will have to out-hustle your competition. But, be strategic.
- Follow-up. As you create your job search contact database, also create an appropriate follow-up schedule. Find the fine line of being a nuisance versus being persistent and strategic. Do research on their company and reach back out to them if you see any positive press releases. This may just impress a potential hiring manager that you are doing your due diligence and keeping in touch…professionally. And, never hang up the phone or end an email without asking who they know and/or if they know of anyone currently hiring. Engage others to help you spread your networking web.
- Do not settle. Yes, you need income. And yes, you want a job. You are bored. Your spouse/kids/friends/neighbors/pets/etc. are driving you insane. You are ready to get out of the house, global pandemic permitting. And, you are ready to be productive. Treat your job search like a game of chess…and, think strategically a move or two down the board. You know your financial situation better than anyone. There is a fine line of “settling” for the first job opportunity that may come along and finding your new dream job. Find that balance. Embrace it. Heck, even have fun with it and be liberated by it. You are free to do whatever you want!
- Utilize recruiting/staffing agencies. Yes, the staffing industry as a whole is being inundated by unemployed candidates currently. But yes, they are also looking for the best of the best to “sell” to their clients. Do online research to get an idea of the most reputable headhunter/staffing/recruiting firm type agencies within your industry and reach out to them. Again, you are looking for “firepower” for your job search. A skilled recruiter will “blast” the backgrounds of their best candidates to their best clients in order to land them a job…and, get paid themselves. Utilize them.
About the Author:
Ty Carver has nearly thirty years of recruiting, HR management, sales, and leadership experience…including the last eight specific to the broadcast media industry. He is the Founder/CEO of Carver Talent, a local broadcast media management recruiting firm. As the former Director of Recruiting for Raycom Media, he has deep industry relationships. Have a media corporate executive or television station management recruiting need? Contact [email protected] for more information.