Updated: Dec 2, 2020
Given the uncertainty caused by Covid19, its not surprising that many people are worried about their job or have already been unlucky and have lost their job, causing a lot of anxiety and stress. At such times it can be difficult to see past the doom and gloom but I want to show you some straightforward steps you can take to manage such life shocks, thereby easing your stress and help you find a new job.
Having suffered 2 heart attacks in 18months, I've had my share of life shocks and have had to face and make significant changes to my life - everything in my life has been turned upside-down - job, career, family, health. I learned a lot during those tumultuous times and I would like to pass on my learnings to help you cope with traumatic changes if you have suffered from losing your job.
STEP 1: Don't panic and don't blame yourself
When you suffer such bad luck, there is a numbness that descends over you which is then replaced by a whole range of emotions - all negative which serve only to deepen your glum mood and increase your anxiety. Typically, there will be a lot of negative chatter going on in your head - "it's my fault" "bad things only happen to me" "I'm useless, a failure.." etc. However, it's really important to stop this negative chatter and to realise that these are just thoughts and bear no semblance to reality. But they are the cause of your negative feelings.
Let me re-emphasise as it's so important to realise -thoughts don't mean they are accurate or true; that's all they are - just thoughts!... so change the conversation to a more positive based one and which is also based on facts; "I've had some bad luck", "I've got a lot to offer", " I'm still much better off than so many people". Thinking positively will also change your mood and brighten your outlook, I promise! But you must change your mindset otherwise you will find it very hard to move forward as you will always be stuck in thinking of past events which is pointless; only look forward. As has been said; we become what we believe and what we believe is usually profoundly false especially when our thoughts are negative.
STEP 2: Review your finances
Obviously your finances will be adversely affected by your loss of earnings; we all know that! However, what does that mean for your day to day spending? That is a harder question to answer unless you know the ins and outs of your finances in detail. A lot of people will put their head in the sand and either ignore what has happened and carry on as if nothing has happened or delay looking at their finances, putting it off a couple of months. Both scenarios are bad - but spending a bit of time now looking at your finances and knowing what you have to do to keep afloat will be much less painful than looking at it in a few months time.
The best way is to look at your monthly budget and decide what savings you can make (no more visits to the cafe!) If you don't have a budget already documented, don't worry as there are lots of online budgets you can use. My personal favourite is one put together by moneysavingexpert.com. its easy to use, clear and doesn't require any finance or spreadsheet knowledge to use it.
Once you've had a review and made adjustments you will feel much better as :
you'll feel better knowing exactly where you stand regarding your money situation
you'll be able to focus on getting a job instead of worrying about money matters
I would recommend looking at your finances every couple of months until you get a new job.
STEP 3: Look at your skillset and focus on your strengths
Before you start looking for a new job, it's definitely worthwhile to spend some time thinking about what your skills and strengths are. This is for 2 important reasons:
Thinking through what skills you have will help boost your confidence and self-worth.
Some ways of capturing your skills are:
Look at your performance reviews from your last job
Ask your friends and old work colleagues for feedback
Take an online test or use online job agencies such as monster.com who have resources to help you
Use a coach to help you find your real strengths and abilities to ensure you reach your potential
2. It will enable you to consider a wider range of jobs as you realise your skillset is much broader than you originally thought, opening up more opportunities for you.
STEP 4: Update your CV
Having completed your skills review, you are now in a good position to put together or update your CV. It's important to do this properly and not rush it; making sure it looks good and reads well. Think of your CV as your personal career passport and your most powerful marketing tool, something which every employer/recruiter will look at so a good first impression is vital, especially in today's job market. Please don't handicap yourself by presenting a messy and difficult to read CV!
I have had plenty of experience in helping people put together CVs as well as reviewing hundreds of CVs of potential candidates for jobs in my own businesses or when I worked for a large management consultancy. So my advice comes from experience! Any CV which was difficult to read or had spelling mistakes made my job of shortlisting candidates much easier - they were instantly discarded!
If you are struggling in putting together a CV, you can employ someone to help you - either a careers consultant or a career coach who has had experience in putting together and reviewing CVs. The investment will be worth it as it will put you ahead of your peers and increase your chances of getting an interview. As a minimum your CV should:
Highlight your key strengths
Describe your key job achievements to date
State your qualifications
Keep it within 2 pages so make it succinct and punchy - be precise and make every sentence count!
STEP 5: Use your network to open doors and find opportunities.... the power of the network!
Once you've done the hard work and put together your CV, the challenge is to maximize your chances of getting a job. The obvious thing to do is to send your CV to recruitment agencies or sign up online to job portals attaching your CV. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this approach, it is a very impersonal approach and it is likely your CV will be in a file with hundreds (or even thousands) of other job seekers! So the chances of your CV gathering dust is high and the chances of your CV being spotted is low!
A personal approach to job hunting is much more powerful- for a start, they know you! Make a list of all your contacts and friends who you could talk to and help you find your next role. Your contacts could also be your university alumni, your sports teammates, ex-colleagues or even recruitment consultants you've met in the past. Once you've completed your list, rank the list according to how likely is it that they are able and willing to help and start contacting people in order of their ranking.
My experience has shown that networking is much more likely to bring you success in getting a new job. Many of your circle might be aware that you are looking for a job or don't know your skill set - but they know you! So are much more willing to go out of their way to help. I helped a friend put together a list of network contacts; he queried whether to include one of old bosses from a previous role as a network contact. I advised him to include that person as he was well regarded by her. And guess what...he discovered she was looking for people to join her team with his skill set so he got the job! (he is still working there, several years later!)
I've realised that I have covered a lot of things in a short blog so if you need more information or guidance on any of the issues I have mentioned here, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org