Whether you leave voluntarily or you’re removed from your position, losing your job can be a devastating event. Suddenly, the security and comfort that your long-term position afforded you has been removed, and life feels a lot more uncertain. It’s not uncommon for people to suffer from serious mental health issues as a result of losing their job, so if you’re struggling, you’re not alone. However, if you’re of a mind to act, there’s always something you could be doing to help the situation. Here are 10 things to do when you lose your job.
1. Start looking immediately
It doesn’t look good to prospective future employers if they see that you’ve been inactive between losing a job and hunting for a new one. As soon as you’re notified that you won’t be working at your current position anymore, it’s time to get on the hunt. If possible, you should begin looking before you actually leave your job; this will stand you in much better stead when it comes to securing an interview. Once you know your circumstances will change, it’s time to take control.
2. Find funding
One of the biggest worries for many people when they lose their job is where the money is going to come from. Financially planning for a big life change, like losing your job, is a skill that you can acquire, so make sure you’re building a new budget that’s appropriate for your altered circumstances as soon as you can. If you find yourself struggling – and you have an alternate source of income in your household – it might be a good idea to look up some quick loans so you know you have something to rely on in a pinch.
3. Touch up your CV
If you’ve been working at your current job for a while, then it’s likely your CV is in need of a little TLC. It’s worth sitting down and taking some time to revise the document so that it reflects your most recent employment history. Cut down any unnecessary fat and try to keep everything to a single page, if possible. Employers rarely spend longer than just a few seconds looking at a CV before they decide whether you’re prospective employee material, so you need to grab their attention immediately.
4. Don’t panic
Perhaps this tip should have been first on our list! This is more of a don’t than a do, but it’s very important not to panic if you do undergo a change of circumstances. There are many services available to help people who find themselves suddenly unemployed, and those include mental health help as well as financial and residential assistance. Naturally, losing your job can feel like the world is falling apart under your feet, but that doesn’t need to be the case, so don’t panic.
5. Apply for any benefits you’re entitled to
Despite what many of the more unsavoury elements in the press might have you believe, there is absolutely no shame in applying for and receiving government benefits. These services are there to help you, so it’s a good idea to look up what benefits you’re entitled to and how you can apply for them. You might be eligible for some surprising assistance, so make sure you search high and low. At the very least, applying for Universal Credit (in the UK) is a must when you become unemployed.
6. Work on your social media
Employers will often search for you on social media if they want to get a sense of who you are. When you’re happily employed, you might act differently on social media to the way you might present yourself if you know people are going to headhunt you. Take a look through your profiles on platforms like Facebook and Twitter and see if there are any changes you need to make. At the very least, you should alter your profiles so that your change in circumstances is reflected.
7. Start volunteering
Not only is volunteering a great boost for your own mental health, but it can also look good on your CV. Employers like to see that you’re willing to lend your skills and time to a cause without recompense, and although we should all be compensated for our work, there are always organisations that need volunteers. Try to find one that matches your particular skill set and that will stand you in good stead when it comes to applying for a new job elsewhere.
8. Consider a career change
Maybe this job loss was actually a blessing in disguise. If you do lose your job, it might be a good opportunity for some serious soul-searching; were you actually happy where you worked? Was it time to move on anyway, and was this the push you needed? You never know; even though a job loss might feel devastating to begin with, it could actually be just the ticket to help you move into an area in which you’d be happier and more comfortable.
9. Start networking
If you haven’t already, it’s time to start building a network of people that could help you to find your next position. Statistics suggest that the overwhelming majority of positions are actually filled through networking and not just a straightforward application process, which might sound unfair, but that’s the reality of the job market. Look for events you can attend in order to get your name out there and don’t forget to go to them armed with business cards!
10. Don’t look back in anger
Most importantly, when you lose your job, don’t treat everyone at your previous workplace as an enemy. You never know when those connections might come in handy, and at the very least, you may need to tap your ex-manager for a reference when a new opportunity comes along. The last thing you want to do is make enemies in that situation; even if the parting is acrimonious, try to remain calm and collected. It’ll help you in the future.