You’ve just been told you’ve been laid off or furloughed. It’s horrible news on top of everything else going on right now. It’s hard, and finding a new job will be tougher than polishing off your resume. If you’ve been furloughed you now need to understand exactly what that means and realistically when you’ll be able to go back to work with full pay again. So, what do you do when you lose your job? First, create an immediate plan for your finances. Know what unemployment benefits are available to you, especially new resources through the CARES Act and take action to reduce your expenses. Second, create a short term and mid term career plan. Lastly, take steps such as reaching out to your network and identifying companies to apply to and put that plan into action.
Know What Unemployment Benefits Are Available For Laid Off and Furloughed Workers
Before you even formulate a plan for your career, apply for as many unemployment benefits as you can. And, understand what benefits you still have through your employer and for how long. Is your company offering you a package or not? Do you get to keep your health insurance and if so, how long? Does your household qualify for the $1,200 per adult and $500 per child financial stimulus through the CARES Act? There are differences between being laid off, pay reductions, hour reductions, and being furloughed. For example, some companies are continuing to pay healthcare benefits during furloughs.
Additionally, the CARES Act extended unemployment benefits to include gig workers, self-employed and independent contractors. The United States government also included an additional $600 / week unemployment until July 31st. Make sure you understand your situation and what benefits you qualify for.
Do A Thorough Review of All Your Expenses and Take Action
You now find yourself in a situation where you’ll have less cash coming in and uncertainty about what income you’ll have coming in in a few months. It’ll be easier to focus on your job search and develop your short and mid-term career plan if you know where you stand on your finances. It’s important to do a thorough review of all of your expenses and understand where you can start cutting back immediately. Not sure where to start? Here are 12 Ways to Save Money and Cut Expenses During Coronavirus.
Create a Short Term Career Plan
The situation we’re in won’t last forever but it will impact the short term and possibly the next few years as well. Even when the shelter in place guidance is lifted things still won’t return back to normal. It’s unknown how consumer demand will react. People may not feel comfortable traveling or going to sports games for awhile as an example. There will likely also be guidance that remains in place around social distancing and limits to how businesses reopen. As a result, your plan should take the macro level environment into account.
Evaluate What Industries Have the Highest Growth Potential
The industry you worked in before you got laid off or furloughed may not be the industry you work in next. Are you in an industry that will be struggling until a vaccine will be created? Or, are you in an industry which should bounce back quickly once shelter in place is lifted? You can still find opportunities to do what you love, but you may have to switch industries in the short term. The industries with the lowest risk right now are those that are considered essential such as IT, e-commerce and distribution of essential items like food.
Know Your Skill Set
Next, review your skill set. Being able to manage a pipeline, maintain good customer relationships, and turn prospects into sales are great skills to have no matter the industry. If you’re in hospitality sales now and furloughed explore sales opportunities in the technology industry.
This is true for many other skill sets. If you are good at managing inventory and running inventory sufficiency analysis in retail, look for opportunities to for these roles at e-commerce companies.
The jobs available to you are likely much broader than you think. Being able to clearly articulate your skill set and how these skills are valuable to the jobs you apply to will be key. And, if you don’t have the skills yet to do your dream job? Now is the perfect opportunity to learn those skills.
Know Your Passions
Were you doing what you were passionate about before? If you were in your dream job and that dream job is in an impacted industry other jobs you see may not excite you at first glance. Take a step back and really understand what about your last job you were most passionate about. Was it the product you supported? Your team? Certain projects? Then, look for those same qualities at other companies. If you’re still stuck, look at what employees say about the company in their Glassdoor reviews.
Develop Your Short Term Career Plan
Take your analysis on industries that have the best opportunities for growth right now, your skill set and your passions and combine that all together. Where do these intersect? Is there an industry that stands out, or a particular role within that industry?
Combine this new information with your existing career plan. What level role are you looking for? What salary and benefits are you looking for? Are you interested in being an individual contributor or a manager? The jobs available may not meet all of your criteria so it’s important to be flexible but also mindful of looking for roles that can still put you on the right path. Don’t have an existing career plan to add to? Build a career plan using these tips.
Execute Against Your Short Term Career Plan
Now that you have a short term career plan it’s time to turn that plan into action.
Identify Which Companies You Want To Work At
Start your job search by focusing on the industries that are considered essential. While there have been a lot of news articles about hiring in the front lines such as grocery workers there are plenty of jobs that need to support those jobs too. For example, recruiting, HR, distribution operations, etc. Information technology is a great industry to be in and there are plenty of jobs in IT that don’t require being an engineer.
Next, find companies within those industries that you’re interested in working at. What companies in that industry made the list of top places to work? Do you have friends or former coworkers that work at those companies? It’s always great to get feedback from current employees directly about what it’s like to work for that company.
Update Your LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a social networking site for job searchers. But, did you know that 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn as part of their candidate search? There are plenty of ways to use your LinkedIn profile to help with your job search. This includes updating your profile with a profile picture, relevant headline and your latest experience and skills.
Lastly, be sure you’re connected to former coworkers and friends on LinkedIn. This will help you identify where you already have connections at companies you want to apply to. It’ll also show you what mutual connections you have with hiring managers and more.
Leverage Your Network To Get Your Resume Seen
Your network is critical during your job search. It’s easier to get a job through an employee referral than it is to apply to a job without that recommendation. Reach out to your mentor to get guidance on what other jobs your skill set may be conducive for. Talk to your career sponsor and ask if they know of any jobs they can refer you to or strong connections they can put you in contact with
Invest In Yourself Through Free Skills Training
Perhaps you find this is an opportunity to completely reinvent yourself. Maybe you didn’t enjoy what you did before or you liked what you did but you wanted to earn more money. Instead of viewing this situation negatively, view it as a positive and take advantage to come out of this situation stronger. There are plenty of free learnings out there to help improve your skill set.
Free Skills and Interview Training Offered by LinkedIn
LinkedIn Learning has a one month trial period for free. This site offers a wide variety of courses including how to rock your LinkedIn profile, cloud computing courses, sales courses and project management courses.
Free Skills Training Offered By Kahn Academy
Free Career and Interview Training Offered By States
Know what other trainings and career resources your state government offers. For example, Illinois has virtual training which includes webinars on interview techniques, starting your business in Illinois and changing long term goals due to disruptions.
Take Advantage of Free Time
Often it feels like there is not enough time in the day. Now that you’ve been laid off or furloughed you’ve been given some time back. This is the perfect opportunity to learn something new, spend time with immediate family, or do household projects. You will get a job again and when that happens you’ll be really busy getting ramped up. Take advantage of the downtime now because that too will pass.
What advice do you have for people that have lost their job?