10 Steps to Take After Losing Your Job

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  • Evaluate your career path before beginning your job search.
  • Consider taking classes to develop new skills.
  • Update your resume and LinkedIn profile to stand out to employers.
  • Prepare for job interviews by practicing with family and friends.

As of June 2020, millions of Americans had lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. Estimates at the time ranged from 20 million to 40 million positions lost. Although the job market has improved since then, millions of Americans remain out of work.

Losing your job is tough. If you're newly unemployed, you may not know how to move forward. Whether you hope to land a new position in your field or change careers, this guide can help. Below are 10 tips on what to do after losing your job.

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Ready to Start Your Journey?

1. Evaluate Your Career Path

Millions of workers are leaving jobs they find unsatisfying to explore other options. Pundits have dubbed this "The Great Resignation." If you've lost your job, you now have the opportunity to course-correct your career.

If you decide to begin a new career, you may need to enroll in some continuing education classes, earn professional certifications, or pursue other training. Doing so can be worth it if it helps you find happiness in your professional life.

2. Sharpen Your Skills and Knowledge

Use your time between jobs to develop new skills and brush up on old ones. If you're interested in furthering your education, consider enrolling in a certificate program. Certificate programs are typically much shorter than degree programs and can help you pursue a new career or prepare for certification exams in your field.

Also, work on improving your soft skills. These skills include dependability, communication, and a willingness to learn. According to a recent survey, 73% of employers said they value soft skills more than ever.

3. Revamp Your Resume

When beginning your job search, be sure to revise your resume, especially if it's been a while since it was last updated. Then, continue to tweak your resume each time you apply for a job.

According to Forbes, approximately 75% of qualified applicants don't get past an employer's applicant tracking system (ATS). Hiring professionals often use an ATS to scan resumes, select strong candidates, and weed out unqualified ones.

To get past an ATS, you can incorporate keywords from the company's job description throughout your resume. Be sure to make these adjustments each time you apply for a different role.

4. Update Your LinkedIn Profile

More than 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find job candidates, so updating your LinkedIn profile is crucial when looking for a job.

Put your best face forward. Add a recent photo or professional headshot. Also, change your headline from your job title to a more engaging description of your services and skills.

The most critical part of your LinkedIn profile is the experience section. When detailing your work history, go beyond bullet points that simply list prior job responsibilities. Instead, describe what you accomplished in each previous role.

5. Connect With Your Network

When you're on the job market, networking is key. Begin by letting friends and family know you're looking for a new role. According to a 2019 Jobvite survey, nearly half of respondents learned about job openings through friends.

Take networking to the next level by using LinkedIn and other social media sites. Use these to reach out to former colleagues, join alumni groups, and find networking events in your area. Jobvite reports that 37% of survey respondents found employment opportunities through professional networking.

6. Assess Potential References

If a company is considering hiring you, you'll likely be asked to provide the names and contact information of three or more professional references. To get good references, consider asking former co-workers and supervisors. If you don't have much work experience, ask a former teacher, professor, or mentor.

Asking someone to serve as a reference can be daunting; however, people often are flattered to be asked and happy to help. Reach out to potential references by phone, through email, or in person.

7. Diversify Your Job Search

Most job hunters seek new opportunities on job search websites. These include Indeed, Monster, and Glassdoor. While these sites can be a great place to begin your job search, they're not your only resource.

Diversify your job search by looking elsewhere. In Jobvite's 2019 survey, 35% of job-seekers found new roles through social media. Additionally, some reports estimate that 70-80% of open positions do not appear on traditional job search sites.

You can access this hidden job market by reaching out to your network, asking for referrals, and writing letters of interest to potential employers.

8. Narrow Potential Leads

Some job-seekers cast a wide net, applying for positions across many professions; however, a targeted job search can be more effective. Focusing on one industry or role can help you hone your job search strategy and strengthen the quality of your application materials.

When narrowing down leads, focus on your qualifications and the responsibilities you're looking for in your next position. Other factors to consider include benefits, corporate culture, and how far you're willing to commute.

9. Write a Targeted Cover Letter

Hiring managers often receive many applications for one role. They cannot read cover letters from every applicant. In fact, according to a 2017 Jobvite survey, only 26% of recruiters said cover letters played a critical role in their hiring decisions.

Nonetheless, hiring managers typically prefer that applicants submit cover letters. Your letter could be what sets you apart from other highly qualified candidates. To create a winning cover letter, describe your background and accomplishments clearly and succinctly. You should also incorporate keywords from the job description throughout.

10. Practice Interviewing

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average job applicant receives one interview request for every six applications submitted. It takes a lot of work to reach the interview stage. When you do get to that step, you want to be prepared to nail the interview.

Before your job interview, research the kinds of questions hiring managers typically ask applicants. By doing this, you can work on perfecting your answers beforehand and won't have to scramble to come up with responses on the spot. Then, conduct mock interviews with friends and family and ask for feedback on your performance.

Feature Image: thianchai sitthikongsak / Moment / Getty Images

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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