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Pounding the Pavement… Again

Losing a job is a life changing event, whether by a lay-off, firing, a business deal gone south, illness, personal issues, or for any other reason. It is like coping with a death of sorts. It is death of your daily routine, of your steady paycheck, your benefits, your sense of self, and your sense of security. It is important that you hold on to who you are and most important that you keep your sense of humor. You have probably heard sayings that substantiate that you are not your job. Why that is true, your job plays a major role in your life. You spend most of your time there; you build relationships, and are part of a team. It is essential to balance work/life. In all honesty, we do tend to, at least partly, define ourselves by what we do for a living. So, how do you cope with the loss? Speaking from personal experience, there is no clear path paved for those of us struggling to find another “real” job. These steps have helped me.

  1. Mourn the loss for a day and then snap out of it! Curse out the jerk who fired you, the company who laid you off, etc. Just make sure you do it in the privacy of your own home. Get it out of your system and get over it.  It’s okay to scream and cry just don’t let it consume you. Some situations are worse than others and may take more than 24 hours to get over. It’s best not to hold a grudge and just move on.
  2. If you are eligible for unemployment go to EDD and sign up for benefits ASAP.
  3. Let friends know you are looking for a job. This is hard for some people because loosing a job is a very personal thing. Even if it’s not your fault, you may feel like a failure and embarrassed. But your friends and family do understand and will step up and help where they can. Whether it be connecting you to a friend of a friend who is looking for an employee, connecting you to a recruiter or just lending you a shoulder to lean on.
  4. Set up a 5-day “find work week,” daily schedule for yourself and follow it:
    • get out of bed
    • make your bed
    • have your morning coffee and breakfast
    • keep up with current events: check news online, read paper, or watch your favorite morning news program
    • job search
    • take part in some form of Exercise: Go to the gym, go for a run, a walk, swim, yoga, etc.
    • shower (imperative you don’t forget this!)
    • job search
    • eat lunch
    • take a short break, get some fresh air, or work on a personal project
    • check job leads
    • take your night off: dinner, watch TV/movie, read a book, make time for friends and/or family
    • go to bed
    • repeat next day
  5. Take your weekends off!
  6. When job searching, treat it like a part-time job. Take 2-4 hours per day to view job boards, job opportunities, and research companies that interest you. If you have a recruiter check their leads. Make sure you follow-up with recruiters.
  7. If applicable, create an online resume to showcase your work as well as your experience.
  8. Tailor your résumé and cover letter per job opportunity.
  9. Do your research to prepare for the interview:
    • review the company website
    • rearch the company online for any current articles
    • review companies on Glassdoor.com to gain insight on the company, the salaries, and read reviews from past employees, current employees and people who interviewed there
    • print out copies of your résumé to bring with you
    • review your résumé and make sure you can recall projects, dates, people you’ve worked with and be able to talk beyond what is on your résumé
    • research typical interview questions so you are ready
  10. Dress appropriately to your interview. What might be right for a hip, digital creative agency is not necessarily right for a financial institution.
  11. Be ready. Read through and understand the job description. If it’s not clear, ask the hiring manager or recruiter.
  12. Make sure you know who and how many are interviewing you. Nothing is worse than showing up to an interview and being blindsided when you find out it is a multi-person interview with people you weren’t ready to meet.
  13. Bring hard copies of your résumé for each person you will talk with.
  14. In the interview, lean in when asked a question, take your time answering (not too much time), speak clearly and slowly (Hard one for me as I speak very fast in general), and give concise but thorough answers.
  15. At the end of your portion of the interview, have questions ready for the interviewer.
    • What are they looking for in a candidate?
    • When are they looking to hire?
    • How many other candidates are there?
    • What has their experience been at the company?
    • Do not ask about salary, unless they ask you. I find it’s always best to say it’s negotiable if they ask you before you meet to discuss the opportunity. Once you get a better feel for the role and decide if there is a mutual interest, talk salary. It’s best to wait for them to open the dialogue.
  16. Send a thank you note. It’s okay to send an email thank you. You can also send a more formal personal written thank you if you prefer. However, in this job market, you want to thank them as soon as possible so you are fresh in their mind.
  17. Don’t beat yourself up if they reject you. It’s so easy to doubt yourself. It’s not uncommon to feel discouraged, want to give up and question your abilities. Try your best not to let those feelings cloud your mind. The job was not the right fit.
  18. Keep your chin up and keep up your daily routine. You will find something! Stay focused, patient and optimistic.

Searching for a job is tedious and tiring. Rejection is common so put your thick skin on and prepare yourself. It can bring you down; make you feel worthless, or worse, helpless. Know your worth. Know what you are willing to do and not willing to do for a paycheck. I’ve heard of a number of companies hiring junior people at lower salaries. What they make up for in saving money they may lose out in experience and ability. A paycheck is a good thing but don’t cut yourself short because you become desperate to find a job. If you do not want to take less than what you know you are worth, keep looking. It is tough once you take a significant pay cut to build it back up to the level you have become accustomed. Sometimes having peace of mind and taking a small step backwards is a necessary evil. However, try not to move so far back that it will take you years to build your pay scale back up to where it once was.

Networking is a great tool when looking for work. Look for groups that support your industry in your area. There are events going on quite regularly. Some cost money, but some are free. Go to free networking events. Print out cheap business cards (you can make your own) and have them handy. The key is being confident and selling your skills and abilities. This is hard for a lot of women because so many of us doubt ourselves even if we are top in our chosen fields. You have nothing to lose, walk in guns blazing (not literally), kick any shyness out the window, and dive into the sea of potential working relationships head first. These events are also particularly social, but your goal is to make work connections. Also, while at the networking event keep alcohol consumption to the two-drink minimum. Do not be the one that everyone remembers for all the wrong reasons.

What about announcing you are looking for work on social networking sites? Recruiters and hiring managers do seek potential candidates on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. If your profile is public, keep it clean. Potential Recruiters may reject you if they see you in comprising situations. Everything you post on the web, whether it is your personal Blog, YouTube video, Pinterest post, Facebook status, etc., leaves a footprint on the web. You do not need to worry as much If your Facebook page is private  unless, on the off chance,  the interviewer asks to see your page. That does happen. So bear that in mind. If you would like to let friends know you are looking for work on Facebook, it is probably best to email friends in your industry or those who know people in your industry. Let them know your circumstances, and that you are looking for a job. Announcing you are looking for a job as a post is not the savviest approach for experienced professionals, but it is a way to get your name out there. So do what makes you feel most comfortable.

You can also take this time in-between jobs to build on a passion. When I left my business, I helped start this group with friends. It is not a moneymaker (yet), but it is so much fun, and I forgot how much I enjoy writing informational articles like this one. It is also turning into a fantastic resume builder. So minus the steady paycheck, it is a great distraction. It is allowing me to motivate people and share & broaden my experiences. If you are content with following a passion, go for it. It could lead to something both fulfilling and prosperous down the line.

One big lesson I’ve learned is that once you find a new job; do not assume your job is 100% stable. Anything can happen. Learn how to save for a rainy day. Per the balanced money formula by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Tyagi in their book:  All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan, 50% of your paycheck should be spent on needs, 20% devoted to your savings, and 30% on wants.

You will find another job! Take this time to do things you may not have had time to do when you were working 40 plus hours a week. Watch your spending, let go of any anger, do not let your emotions get the best of you, remember patience is a virtue, be optimistic that things will improve, and most importantly be good to yourself.


In reply to Ruthless Revenue (@RuthlessRevenue).Thank you! That’s very kind of you to write. I have a couple book ideas. I enjoy writing and sharing experiences. Especially if what I know or have learned can help someone else. 🙂 I also have another blog: http://lipstickshoesmenand.com
Thanks again!!

Ruthless Revenue (@RuthlessRevenue)
Great post, Gina. These days, the act of looking for a job is practically a job all by itself. I bet you could easily turn this post into a book or something and make a lot of money. You really know your stuff. Respect.

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