What Not to Do When You Lose Your Job

1. Don’t focus on your faults and shortcomings: Instead share your successes, small and large, with your network.

Successes not only remind you of all your strengths and the value you brought to your previous jobs, it also boosts your confidence, lets others know what skills and results you can bring to an organization, and prepares you with examples of your strengths during job interviews.

You never know when mentioning an accomplishment to an acquaintance may trigger an opportunity with your audience. Don’t be shy about personal successes either, like spending eight hours to build your kid’s swing set (dedicated, handy, tenacious, technical skill) or fixing a leaking bathroom faucet (do-it-yourselfer, problem-solver, hands-on person). These personal successes paint a picture of skills and personality traits that transfer to the career world and can land you that next job.

Make a list of your successes and be prepared to share them in conversations and interviews.

2. Don’t apply to job ads only.

In an ABC report, 80% of all job seekers obtain their jobs through networking and personal contacts.

With statistics of success this high for landing that next job, why focus the majority of your time applying for jobs through ads only? Instead, begin holding conversations with people to expand your network and make others aware you are in the job market. If you do see an advertisement for a job online at sites such as Monster, or in the newspaper, use LinkedIn to find a source in that company who can point you to the recruiter or hiring manager. This introduction will help move you to the front of the line instead of having your resume at the bottom of an endless pile of other applicants.

3. Don’t forget about your network.

Whether you are an active and skilled networker, or someone who is resistant to networking- we all have a network of friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances who are happy to help you increase your network.

Make a list of contacts in a variety of industries to let them know you are looking for a new career opportunity. Be prepared to share your strengths and success (see previous point) and also interview them about their network, professional membership organizations, and key contacts to learn how this may help you. Finally, find out how you can pay their favor forward. Do they need a contact in your network or some advice from you? This establishes you as a generous and reciprocal source for them as well.

4. Don’t take it personal.

Even good people are casualties of downsizing and understand that companies are constantly changing operations to be more efficient. Companies have to make tough decisions at times to let good people go. The loyalty of companies to their employees such as what our grandparents experienced is rare in today’s business world.

Know that any of us can be a casualty of a lean operation business decision and in most cases it is not personal.

5. Don’t bad-mouth your former employer at any cost.

Regardless of the reason you are no longer working for a company, by focusing on the positive aspects of your previous employer or of your previous job you will come across as someone who is resilient and professional.

Your goal should be to represent the very best of you to others and no one wants to refer a negative, bitter or disgruntled person to others in their network. Additionally, you never know when your previous employer may have jobs re-open and could call you back.

The industry you work in is probably one in which people switch companies and you never know when someone from your old company has moved to another firm and may be in a position to either hire you or pass on you as a candidate. The old adage of not burning any bridges is surprisingly true no matter how many years tend to go by.

Show others you can move on with a positive attitude and willingness to be open to change.

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