Its Monday morning and you have just been delivered a message that weighs a 1000 tons. You have just been laid off and today is your last day of work. Emotions race through your brain. What happens tomorrow? How do I tell my significant other? What happens if I don’t find a job? When faced with this scenario, it can be very difficult to work through the emotions and not lose hope. So where do you go from here?

In the words of Winston Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Being laid off can – and is – a very emotional and stressful experience. Many times it is unexpected and catches us unprepared, making it hard to navigate through the emotions going through our head. However, we cannot let our emotions get the best of us. The first thing you should do after hearing the news is to tell yourself it is going to be ok. Remember, being laid off does not define you as a person and it does not make you less than anyone else. Hundreds of people are laid off every single day, and you have a choice on how you plan on handling it. Keeping your emotions in check is going to be one of the hardest things you will do during this time, as our brains have clever ways of focusing on the worst case scenarios in almost every situation. Making sure that you believe in yourself and how awesome you are is crucial to not losing hope during this time period.

Once the initial emotions have settled, it’s time to start planning for the weeks ahead. Focusing on the long term is key, as you mentally and emotionally need to prepare yourself for being unemployed for at least 2 months, if not longer. Yes, that’s right, 2 months. Though it may take less time than that – or more – you need to be prepared that you are not going to immediately find a job within the same week or two that you have been laid off. This is important, as your expectations need to align with the outcomes you are looking to achieve, and the process that needs to be followed in order to achieve them.

Once you have set your expectations, now the planning process begins. So where do you start?

  1. Resume: Your resume is one of the most important items in the job search. You need to make sure it is fully updated with things you have accomplished, not just tasks that you have done. Your resume should also reflect the position you are applying for. It is completely normal to have multiple resumes, each highlighting the experience most important for the position you are applying to.
  2. LinkedIn: Since most successful job seekers find their next role through networking, it is important to have your LinkedIn profile up to date. Make sure you are highlighting your experience in brief and not diving too deep. Also make sure you have a well written, but short bio about yourself and what you are looking for in your next role. And, of course, make sure you have a professional updated profile picture.
  3. Mapping Out your Network: As mentioned above, networking is the number one way individuals find new positions. Start compiling a list of individuals in your network you can contact. Remember, just because someone in your network might not be hiring, they might know other individuals in their network that are hiring and can pass your information along. Networking is a powerful tool when searching for your next role.

These items are important in setting up a successful career search, and a good way to get focused on the journey ahead. Keep in mind though, that these were just tasks to prepare you. Now comes the hardest part – putting in the time and effort every single day to focus on the long term goal of finding your next position. This will take grit and determination.

At this point, the tasks in front can seem daunting. Emotions can still be high and, though we have prepared and planned, we still have no new job to show for it. So what’s next?

In next week’s blog post, we will talk about how to strategically plan your job hunt and how to best maximize your time in finding your next career.

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