The worst has happened: you’ve lost your job. You’re upset, confused, scared, angry, and everything in-between. Maybe you saw it coming, or perhaps it snuck up on you. Whether you’ve been working there for five years or five months, losing your job can be heartbreaking. But the ground did not crack open and swallow you up. Fire did not rain upon the Earth. The sun did not shatter in the sky. Losing your job is awful, but it’s not the end of the world.
Here are the first five steps you should take after losing your job to make your recovery as smooth as possible:
1. Process what happened.
No matter what the situation was, a job loss is still a loss. Take a day or two to focus on you and what you need to feel better. Eat some ice cream. Go for a run. Binge-watch all the TV you missed while you were working. And, perhaps most importantly, tell your friends and family what happened. It can be incredibly awkward, yes. But it would be more awkward to have to correct them later. Telling your friends and family allows them to be there for you when you need it most.
2. Plan your next moves.
Now is the time to get your thinking hat on. You need to sit down and come up with a budget and plan moving forward. If you have enough savings, budget how long they will last you, where you can cut back, and so on. Depending on your situation, you may need to file for federal unemployment benefits or other government assistance programs. Finally, make a step-by-step plan for getting back into the job market. You’re here, reading this article, so you must be thinking about what comes next—good job!
3. Reflect on your old job.
Before you can put yourself back into the world of job applications, you will want to think about what you’ve learned from the job you just lost. No matter the cause of your unemployment, you can still learn from the experience. Think about your performance—how would you like to do things differently? Also, think about the job itself—what did you like about it? What do you wish you could have changed? Reflecting will help you tailor your new job search.
4. Brush up your resume.
Chances are, you haven’t looked at your resume in a hot minute. Now is the time to pull it out and blow the dust off of it. See if there is any room for improvement. At the very least, you need to add your old job to it. It’s also likely you’ve gained new skills or qualifications you might want to add. Always double-check your contact information, as well; there’s nothing worse than submitting your resume only to realize you’ve changed your phone number and don’t have access to that e-mail anymore.
5. Put yourself out there again—start applying for a new job.
The time has come to take the plunge. Despite everything you’ve been through over the past couple of days/weeks/months, you are now ready to apply for a new job. Make sure to tailor your job search to what you need, considering any new preferences you gained after your last position. Be diligent! Check in on your applications often. Finally, be confident. You are amazing. You’ve got this.