In my last article, I listed three ways to start recovering from a job loss by gearing up for a job gain. There are so many ways to get back on your feet both professionally and emotionally, so in this article I’m going to share three more ways to do just that.
The Revamping & Tailoring
While it may seem logical to quickly put together a resume and send it out immediately, take pause. Think about what you’ve done throughout your career and how to align that with your future. Do you want a similar job? Do you want to stay in the same industry? Are you open to completely new possibilities? Create a cover letter and resume that really speaks to what you want to do next, and showcases the skills you’ve attained that make you qualified to be there. In an ideal world, the perfect job for you shouldn’t require a tweak or two of your job duties. Nor should you feel like you’re completing a chore while writing a cover letter for it.
However, you may not find the “perfect” job or company, so you’ll need to constantly rework your cover letter and resume to fit the role you’re applying to. That’s why it’s helpful to have a clear idea of where you want to go next. For instance, let’s assume you’ve been a retail store manager for the past five years and want to continue on that path. Yes, you’ll still have to swap in or out a few details, but your cover letter and resume should have certain selling points about you that don’t change. Alternatively, if you’re interested in moving into roles that are different from previous posts you’ve held, but lend nicely to new positions (i.e. Sales Manager moving into a Marketing Role) or your skillset can be applied across any industry (being an Accountant, for example) than you will need to create a few versions of your cover letter and resume.
Stay ahead by identifying what you want ahead of time and tailor different versions from there. If you’re an accountant, what are the top two industries you’d like to work in? And if you’ve worked in sales but want to move into marketing, then what types of products or services are you interested in marketing? Honoring your true interests will save you from job hunting fatigue and set you up for a new role that also makes you happy.
Pay Attention to Industry Trade News and Current Events
We’ve all heard the term “knowledge is power” and it’s something to keep in mind while you search for a new job. Staying up-to-date on matters that impact the roles you seek or type of companies you’re applying to is crucial. For one thing, this is a great way to keep track of any new information about your company of interest, compare companies and get a sense of the industry’s trajectory overall.
Reading the trades could also lead you to learn about companies you’ve never even heard of, and thus, a new place to research job openings. Perhaps the most critical reason to stay in the loop is because you’ll be primed for an excellent application experience. Since you’ve been researching trends and listening to the news, you’ll have some great information to add to your cover letter. Having a strong cover letter will move you to the top of the candidate list and land you an interview.
Once the interview day comes, you’ll be ready to have a thoughtful conversation with the hiring manager and move closer to obtaining an offer. Show them that you’re interested and invested in the company, the space they exist in and your career. This may not sweep the inquiries around your last employer under the rug, but it won’t take center stage either.
Be Ready to Talk About Why You Were Let Go
Here’s the tough part. But it is only tough if you haven’t thought your responses through. The most important two things you can do at this point is to be honest and speak wisely. You typically don’t need an elevator pitch on hand if you’re coming from a place of truth, but you want to eliminate any potential for you to slip up and be too honest, or say something that puts you or your previous employer in a bad light.
First step would be to think about the questions they’ll ask you. The “Why were you fired” is the most obvious, but they may also ask “What did you learn from that experience” or “What do you think you could have done differently”. Also, be prepared for the follow-up questions to those that may try to dig deeper into who you are as a prospective employee and a person.
For instance, let’s say the reason your old boss gave you the pink slip was because you kept completing your work late. “Is time management something difficult for you achieve?” Find the truths in all of these questions, own it (maybe you do struggle with managing your time), then figure out a response that’s honest, yet positive. Control the tone of the conversation; take ownership of your past but keep the dialogue focused on your future. Discuss how much you’ve grown from the experience and that you’re a better person for it.