How To Start Over After Losing Your Job

Date posted: Oct. 14, 2016
How To Start Over After Losing Your Job

Photo Credit: Kate Williams


Most Canadians will experience job loss at some point in their lives – yet it can still hit you like a ton of bricks if you are unprepared. Often you’ll be filled with feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, even anger, and frustration. But job loss doesn’t have to be something that keeps you up at night. If you have lost your job recently, here’s how to pick yourself up and move forward with confidence.

Take Stock of Your Finances

The first thing you need to do when you’ve lost your job is to figure out how to make ends meet while you look for a new source of full-time income.

Look at your budget and start cutting unnecessary expenses. Figure out the minimum amount of money you need per month to survive, and then compare that amount to your income sources. If you are going to claim employment insurance or if your company offered you a severance package, will that money be enough to make ends meet?

If not, you’ll need to dip into your emergency fund. You should have three to six months of expenses squirreled away in a savings account for situations like this. This money will be the bridge between your old job and your new job.

Find the Why

Why were you laid off or fired?

This is a hard question to answer because it requires you to be vulnerable and reflect on what led to this painful situation. But as awkward as it is, you need to figure out why you weren’t successful in your job.

If you were fired due to poor performance, what were the reasons behind this? If your job wasn’t a good match for you, perhaps you should consider a different position in a different industry that is more suited to your strengths.

On a similar note, if you were laid off from your job, you need to take a hard look at why.

Is your industry in a downturn or going through a fundamental shift?

If so, should you consider making the change to a new industry or a new profession that is more in demand?

Asking these questions will ensure you move forward in a positive way and find the job that is right for you.

Reach Out to Your Network

After you decide what type of position you are going to look for, it’s time to start reaching out to your industry contacts and begin networking. Remember, most jobs aren’t advertised, so it’s not enough to start searching job boards. Schedule informational interviews with contacts in the positions you are interested in, and begin attending networking events. Don’t be afraid to let people know you are searching for new opportunities.

Polish Your Resume and Interview Skills

Before you begin applying for jobs, you should polish up your resume and cover letter. Add your current position and – if it’s been a long time since your last job hunt – make sure your resume still conforms to industry norms.

If your resume is outdated, don’t seek advice from family and friends. You’ll be likely to receive information that is incorrect and outdated. Instead, turn to the internet to determine industry norms. A great place to start is the website Ask a Manager.

Be Patient

Job loss can be scary, and it’s often tempting to accept the first job offer you receive. But if you want to be successful, you should be patient and only accept an offer that excites you and that you can excel in for several years.

Fortunately, if you’ve got an emergency fund and employment insurance or a severance package to rely on, you will be able to take your time and find the job that is right for you.

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