If you’ve just been laid off or fired you may be wondering what to do next. There’s no doubt that this can be a trying time personally and financially. If you’ve recently lost your job, here are a few steps to take to turn the situation into a positive.
- Stabilize your finances
If you are eligible, collect unemployment. You may not think you need it right away, but it’s best to be prepared. Even if you plan to search for new employment right away, interviewing and applying takes time, and unemployment funds can help afford you the time to make the right decision about your future.
Think about creative ways to boost your finances, like credit card points, gift cards balances, and more. While one of these solutions alone won’t erase the situation, every little bit helps to make you more financially independent and stable. Cut back on extra expenses until you get back on your feet.
Don’t dip into your retirement savings if you can avoid it. Especially if you’re far from retirement age, it might be tempting to use that pile of money you’ve accumulated. Your retirement account is an investment in your future, and often, fees and penalties for early withdrawal aren’t worth the short-term help.
- Build a portfolio
Updating your resume is a no-brainer, but in many industries, portfolios are just as important. If you can show your work, rather than just tell an interviewer about it, you have a much better chance of getting your foot in the door.
Think about all the projects you’ve worked at your last job, and come up with ways to use these to build your portfolio. A fantastic way to showcase your professional accomplishments is building a personal website. These are a cost-effective solution to take your applications to the next level. You don’t have to be a web designer yourself to make something beautiful and functional.
Clean up your social media accounts and enhance them with testimonials and projects. Ask your peers for recommendations or endorsements on LinkedIn. While it can be awkward or clunky to ask, you will get value out of those recommendations as you look for your next step. People empathize with the job search hassle, and likely, they’ll be willing to lend you a hand with positive reviews of your work.
- Learn new things
If your skill set lends itself to contract work, freelancing, or part-time employment, use this situation as an opportunity to try something new. You can quickly turn a setback into an opportunity to pursue a side project and build up valuable portfolio work.
Maybe you have a passion for a sport or activity and want to teach part-time to help make ends meet. There are tons of ways to make money, so keep your options open. You don’t have to find something exactly like your old gig. There might be something better around the corner that helps you grow personally and professionally.
- Reflect on your life and career
It can be tempting to throw yourself back into something to an activity or job to stay busy. But for the first time in a long time, you have the free time to invest in yourself. Take it easy for a couple days or weeks to clear your head. Your future self will thank you for the refresh, so you can tackle your next opportunity head-on.
Money may be tight, take this opportunity to do something you’ve always wanted, even if it’s something small like trying a new coffee shop down the street. If you’ve been putting off getting in shape, taking a road trip, or learning a new skill, this is your time! Make a bucket list, and give yourself the freedom to get yourself into the right mindset.
- Take a leap
Use this as a time to take a chance. It might be the perfect opportunity to go back to school, move to a new city, or to pursue the career you’ve always wanted. While your life has already been shaken up, use the transition time to make other life changes you may have been too comfortable to make before.
- Try to stay positive
This new phase of your life may be unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Your confidence might have taken a hit. Remember everything you’ve accomplished in your career and everything you’ve learned. Undoubtedly, you’ve come a long way since you entered the workforce.
Find a way to spin the experience into a positive. If you’re having trouble seeing the good side of things, check out these lessons on being fired from successful people to see what they learned from the experience.