I have an acquaintance who’s been laid off for what I think is the third time in five years. There are a lot of suggestions I’d like to give him, but we’re not that close and I’m not comfortable speaking my mind. But here are the ideas I’m dying to give him, if I felt I could:
1. Get an objective perspective. Ask a headhunter or friend who works in Human Resources to review your resume and cover letter. Have them conduct a mock interview so you can practice your interviewing skills. And ask them what they perceive your strengths to be, and what they think you’d be good at – they may give an answer that surprises you.
2. Be honest about your marketability. Getting laid off three times in five years, and going long periods of time between jobs, may be an indication that you’re no longer suited for the area in which you’ve been working. Take a hard look at yourself and consider whether a career change would be a wise move.
3. Network like crazy. Let anyone who might be able to help know that you’re looking for a job (and are open to new types of work). When my friend’s husband was laid off a few months ago, he emailed all of his contacts in his field and had three interviews within a few days’ time.
4. Communicate with your spouse, and don’t use your frustration as an excuse to act badly toward your family. One of my friends has a husband who becomes exceedingly unpleasant when he’s unhappy at work, and the same can happen when you’re out of work too. But just because you can lash out toward those closest to you doesn’t mean you should. Instead, let them help you and support you through this difficult time.
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5. Take care of your health. It’s easy to let your health slide when it feels like there are more important things to tend to, like finding a job. But it’s more important than ever to exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep, so that you don’t get sick and unable to look for and start a new job. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s also a great time to volunteer and give to others. Research shows that volunteering boosts mental and physical health – and depending on where you volunteer, you may find new networking opportunities.
6. Maintain a positive attitude. When you’ve been laid off, it’s understandable that you might feel depressed. But it’s important to maintain a positive attitude, and to have confidence that this difficult time shall pass and that everything will eventually work out. Being thankful for what you do have – like health and family – can boost your happiness. And if you need some perspective on this issue, listen to this podcast from Michael Hyatt. He gives a specific example of a friend having difficulty finding a job, and explains how to maintain an empowered, positive attitude.