8 important things to do when you lose your job

Help, I’m a Business Analyst and I just lost my job. My company just closed and everyone working there was just told to go home. What should I do first to get a new job?

I’m sorry to hear that you lost your job. I have been in the same position more than once in my career and it’s a difficult place to be. I’m going to pay forward some great advice that I was given the first time I was laid off.

First, as funny as this may sound, try to enjoy your time being laid off. I know, that at least for me, this was very hard to do because of the financial, personal and professional pressure to get a new job. That said, this is a life event for you. It’s a decision point as to what you want to do next with your professional life. It’s time to ask yourself questions like the following: • Do I want to do the same type of work? • Are there specific companies in my geographical area where I always wanted to work? • If my financial and personal situation allows it, is it time to go back to school? • Can I use my current skills and experience to help me get a job better than the one I just lost?

In addition to asking these types of questions to help you define your career direction, you should also consider doing the following: 1. Update your resume. Please note that this doesn’t simply mean adding your most recent job to your old resume. Rebuild your resume from the bottom up based on the next job you would like to get. 2. Update your LinkedIn profile, making sure it’s consistent with your newly designed resume. 3. Do some research on the current trends, technologies, and best practices related to your specific expertise. When you’re heads down, working to complete your required tasks, it’s easy to lose track of the new products, new vendors, and general industry direction. The knowledge you will gain during your research will not only come in handy during future interviews, it will also help round you out as a professional. 4. Define a multi-faceted job search plan that includes:   a. Posting your resume on standard industry job boards, like Monster.com   b. Working with technical recruiters   c. Searching for and applying for jobs online   d. Networking online via LinkedIn discussion boards   e. Networking in person at professional association meetings 5. Redirect the informational emails you previously received at work, from IDC and other providers, to your personal email so you can keep in touch with industry trends while you are job hunting. 6. Become very active on LinkedIn Group discussions and leading discussion boards, such as www.SlashDot.com. There are three advantages of this tactic. First, you are publicly documenting your technical expertise. Second, you’ll be meeting people online that could be potential employers. Third, your involvement in these discussions will most likely enhance your skills, knowledge, and experience. 7. If possible, form a small support group with three to five other people also looking for jobs. This support group provides a place to compare strategies, review each other’s resumes, share job leads, and support each other emotionally. 8. Consider getting a professional certification within your technical expertise. For example, if you are a project manager, consider spending some of your non-job searching time studying for the PMP. If you would like to move toward IT management, consider getting an ITMLP. If you are a data communications specialist consider getting your CCNA.

If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom and @MgrMechanics or at www.ManagerMechanics.com.

Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to build your professional brand.

Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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