Continuing Your Career

Losing your job is a traumatic event. Your life is completely turned upside down in a very short amount of time. And often it comes as a great surprise to you. It’s not often that your employer will give you notice that you will no longer be employed. And when it happens, a lot of emotions will be going through you.

What you know has been ripped away from you and has left a big empty hole of uncertainty. Anger, resentment, fear and confusion are experienced by everyone to some degree.

And the best defense against these emotions is action. You will still have these emotions but when you do, knowing what your course of action is going to be will help you to focus your energy in the right place.

When I was first laid off, shock and confusion were the first things that I remember feeling. How could I be the one they let go? I consistently received the highest reviews. I was the only one who knew how to perform my job. And the general consensus of my peers and manager was that I would be one the last person to be let go.

But it happened anyway. And what gave me an edge was the fact that I had started making plans when I heard that my company would be laying of a large number of people. As unlikely as it seemed that I would be laid off, I knew it wouldn’t hurt to make some plans just in case.

While you may not have the opportunity to plan ahead, making plans before you start your new career search will help you out immensely. This was  part of the career training I received after I was laid off.


  • Set up a work area that you will do your job search activity.
  • Find a mentor that you can report your progress to. A mentor is just someone that you can talk to that will help keep you on track with your job search.
  • Set time dependent goals for yourself. As an example, you could set a goal of writing a resume template for yourself by next week. Or you could set a re-occurring goal of finding 5 potential businesses to apply to every week.
  • Decide on what method you will be using to keep track of off the details of your job search. Develop a worksheet yourself or use the ones on this website to keep track of the details of each company you interact with so you know what you’ve done and what still needs to be done.
  • Plan your finances. You will need to know how long you can survive on the money you have saved. Before the extreme downturn in the economy, financial advisers suggested having six months worth of income saved. With the new economy, people are often out of work for nine months or longer. Knowing your bottom line financial deadline will help you map out a time line.

Once you have your plan in place, don’t be afraid to adjust it as your situation changes. My plan was to take advantage of my unemployment and finish my Bachelors degree. This was all well and good until I realized there would be a large gap between when I would be able to start classes and the day I was laid off.

This meant my finances would be running out closer to my graduation date than I would have liked. So I did what was necessary and found odd jobs through networking in that interim time period to bring in some extra income. This allowed me an extra months worth of job search time once my degree was complete.

Once you have finished creating a plan of action you should take a good hard look at yourself and determine what you have done and what actions you will need to take to entice employers to hire you.

Assess your skills

  • Identify what skills you have and what additional skills would benefit your new employer. Find out what will really give you an edge compared to other people applying for the same job.
  • Clearly define the accomplishments and results you achieved in your previous job or jobs. These will be used in your resume. Nothing will impress a prospective employer more than reading about an incredibly difficult problem you solved or over the top results you achieved at your previous place of employment.

After you have done a self-assessment, your next step will be to focus on your resume.

Create your resume

  • Decide on the type of resume you will need to create.
  • Add the accomplishments and results you created when you were assessing your skills
  • Adjust your resume to be relevant to each job you apply for.

Once you have a general resume created that you can tailor to each potential job, you should begin your job search.

Job search

  • Define a strategy for your job search activities.
  • Do your research on the companies you have identified as good matches for your skills.
  • Refine your resume to meet each jobs requirements. Include keywords that are brought up in the job posting in your resume.
  • Prepare a one and a half minute introduction speech. This introduction speech should give some background on you and pique the interest of the person you are speaking to. This introduction speech can be used in an interview or anywhere that you have the opportunity to market your abilities.

At some point you will get an interview for a potential job. When you’ve reached this point, you don’t want to drop the ball by not being prepared.


  • Prepare questions to ask the interviewer. You have done your research on the company that you will be interviewing with, now you need to prepare questions for the interviewer based on your researcher. It’s always good to have a few questions prepared to show that you are really interested in the job and that you have an interest in the company itself.
  • Practice your active listening skills.
  • Once you’ve finished the interview, prepare thank you letters for each person you talked with and get them in the mail that day. You want the interviewers to be thinking of you in a positive light when they do decide to hire someone.

After I was laid off and finished my degree, I was blessed enough to receive a job offer with the second company I interviewed with. In today’s market, I’m not sure that would still be the case. Having a plan and sticking to it will help you manage the negative emotions that come with being unemployed and it will help you impress potential employers.

About the Author

Rick Biederer is the owner and operator of

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  1. […] Creating a plan for your change of jobs is essential. Having a predefined course of action will not only help introduce stability into the recent chaos you have been forced into but it will also give you more confidence in your decisions. Having a plan in place will help you to deal with everything from job interview to networking and will even assist with updating your skill sets to be more competitive. Create a plan or process for every action that you will to need to do during your job search. […]

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