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Overcoming Extended Unemployment

Being let go is a huge disappointment. While being laid off often has nothing to do with your character, skills, or abilities, it’s still a huge ego hit — one that’s hard to overcome. 

Over the past ten years, We’ve helped plenty of folks regain their confidence, overcome unemployment, and land their dream roles. Keep reading to learn how to get into the right mindset and what next steps to take to score your next job.  

7 Tips to Bounce Back From Unemployment 

1. Take time off 

If you launch straight into the job search, you risk bringing your feelings and energy into interviews — and that doesn’t always yield great results. So give yourself a break. Take a couple of weeks off to recenter and regroup. 

2. Stay optimistic 

We know this is hard, really hard. We tend to spiral in our anxiety, ruminating on our mistakes and feeling like we’ll never find a new job. But staying positive is one of the most important gifts you can give yourself. 

Not every job will be a fit, but don’t let that get to you. Frame the job search as a learning experience. Give it your full attention knowing your skills will be an excellent fit for a company that really wants you. 

3. Reflect 

It’s rare that people impacted by a lay off loved their old job. In fact, after being away from that job, most people realize that it didn’t make them happy. 

Jot down what you did and didn’t like in your past role and turn that into a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves in a new role. This exercise will help you identify roles that could potentially be a fit and get you excited about what’s to come.  

4. Upgrade your skills 

Once you feel refreshed from your time off, objectively examine your resume. 

What’s missing? Are there certifications listed on the jobs you want that you don’t have? Can you work on side projects to add to your portfolio? 

Use this time to grow the skills you’re lacking. There are so many free online courses now that you should be able to find a few that will boost your resume and your confidence. 

5. Have a plan of action 

Waking up every day without a job to go to can be a slog. Make it easier to stay productive by creating a schedule and slotting in various tasks. Having a set agenda for each day helps you feel you’re working toward a concrete goal and you have the tangible results to prove it to yourself. 

Here are some examples of things to work on: 

A word of warning: you can overdo it. Submitting 50 applications a week is too many. Slow down and focus on quality over quantity. Track where you’ve applied and follow up where possible. And try not to operate from a place of fear — recruiters and hiring managers can smell desperation from a mile away. 

6. Be Honest With Recruiters and Interviewers 

When you’re interviewing, be upfront about the fact that you were laid off. Explain that you took some time off to make sure you weren’t drained before jumping into a new job. 

It’s ok to say you were burnt out and needed to spend time with your friends and family — you’re human. 

7. Ask for Feedback 

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback when you don’t move forward in the interview process. It may be uncomfortable,, but you could gain some invaluable insights that you would never know unless you asked. 

Maybe your narrative has some gaps, or you’re missing a necessary credential. Maybe you did well in the interview, but the company already had someone far along in the process or pulled in an internal candidate.  

Half the time, you won’t get any feedback. But when you do, it’s almost always helpful constructive criticism. And you never know; asking might leave a fantastic impression on the recruiter or hiring manager, and they’ll keep your resume on file. 

Focus on What You Can Control 

Layoffs are a company problem. But your reaction is a you problem. 

Giving yourself some grace, advancing your skills, working diligently every day, and requesting feedback where possible are key to maintaining a winning attitude. 

And if you want some extra help and encouragement, reach out to me or any other Planet Professional recruiter. We’ve helped hundreds of candidates take their power back after a layoff and excel in their next role. 

Photo Credit: Canva

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