How to cope after losing your job due to COVID-19
I’ll be the first to admit it: my new years’ resolutions did not include “shelter in place” – you know, no more than a shameless homebody would resolve to stay home anyway. I’m lucky though. The President of Synergis has committed to maintaining and supporting our internal staff and those who work for Synergis, so unlike thousands of others worried about their jobs and incomes across the nation, I can rest easy at night knowing my work is waiting downstairs for me in the morning.
If you’re one of that number whose position has been affected during this global crisis, let me first say this: that sucks. I’m so sorry. And I want to help.
As a recruiter, I’ve seen a lot of this before. Layoffs, furloughs, downsizing, budget cuts, smoothing – whatever you want to call it. And I’ve worked with countless candidates who are facing what you’re facing right now. In a sea of noise and troubled times, here’s what I can offer to help you keep afloat:
1. Don’t freak out
It’s a scary thing to hear that you’ve lost your income, so give yourself time to process it and mourn that loss. But, most importantly, pick yourself up again after a day or two. Start by getting the practical stuff in order, like filing for unemployment, enrolling in COBRA benefits, rolling over your 401k, etc.
2. Get it together (professionally)
The first step on the road to your next opportunity is to update your job search materials. Dust off the old resume file, reset your LinkedIn password, and get to work! If you’re a creative, start adding more recent samples to your portfolio. Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile reflect the same positions and dates and have similar content. Post your resume to Indeed and CareerBuilder. Start reaching out (virtually, of course) to your network, your recruiter connections, former colleagues, and meetup groups to put your name out in the market.
3. Make some magic
I use this phrase a lot, professionally speaking. Whenever I say it, I usually mean, “I’m going to will good things to happen by grinding through as much activity as it takes for the wheels to start turning on their own.” And honestly, that’s what a successful job search takes. Your job hunt is now your job. Keep setting the coffee pot for 7 am, keep yoga on the calendar for your lunch break, and start to use your 30-40 professional hours each week to create job-hunt-focused activity. Try setting goals for yourself like, how many jobs you want to apply to each day, how many new connections you want to add on LinkedIn, what steps you can take toward additional education, etc.
Take advantage of your resources
There are a lot of people, tools and companies offering time and resources to help those affected by current circumstances. For example:
- Recruiters like me? Well, our services are usually free for candidates anyway! And any recruiter worth their salt will help you with resume edits, portfolio review, and of course, connect you with any and all open opportunities we can. We have project management jobs, UX design jobs, software engineer jobs, marketing manager jobs and loads of other jobs!
- LinkedIn has made several online learning courses free to the public and has given authorization to many of its employees to offer free 6-month subscriptions to LinkedIn Premium.
- Udacity is offering 1 free month of access to its online courses.
- Amazon is offering two free months of access to Kindle Unlimited, which includes a ton of business and professional development titles.
Positivity is your BFF
Most importantly, keep the negative thoughts in check. This is scary now, but it won’t be your situation forever. If you feel yourself getting frustrated, get up and take a break to stretch. Make some hot tea. Take your laptop outside for a bit. And if you’re stuck, ask for help. Former colleagues, others who were affected in your company, your favorite recruiter – ask for opinions, advice, ideas, whatever you need to keep moving forward with your job search.
If you think you would benefit from more information or tips on any topic listed above (resume edits, portfolio review, professional book recommendations), want some market tips on what companies are currently hiring, or advice on how to keep your search moving, just reach out to me or one of my amazing recruiting colleagues at Synergis.
We’re here for you. And we want to help.
About the author
Karissa Buckner serves as Sr. Creative Recruiter for Synergis. She has five years of experience in recruiting and has been leading the Creative Recruiting Team for three years. As the company’s democratically-appointed UX Queen, she focuses on working with all types of UX, UI, VUI, and Research candidates, and networks in the UX community every chance she gets. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia.