Today begins job-search tip#1. Check back here next week to read tip #2.
It’s tempting to take a break after you’ve lost your job to recharge your batteries—live off the severance package and UI benefits, go on the three-week vacation you promised the family, or take the summer off—but this is a huge mistake.
As an example I give you a former customer of mine, a talented hardware/software engineer who did exactly what I mentioned above. He lived comfortably off his severance and UI benefits until he realized he had to get his butt in gear and look for work.
This was a year after being laid off from a job he’d held for more than 22 years. Fortunately he was able to land a job, but he lamented that he wished he’d started the process immediately after losing his job.
What are some of the pitfalls of taking too much time off before starting the job search?
1. There’ll be a learning curve. If you haven’t had to conduct a job search in many years—some people haven’t had to look for work for 10, 20, 30 years or more—you’ll soon realize the job search has changed dramatically.
My client who put off his job search didn’t realize the way resumes are written today has changed, had never used LinkedIn, and was unprepared for interview styles. He felt like a babe in the woods. But we worked on his confidence and things turned out all right.
2. Your employment gap is going to stand out on your résumé. Some companies won’t consider people who’ve been out of work for over a year, let alone three months. Unfair? Yes, but true.
The long-term unemployed (LTU), unemployed six months and longer, have a more difficult time of finding a job, regardless of their occupation. You must avoid this, if you can.
3. Your skills start to diminish, particularly if you’re in a highly technical occupation where software and hardware change dramatically. A solution to this conundrum is to pursue training in applications like PaaS, SQL Server, PageMaker, or get your PMP certification which is often required for project management jobs.
Lack of job-related, or technical, skills is a huge complaint of employers who are trying to fill positions. Despite the large number of people unemployed, employers are screaming that their’s a skills gap. This enforces the need to stay on top of required skills.
It’s understandable that you’ll need time to get over the trauma of losing your job and to develop a strategy to penetrate the job market, so some time of reflection—not to be confused with self-pity—is healthy.
Give yourself a week, at most, to get over the shock of losing your job and then put your best effort in beginning your job search. It will be hard at first but eventually you’ll generate momentum and see the job search for what it is, a challenge.
Check back next week for Tip #2!
Photo: Flickr, vamsi