You’ve just lost your job. What do you do next? Here are the first steps to take to get grounded while you prepare to hunt for a new position.
First get clear about your finances. What are your savings? Are your expenses in line with your family income? Do a budget and get creative about lowering your monthly expenses - right away.
According to AARP, job seekers over 50 are taking one to two months longer to land a new job than seekers under 50. Take a close look at your options for cutting expenses and keeping money coming while you look for a new job.
If you’re thinking about opting to take Social Security benefits at age 62 instead of 66, think twice, and speak with a financial advisor. In many cases opting for early Social Security will reduce your benefits as much as 25%. This decision will affect you 10, 20, even 30 years from now.
If you decide you need immediate money some options would be to consider an interim part-time, contract, or temporary ‘bridge’ job to keep your financial ship afloat while you search for a great new job.
There are now employment agencies that specialize in supplying older workers. Also, some national retail chains have taken the lead in creating part-time/flexible jobs with benefits including health insurance, tuition reimbursement and the ability to move to stores in other parts of the country. These jobs, for landscapers, plumbers, electricians, designers, etc. at Home Depot, or as book sellers for Borders will particularly appeal to Boomers, who want to support themselves as they retrain for a new career.
Job search is more of a marathon than a sprint, requiring the effective searcher to stay self-motivated and in action over the long haul. Obstacles and set-backs are inevitable, and you’ll need to bounce back. Surround yourself with positive encouraging people and arrange structures that will help you maintain momentum.
Consider working with an accountability partner. Someone you meet with regularly, in person or on the phone and who also wants to accomplish something, not necessarily another job searcher. Choose someone who is willing to lend an ear to your triumphs and frustrations, who will help you problem solve, and who will witness your commitment to your daily and weekly actions toward your new job.
Or consider getting group support. Banding with others is highly effective for many people. People always have more ideas for others than for themselves (because they don’t have to deal with your inner self-doubt) and support groups can generate tremendous motivating energy. You can find a national directory of job search support groups here on Job-Hunt.org.
Or hire a career coach, or other career professional whose skills will help you see broader possibilities, clarify your direction and tap into your strengths. A professional career advisor can help you speed the transition process by educating you about the most effective job search strategies while giving you objective feedback on how you are conducting your search.
Job-Hunt has additional resources on the topic of layoff preparation and recovery.
Taking the time now to get financial clarity and to gather support will really pay off as you launch and navigate your job search. You’ll have the stamina and resolve to not settle for just any job but to stay on course until you find and land the job you’ll love.
Phyllis Mufson is a career / business consultant and a certified life coach with over 25 years of experience. She has helped hundreds of clients successfully navigate career transitions. You can learn more about Phyllis and her practice at PhyllisMufson and follow Phyllis on Twitter @PhyllisMufson.