It’s inevitable: at some point in your life you will find yourself in a job search. Today, the average person changes jobs ten to fifteen times during their career. People are spending five years or less in every job, which means they are dedicating more time and energy to transition between career opportunities.
Whether you’ve selected to make a change on your own or whether you’ve been laid off or forced to make a move, the time you spend between jobs can be extremely valuable if you make the most of it. Here’s how:
Accept that you’re in transition and get your head in a good place. There are many reasons people change jobs. Maybe you’ve decided to move on to achieve higher pay, relocation to a new geographic area, career advancement, or to reduce job-related stress. Unfortunately, sometimes we are forced into a transition due to a layoff or reorganization, a merger/acquisition, our company has moved, or our job performance wasn’t strong enough. Whatever the reason, finding ourselves in a search can leave us feeling negative.
Take a deep breath, work it out, and get your head in a positive place. Emotional ups and downs are normal when it comes to job transition. It’s ok to be upset so let yourself work through that, but you will soon need to “let it go” and focus on using your time to move forward.
Do something. Staying busy will help you stay productive. Don’t sleep in. Get up and start that workout routine you’ve been meaning to tackle. Volunteer. Visit with friends you haven’t seen in a while. Read some of the books you’ve been stockpiling. You’ll be surprised by the energy you can create and being around others just might lead you to new job opportunities.
Figure yourself out. Now is a great time to reflect and to think about yourself and what you truly want. Take this time to think about who you are, the skills you have, and how you can leverage your knowledge, skills, and abilities in a new job opportunity.
Create your financial plan. Obviously you need to be careful with your finances during a transition, especially if you weren’t able to get some severance (if you were “let go”). The last thing you want to do during a transition is to take on any debt or to stress out unnecessarily about money. Get a realistic understanding of what you’re spending and determine what you can cut out for the time being. Perhaps there are expenses you can delay. No one can predict how long unemployment will last (if this is you), so create a realistic budget that will help you stretch your dollars as far as they can go.
Treat your job search like a job. Start your job search as soon as possible, beginning with a job search plan. Set aside specific hours each day to focus exclusively on your search. Set weekly activity goals on the number of applications you’ll submit or perhaps the networking activities you’ll complete. Work on your personal brand, starting with polishing up your LinkedIn profile. Create a daily job search routine and stick to it.
Grow your mind. Take advantage of the time you now have to learn something new. Take a class. Join an industry group. Attend seminars. Develop a new skill that you’re interested in. Dive into relevant industry news and sharpen your industry knowledge. You just might make new contacts along the way that could help you find your next career move.
Freelance or work on a contract basis. If you truly want to get back to work or you simply need to be making some money, consider freelance or contract/temporary work. Flexible jobs are extremely commonplace and not only will you earn money, stay busy, and keep your skills sharp, many people find their next full-time job through shorter-term “gigs.” Find a leading staffing firm to help you and get ready for the opportunities that could unfold.
Finally, take good care of yourself physically and mentally so you can put your best foot forward in your search. Ask for support when you need it, and remember... the best thing about transitions is that they are temporary. You will find another job. Make the most of the time you now have and soon you’ll find that your next opportunity is right around the corner.
Advanced Resources is an award-winning staffing firm for HR, technology, finance & accounting, healthcare, and operations professionals. See how we can help you take the next step in your next career. Visit our website to view open positions!