Rebuild some structure into your life

One of the big challenges in being out of work is a loss of structure. Up until this point in your life, you’ve probably established a pretty strong routine that revolved around your job. You’d put in a full day at the office, head home, and after a fast meal it’s time for bed to get some rest before doing it all again the next day.

Suddenly, this structure is gone. It can be very unsettling and scary… but it can be awesome too. You can take control of your life again and that is a fantastic and frightening experience.

Where to Start

You may be lucky enough to e able to take a breather to clear your head and enjoy your life as you couldn’t while you were working.

This is a great time to reconnect with your family. Remember, you’re all in this together. If you can, discuss your fears and concerns, but let them know you have a plan to get back on track to rebuild your life in a way that is better than it was before.

Chart your Course

You know that structure, good planning & organization are keys to success. So, it makes sense to have a system that to organize your time and to keep track of your appointments and contacts. Certainly Microsoft ™ Outlook is an easy program to use and it is easily linked with your phone. The first thing to plan is getting yourself right both physically and mentally. This will put you in a better place to clearly define and see the path you want to take at this time of your life.

Identify your needs

This may take some time. The first question might be “what is it that I need?” Do you need to find a job that brings in the same income, or more, than your previous role? Do you want to find a job in the same field you just left? Do you want to start a whole new career?

Your ultimate decision may be as simple as getting on the same career track you were previously on. Nothing wrong with that. But, you don’t want to miss the opportunity of a lifetime… a second chance of sorts. Take some time to think of the possibilities.

In the end, you may want to get back into the career you were in for any number of reasons… you like it, it pays well, you need the medical benefits. But, you may, at the same time begin preparing yourself for that rediscovered passion you have deep inside you. The bottom line is that you have the opportunity to develop a new beginning for not only your professional life, but for your personal life too.

Learn who and what you need to know

Once you feel pretty comfortable that you know the direction you want to go in, it’s time to plan how you’re going to get there. The first part of any good job search is research. Learn everything you can about the industry and the key players impacting the market(s) you’re interested in.

LinkedIn™ is going to play a key role in how you land your next job. It will help you market yourself, build a network and it is a place where most recruiters look today to fill roles in their organization.

Start searching your LinkedIn connections and other networking groups to identify key people to expand your network. It’s not about interviewing or asking for a job. It’s about getting yourself out there, meeting new people and opening doors for future job opportunities. Set goals for yourself regarding the number of calls you’ll make and the number of key contacts you’ll reach out to. Having “metrics” will help you feel more productive even on those days when you feel like you didn’t get anywhere at all.

One of the keys to a successful career or job transition is patience. You can’t shortcut the process. But, if you put the time in up front, it will make things go a lot smoother as you get further along in the process.

Part 4 of this series is entitled: “Survive and thrive after a job loss when you’re 50+/- years old: Making it happen” will be published shortly.