Being unemployed does not defy who you are. You just need to work a bit harder and soon you will be employed and ready to fully enjoy life again. The advice here will help you reach that goal faster.


In the past, it was estimated that three out of four people lost a job at least once in their career. In the future, this is certain to be a more common experience. What's more, the higher you will go, the greater the risk. Here's some basic advice on how to handle the experience if it happens to you.

This checklist is a reminder list to help you organize and get into action.

  • Broaden your appeal by listing your experience according to the following: ⋅⋅ (a) business functions ⋅⋅ (b) your skills and duties, and (c) your achievements.
  • Inventory your areas of knowledge and interests.
  • Since the opportunity you represent can be marketable, list the problems you can help an employer solve.
  • Remember that your personality, enthusiasm and character may also be marketable.
  • Start searching out career and industry options.

Job Hunting Methods

  • Review this material so that you are set on all of your job search strategies .
  • Develop your plan and SOAR stories.
  • Prepare answers for possible objections and answers for likely questions.
  • Develop your 30-second or 60-second telephone commercial.
  • Finalize Your Resumes and Letters
  • Finalize your action plan for getting interviews and prepare your references.

Your Targets

  • Prepare your priority list of prospects.
  • Begin your daily search for spot opportunities.
  • Develop a broad list of your potential networking contacts. Be willing to go back to people from years ago or even to remote possibilities.
  • Order your stationery and print your resume(s).
  • Make arrangements for office space, word processing, and any other office or phone answering support you might require.
  • Keep careful records of all job search expenses. Current tax laws allow job hunting expenses such as deductions in all situations other than extreme career changes.
  • Launch your mailing to recruiters.
  • Start networking personal acquaintances when you are sure your goals and materials are unlikely to change.
  • Network influentials and those related to industries you would consider.
  • Read the local and national business press daily for spot opportunities, and act on them as soon as possible. Access McKenzie Scott for Business Journals, Trade Magazines, Newspapers and other source materials.
  • Launch your custom marketing campaign to your best prospects on your priority list. Remember to do your telephone follow-up.
  • Answer ads using upgrading, downgrading and sidegrad-ing techniques to increase your possibilities.
  • Add to your priority list as you learn of new organizations of interest. Adjust your plan and recycle your activity on the same action steps.
  • Be resourceful, persistent, keep your attitude positive and work every day.

Virtually everyone who becomes unemployed becomes reemployed. However, some do it quickly and successfully while others struggle, give up on themselves and settle for poor positions. Today, unemployment is looked at from a far different perspective than in years past. For the most part, someone who becomes unemployed is viewed as a victim of economics beyond anyone's control.

Nevertheless, for those who lose their jobs, there can be a feeling of shock, disbelief and even fear. It can mean the loss of many symbols of security that we often take for granted. When we have a job, we have a place to go, an opportunity to achieve, tasks to Þll our work day and people to work with, including close friends.

Even in those cases where people resign, their initial feelings of self-conÞdence can quickly give way to concern and doubt if they don't land a suitable new job quickly. Obviously, loss of income can also cause great apprehension.

Other people may not admit it and may be quick to claim they quit all their previous positions, but it is likely that many executives who will interview you will have shared the same experience at some stage in their career. In fact, it is a rare individual who can succeed in moving ahead without being fired at least once during his career.

Being fired, or asked to leave, doesn't mean failure in the eyes of everyone else, even though you may feel tremendously depressed. Don't let it give you a complex, and even more important, don't feel sorry for yourself.

Being unemployed does mean that you'll be carrying a handicap. Regardless of the circumstances, the great majority of firms prefer candidates who are presently employed.

Key Steps You Should Consider Taking

Your ability to bounce back will be a true test of your basic strength. Don't let your pride stand in the way of accepting a weekly unemployment check. Almost everyone who loses a job ends up being unemployed for much longer than expected. If you do find yourself in a position of having suddenly lost your job, you might consider the following:

(1) Don't Vacation for Too Long and Get Access to a Phone

Unless you are an executive with a generous severance package, you should start on your campaign as soon as possible. It helps to have a base of operations at an office. You might be able to use the number of a friend who can have his secretary take messages for you, or list a phone number (separate from your home phone) under your own consulting service. At the very least, establish a work station in your home, and let everyone know it is to be treated as your ofÞce.

(2) Get Yourself a Mentor

You will need someone who is a source of encouragement and who can be a good sounding board. It can be a relative, friend or associate whom you respect. Share your progress with that person and maintain communication throughout the campaign.

(3) Ask for Support from Your Employer

In addition to outplacement assistance, they might even provide ofÞce space, secretarial help and the use of a phone. Get total agreement on the reason for your separation. If there were negatives involved, work out an explanation which puts you in the best possible light. Look for clarification that the termination was due to factors beyond anyone's control, such as a cutback, merger or reorganization.

Get agreement that you had been a valuable contributor, and where it applies, that the Þnal separation was arrived at jointly. Explain that you did not want to look for a job or take a lesser position while drawing a paycheck.

One last point about relationships with your most recent employer. Don't make the mistake of implying threats or communicating negatively. If you are in a position to harm your employer, they will know about it without your saying so; and they'll be taking it into account in dealing with you.

(4) Invest in Yourself and Your Campaign

If you lose your job, start investing in your campaign right away. Review the chapter on outplacement and see if your past employer will pay for the cost. If the answer is no, you haven't lost anything.

You should also complete a financial plan which assumes that you may be unemployed for the next six months. In the course of planning, make sure you eliminate all unnecessary entertainment and household luxuries. However, allow sufficient funds to enable you to dress well, to get any professional help you need, and to actively pursue a first-class job search.

(5) Don't Appear Overanxious

Never beg for a position and never try to explain your present situation in print. Everyone likes to hire talent that is hard to find. Don't show up in advance of your scheduled interviews, and don't always be available at the first suggested time for further interviews.

(6) Be as Active as You Can

Many people who have not been active have found that the more time passed, the less capable they were -- psychologically and emotionally -- to go out and do what must be done to win their new jobs.

The best psychological boost you can get will come from having a schedule of full activity: breakfast meetings, business lunches, interviews, letter writing, phone calls, follow-ups and negotiations.

The way to do that is to get into action and give your job search top priority. This is no time to start Þxing up the house! Develop a discipline just as if you were going to work.

Here's a brief list of other common pitfalls to watch out for when you are unemployed.

  • Don't fail to accept introductions. Most people like to help their friends and it's foolish not to give them the opportunity.
  • Don't be unwilling to relocate. Sometimes it's better to go where the action is, and most people can adjust far better than they realize.
  • Don't feel sorry for yourself. You'll end up being the only one hurt by these emotions.
  • Be willing to consider a career or industry change. If your present occupation or industry is on the decline -- now is a good time to make your move.
  • Don't allow your health to slip. Attitude and physical fitness go hand in hand.