9 Action Steps To Take When You Lose Your Job

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Losing a job often comes with a flood of emotions. Depending on the situation, you might feel mad, disheartened, sad, anxious, frustrated, or a plethora of other emotions. Those feelings are completely valid, and it’s important to work through them in your own time. However, it’s likely that you’re going to need to start the job search process sooner or later. 

Here are nine action steps to guide you in the first few weeks after you lose your job.

1. Pray and reflect

Spend intentional time in prayer as you’re facing your next steps in your job transition. You might have some hard feelings you need to work through. Pray that God would grant you peace and grace as you navigate next steps. 

Also, take some time to reflect on what led to the termination. Was it because of layoffs at the organization? Or was it because of poor performance? Take time to reflect on what you could have done differently in hindsight. What were you great at in your job? What were your weaknesses? Take time to write these thoughts down as you think about the next job you’d like to pursue.  

2. Take a breather 

It’s easy to feel so overwhelmed that you become paralyzed with anxiety at the thought of looking for a new job, especially if you were in your previous role for a long time.

Take some time to take a breather. If you’re in ministry, you likely haven’t had “time off” in a while. Schedule a trip away or staycation for a few days where you can completely disconnect. Schedule intentional time to do activities that give you life and energy.

3. Put yourself on a schedule

When losing a job, it’s common to fall into a pattern of escapism and form unhealthy habits. It’s easy to want to sleep in, watch too much TV, and procrastinate on projects. Be intentional about putting yourself on a schedule. Make yourself get up at the same time every day. Be active. Eat healthy. Set regular chore reminders for yourself. Take advantage of the extra time you have by creating healthy habits and caring for yourself well in the interim.

4. Volunteer

It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself when you lose your job. However, if you take time to invest in others, especially those that are less off than you, you’ll quickly realize how much there is to be grateful for.

Volunteer at a homeless shelter, church, school, food pantry, crisis center, or hospital. There are countless opportunities to invest in others at a time where you’re trying to figure out what’s next.

5. Update your resume

Take some time to update your resume within a couple weeks of losing your job. Update your resume from your last position sooner rather than later so that your work is top of mind and you can articulate your role well. This will also enable you to have a resume ready to go as soon as someone asks for it.

6. Update your LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the best places to network during your job search. They’ve created an incredible platform and even make it easy to apply for jobs using your LinkedIn profile. Make sure your last role is on your LinkedIn profile, and change your “current title” to let people know you’re currently looking for your next opportunity.

I’ve heard many people push back on this thinking that they should keep “-present” on their LinkedIn until they find their next job. But I think it’s a missed opportunity to network with people who might be looking to hire people with your skills and background. Also, it’s simply not honest. If your time has ended at an organization, be honest about it and own your responsibility in the transition.

7. Send an email to your network

Compose an email to your closest friends, family, and previous coworkers that you trust to let your network know that you’re open to new opportunities. Attach your resume. Let them know what type of roles you’re looking for. Referrals are the best way to find your next job, and this is a powerful way to start conversations with folks who know you best.

8. Post on Facebook

Similar to the point above, if you feel comfortable, post on Facebook about the fact that you’re looking for a new job and what types of opportunities you’re looking for. Again, this is a way for you to network with folks who might be hiring. It requires being vulnerable, but it’s worth it if your next job comes from it.

9. Take personality assessments

If you haven’t already, take a personality assessment to help you learn more about yourself. You might consider the DiSC, Myers-Briggs, Insights, Leading From Your Strengths, or Birkman. There are many assessments out there, but take some time to reflect on how these tests can help you understand what jobs might be the best fit for your natural gifts. Check out our resource called The Church Leader's Guide To Personality Assessments

What are some ways to stay encouraged after losing a job?