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How to Make the Most of a Job Loss

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Whether you want to call it being let go, terminated, canned, sacked or flat out fired, losing your job rarely feels good. But instead of getting lost in emotions of frustration and depression, it’s a good idea to try to take control and spin this into a positive situation. It’s important to give yourself time to accept your situation as you prepare to move on.

1. Talk It Out

Allow others to help. Seek a friend, business associate, family member or even career coach to be your point person as you move from one phase to the next. They can be a mentor or just a sounding board, but should help you stay motivated.

2. Develop a Search Plan

It’s probably not a good idea to wait around for the next job offer to magically appear. Instead, be proactive, develop a plan and start searching. You may want to increase your networking online and in person while searching for jobs. It’s important to have realistic expectations about what the next job might be and what type of position will make you happy. This can be the chance to find a boss or company that better fits your needs and professional style.

3. Get Yourself Prepared

Beyond getting in touch with old employers or co-workers to help you on the search, it’s a good idea to get your paperwork prepared. Update your resume and portfolio, making yourself a more attractive potential employee. Write personalized cover letters and follow up with thank-you notes after interviews. It’s a good idea to also check in on your finances, check up on your insurance, think about adjusting your retirement payments and apply for government benefits if you qualify. You can create a budget for the time you are unemployed where you are really prioritizing your spending carefully.

Some employers do credit checks as part of the application process (they’ll always notify you before the do so), so take a look at your free annual credit reports to see if there are any negative marks you may need to be prepared to explain. You can also get a free credit report summary every month at Credit.com.

4. Stay Active

It can be a good idea to create a regular exercise plan during this time of unemployment. This can provide some structure in your day so you can get to those to-do and to-apply lists. Exercise is also a natural depression fighter and can get you out of the house and feeling accomplished. Eating healthy will further encourage a positive attitude and high energy level.

5. Explore Alternative Options

If you aren’t exactly excited about getting back into the work force, there are other options. You can look for part-time or consulting work and give yourself time to try some passion projects or focus on a hobby. This could also be a good opportunity to try something new — from traveling or launching a business to investing in further education or trying out a major career switch.

While an unexpected job loss can be devastating at first, there are ways to turn it around and get a fresh start you may not have even realized you wanted or needed.

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