I hate to sound like Donald Trump, but what happens if you get fired? or laid off? or downsized? Whatever term you use doesn’t matter. The thing is that come Monday, you have nowhere to go and you feel angry, guilty, puzzled, confused, and a hundred other feelings. You’re panicking because suddenly, it’s not business as usual. And your self-esteem is at a new low.

You’ll have to face the world and explain your status. Plus, you must face the economic facts of life because the money spigot has shut until a new job is secured. Unfortunately, your financial commitments remain unchanged from when you had a job. Panicking doesn’t help. On the contrary: you have to approach your new situation logically and find a solution—quickly. But where to start? Yes, you’ve heard about others who lost their jobs, but that was different somehow. Now it is you.

Start with a self-assessment

As a practicing career coach, I developed a simple self-assessment tool for reentry into the job market.

The first thing to assess is your emotional strength. You’re not ready for a self-calibration or for making logical decisions if you’re distraught. If your mind is not strong and you’re not clearheaded, you cannot be logical.

Next, look at your most recent résumé, and update it. All of the people you’re going to talk with about possible jobs will need your résumé. This is a critical issue because the vast majority of people do not have their résumés done professionally. And upon separation from their companies, those lucky enough to have ex-employers who pay for the services of outplacement firms still get only limited assistance from those firms. Among other services, outplacement firms assist with the construction of résumés. Regrettably, though, the final result typically falls short of the quality of a résumé done by a professional, certified résumé writer. The outcome is that you think your résumé is good because after all, you received assistance from an outplacement service. But in reality the document is not producing the results you expected. In this case I know what I’m talking about, and my suggestion is that you engage a recommended résumé writer. If you cannot come up with several such writers for comparison shopping, I can send you a list of them if you request it by e-mailing me at

In addition to your résumé, you must have an equally solid LinkedIn profile. The same rule applies here: get it done professionally. Time is short, and your future career and financial well-being are at stake.

Sixty to 80% of people get their next jobs by networking

Are you good at networking? Have you developed your sphere of influence so that when in need, you can reach out for help? It is not too late to start today. Yes, I understand: you’re an introvert, or you had a full-time job and didn’t need to develop such relationships. But now you must.

Communication skills

From here on—and even after you start your new job—you’ll have to communicate with various parties verbally and in writing. If you’re not very good at that, I suggest you use a professional editor. I’ve been using the services of with confidence and great success.

You are called for a video or in-person interview

This must be scary for some despite that in the past they’ve landed jobs and so therefore they must be good. Well, think again. So much has changed in the workplace lately, including the level of intensity of the competition for that coveted job. I know this well because for the past 10 years I’ve been preparing people at all levels and from all industries for getting ready for job interviews conducted by all sorts of methods, including in person, of course, as well as by Skype or video conference.

Are you scared about negotiating the job offer?

People in transition feel traumatized. Then, finally, after an arduous and protracted period, an offer comes their way. They feel grateful to have received a lifeline and are in no mood to start negotiating and potentially jeopardizing the offer. Big mistake! This is the final step whereby those who know how to maneuver within the maze can make big bucks with little effort.

Good luck to you!