Whether you're just looking for a better opportunity or are out of a job presently, remember "looking for a job is a full-time job".
If you've been let go from your last job, take some time to let the steam off – you need some cooling period (anything from a day to a week) to keep your sanity intact so you can think properly.  And if you can, spend some time doing the things that you never had a chance to do because finding a job normally doesn’t happen overnight but it will, and the less stressed out you are the better you’ll be at this – finding a job.

First, don't waste time thinking why me? This kind of emotion doesn’t make sense anymore because it’s happening all the time to almost all the people. According to recent research, the average job in the U.S. lasts two-and-a-half to three years. And there are hundreds of reasons for layoffs – downsizing, restructuring, outsourcing. And therefore losing a job or being unemployed is neither a stigma nor a reflection on you. 
Personally, a close friend of mine has got laid off more often than many others (he has an edge to him), but every time he lost a job, he found a better paying one. What helps him is that he saves for a rainy day and he always keeps on updating his skills.
If you have a job and thinking of moving on because you don’t like it there – consider updating your skills while in the job and prepare for your dream job instead of just trying to escape and land in a somewhat similar place again.

Even if it’s for personal reasons that you were let go - didn’t get along with your manager, or you feel you’ve been wronged, this is an opportunity for you to get rid of the job which makes you miserable and focus on something you’d look forward to every morning - something that’ll change the quality of your life. What happened to the dream job you had in mind long ago but never did anything about? Now’s the time.

As I mentioned, looking for a job is a full-time job and there’s a lot to do:

  • If you were let go, apply and avail of your Unemployment benefits
  • Home Mortgage – if you have a mortgage to pay, consult MHA (Making Home; they have programs designed to provide assistance to unemployed homeowners struggling to keep up with their payments. Check out these MHA and related programs
  • If you’re paying rent and can’t cover that, move in with a friend or parent temporarily. If you’ve had a good payment record and a good relationship with your house owner, he might work with you through this, but tell him beforehand. Also your state might have programs that work toward the objective of avoiding homelessness
  • Health Insurance – if you lose your health insurance because you lost your job and you cannot be covered by your spouse’s insurance either, COBRA can protect you temporarily but it is expensive. Individuals now have online “health insurance marketplaces” to find coverage, which, according to experts, tend to offer more affordable options. Each state lets individuals and small businesses sign up for health coverage and has its own name - e.g. MNsure is the name of Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace.
  • Reduce expenses – stop all non-essential buying if need be.


  • Make sure you set up interviews, appointments & alerts in your MS Outlook, Google calendar or whatever electronic program you use. In addition, start a notebook just for your job search and develop a process - list the online job boards you have to post resumes and apply online for jobs, keep track of the jobs you’ve applied, interviews you’re getting, interviews that have been scheduled, notes you took during the interview, when to follow up and so on
  • Polish or update your resume; proofread it and get it reviewed by someone and start posting it online on job boards. Create a LinkedIn profile and place a professional picture along with your profile, skills & achievements
  • Apply for Jobs – there are hundreds of online job boards and job listings, even specialized ones for particular professions such as Healthcare, Legal etc. Be focused on what you want and start with first applying to the jobs you’re more excited about and customize your resume for those Jobs
  • Don’t restrict yourself - if your need is urgent, be more flexible - when there are no ideal vacancies, apply for temp and contract jobs, wait tables, deliver pizzas or newspapers if you need to,  because this is not forever (and promise yourself this time when you get a job you’ll make time to learn new skills to get that dream job)
  • Check out the career opportunities on corporate websites where your skill sets are in demand
  • Prepare your elevator speech – in 20 seconds what your skills are and what you can do. Harvard education expert Tony Wagner says the world doesn’t care anymore what you know; all it cares “is what you can do with what you know.”
  • Take out your Rolodex or MS Outlook contacts list & call up your contacts who can help including friends, relatives, former colleagues & employers & let them know you’re in the market
  • Call recruiters you know or who have approached you in the past
  • Network hard - meet new people, renew old contacts – meet them fact-to-face
  • Attend Job Fairs
  • Acquire new skills – spend some time every day to learn a software at home which is in demand, most can be downloaded free and tried for 15 days free. Also as a claimant receiving unemployment benefits, you probably can now go to school or get job Training and still receive unemployment insurance benefits.

And for those frustrating days, because there will be, remember, as a sales guy I read somewhere said “in sales, we were taught to think of each "no" as getting closer to a yes. So if it takes 100 calls to get a sale, you don't think of each 'no' call as failure, you think of it as "one less no on my way to yes."