Job Loss Jitters: You Need a Career Emergency Plan
Searching for a new job can be a daunting task, and it’s only made worse if you don’t have the security of a current role to fall back on. Having a contingency plan for job loss can help you get back to work quickly if something unexpected happens.
Even if you’re secure in your current role, good practices like upskilling can only help you in your career. Why not learn how to optimize your customer service or leverage your business data? This guide will help you to be prepared for the next steps in your career, no matter your circumstances.
Why Do I Need a Career Emergency Plan?
No job is 100 percent safe. Even if you’re indispensable to your company, outside forces could stop that company from operating. If you’re self-employed, revenue streams can dry up unexpectedly.
The last couple of years demonstrated that everyone can be affected by circumstances outside of their control. That might have meant you started working remotely full time, your role changed or you had to find something new.
Having an emergency plan in place can help you cover periods of unemployment, and get back into a new role faster. When you have bills to pay or a family to think of, this safety net can provide peace of mind.
Budget for Unemployment
Unexpected unemployment comes with its own challenges. If you can’t secure a new job before leaving your current one, you need some way to bridge the gap between paychecks. Start with a budget. Work out what your current monthly spending looks like. Think about where you could cut costs if your monthly income suddenly fell. You’ll find that you have fixed costs: rent, bills, variable costs, food, entertainment and so on.
Your variable costs are the areas you can most easily cut down. Work out a minimum budget, then make sure you can meet that minimum even if you’re temporarily out of work. Look into what support is available in your local area, too.
Depending on your circumstances, there might be ways to reduce your fixed costs. If you’re a freelancer and rent office space, you could consider co-working and co-living spaces to save some cash. Moving might seem like a drastic step for budgeting, but the benefit of being a remote worker is that you can work from any adequately equipped space. Why limit yourself to one place if you can save money, see new places and build networks in these communities?
Prioritize Saving While You’re Still Working
Welfare systems are often unreliable. You might find that if you have fixed outgoings, this support alone won’t be enough to cover them. That’s one of the big reasons you should create a savings fund while working.
There are several viable savings options: savings accounts, ISAs, investment options and so on. This isn’t a financial advice column, but suffice it to say that there are efficient saving methods. Start saving sooner rather than later.
Keep Your Resume Up-to-Date
Whether you’re currently working or not, looking for new sources of revenue can be a continually rewarding process. Networking with future employers and colleagues can help you build bridges and grow an industry presence.
There’s an old saying that holds true in the employment market, “Opportunity doesn’t knock twice.” Even if you’re browsing and applying to new jobs every day, you can’t keep track of every opportunity.
Keep an up-to-date resume on job boards like Indeed or professional networking sites like LinkedIn. If you have the skills, you’ll find that employers and clients will come to you. These sites also offer discreet “open to work” tags. It can be intimidating — looking for work while employed might even feel “disloyal” — but you’re entitled to know your options, and worth.
If you’ve been out of the job market for some time, remember that preferred resume formats change regularly. If you’re unsure whether your resume matches expectations, you can always approach a professional CV writing service.
Job Search on Multiple Channels
Don’t limit yourself to a single job board, and spread your resume as widely as possible. Make sure you also build your social media networks. Creative industries like art and design rely just as much on social media networking as official job posts for new opportunities.
An effective strategy for targeting desirable roles is applying directly to a business. There are two main ways to do this, but start with research on the company first. If they’re a small business, then direct contact via email or networking can be effective.
If it’s a larger corporation, you’ll find they probably have their own application portal online. Both of these contact methods offer more opportunities to personalize your application than a standard resume submission through a job board.
Standing out from the crowd is essential when applying for higher-level roles. Finding a way to customize your application to the business itself, or forging personal connections through a network, are two great ways to achieve this.
Create Your Own Website
Creating your own website is especially useful for freelancers, but anyone with a portfolio to show off or a blog to share can use it. There are many options for website builders online, from free blog hosting sites to subscription-based professional platforms.
The important part is that you have somewhere to show off your skills with previous work or share your industry insights. You will also find some options that offer custom URLs and associated email addresses, which can help to give you a professional look.
Leverage Your Passion
A great way to generate extra income, whether in or out of work, is to find a way to monetize a hobby. Take a passion, and run with it. Sell your art, merchandise or whatever works for you.
With the website builders we mentioned, you can integrate this for more optimized revenue streams. Many of these website builders are modular. Sites like Wix and GoDaddy allow for integrating online stores as the ERP shopify uses.
If you’re operating a site like this alone, you might run into customer service problems as you scale up. Dealing with order requests on top of a full-time or freelance role can be too much for one person to handle.
In this case, you can make use of automation. Automated order systems and invoicing are easily accessible with the right software. Chatbot customer service can also be an excellent option for managing customer expectations.
Don’t Forget to Network
Life is all about making connections, and so is employment. The more people you know in your industry, the more opportunities you’ll hear about. This works even if you’re not actively pursuing those opportunities,
People will share job postings and opportunities with their network. Even if you’re not looking for a role right now, knowing what’s out there can help you. If you want to negotiate a raise, for example, knowing the average market rate for your role can go a long way.
Curate Your Social Presence
Hiring managers rarely look at resumes alone anymore. Having a personal website will help them make judgment calls on your abilities. However, personality and whether you fit the company culture will also be a factor for many.
For these calls, recruiters often turn to social media. Remember, we’re talking about the pre-interview phase here. This will be your first impression of a recruiter before you’ve ever met face-to-face.
Consider going through your social media history if you're applying for roles. Ask yourself, “Is this something I’d be happy with a recruiter seeing?” There’s nothing wrong with showing your personality, but make sure you’re showing your best side.
Take Care of Your Client Base
Keep your current clients in mind when looking for new ones. Retention is important if you want a secure income as a freelancer. If you prioritize clients based on impressing new contacts, you’ll lose more valuable long-term business.
Research client retention guide material for tips on keeping long-term clients engaged. Customer experience is important even in B2B scenarios. Ask yourself, are your clients getting prompt service and professional responses every time?
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can then augment this with an analysis of your business data.
Use Data-Driven Insights
Data analysis might seem like the realm of big business. Yet, with today’s accessible software options and cloud technology, even a lone freelancer can access data insights. This is only made easier if you have your website to extract data from. Sentiment analysis tools can help you understand how customers view their experience with you or your business.
These software-driven tools use AI assistance and MLOps components to extract sentiments from call transcripts, chat logs, etc. Knowing what your clients respond well to can help you tailor your communication to nurture relationships. As you grow your business, you’ll find there are more ways that software, automation and data insights can help you.
Always Be Prepared
Being prepared can only help you in the job market. Self-improvement will benefit you even if your job is stable, so don’t be afraid to upskill. Do it if you want to learn about diversity and inclusion software development challenges. It can’t hurt.
Remember, planning for unemployment isn’t planning for failure; it’s ensuring a positive future for you and your career.