What To Do After A Major Job Setback

When you lose your job, it can feel like the end of the world. Something that you relied on not only for a stable income but also for a sense of belonging has suddenly been ripped out from under you, and now you don’t know what to do. This is remarkably common. Our jobs feel like they’re part of us, and when they’re gone, we need to forge our own paths in life, but this can feel as though it’s been hoisted on us without our consent. When you suffer a major job setback, here are some of the things you need to do in order to get yourself back on track and back on the road to a fulfilling career once again.

Start looking for new work straight away

Gaps in your resume are going to look somewhat unattractive to employers. While it’s becoming easier to explain them away, it still doesn’t look great when there’s a period in your life during which you didn’t work and weren’t actively seeking employment. Besides, it’s a good idea to start looking for work immediately so that you’re not resting on your laurels and contemplating your situation for too long. Get onto online job boards, upload your resume, and start perusing the listings for jobs you could do. You’d be surprised how quickly throwing yourself into the job search can help you to come to terms with the job you’ve just lost.

Make sure you have enough money

It’s not easy to keep your coffers full during a period of unemployment, but it’s one of the most important things you can do, so try to make sure you have enough to live on. In order to do this, you could seek out part-time work while you look for something more permanent. Alternatively, you could petition your friends and family to see if they’re willing to help you with money. It might also be a good idea to search for some online personal loans if you’re struggling in the short term and need some cash to see you through a week or two. However you do it, just try to make sure that you’re not facing financial adversity as well as career displacement.

Create a budget and make cuts

If you haven’t already got a strict financial budget, now might be the time to sit down and make one. To do so, examine your spending in close detail. Take into account everything that’s leaving your bank account on a regular basis, and everything that might still be coming in. Once you’ve done this, look for opportunities to make cuts and scale back your spending a little. Try walking instead of taking public transport, and swap costly name brands for supermarket alternatives. While this may take some adjustment, the financial benefits are immense, and you can even carry over these changes when you do land a new position.

Work on your resume and interview technique

While you’re waiting for job applications to yield fruit, the best thing you can do is to work on your resume to make sure it accurately reflects who you are and what your personal skills are. Keep it short and concise; no employer wants to hear about your time at school unless it’s directly relevant to the position to which you’re applying. Your higher education qualifications, recent work experience, and key personal skills should all be represented on your resume, and you’ll rarely need more than that unless the position calls for something specific. You should also be brushing up your interview technique to make sure you’re ready to go face-to-face with a prospective employer.

Volunteer for valuable experience

This goes double if you’re using your career downtime as an opportunity to shift gears. Looking for opportunities in the voluntary sector can be a great way to gain valuable experience in a new industry, and even if you’re not moving careers, you could volunteer so that you’re occupying your time with something meaningful between jobs. Employers love to see voluntary work on a resume; it demonstrates initiative, a genuine concern for the community, and a willingness to do work others might consider “beneath” them. Be sure to try and choose opportunities that are close to your skill set so that you don’t have to learn on the job too much!


Many people end up finding jobs thanks to the connections they have rather than on merit alone, so networking is always a valuable thing to do. Carry business cards with you so you can hand them out when you meet people who might be able to provide you with opportunities. Keep in touch with friends and family, especially those who are professionally engaged, and ask them if any opportunities are appearing in their respective careers. It always pays to know people who can give you preemptive warning when new jobs arise, so make sure that you’re augmenting your regular job search by asking around as well.

Look beyond job site

There’s a temptation to think that since everything has moved online, that’s the only place you really need to look for work, but this isn’t true. The fact is that the old-fashioned, traditional method of hitting the streets armed with copies of your resume can still work, and it’s definitely something you should consider (depending on the job you want, of course). If you’re looking for part-time work, for example, coffee shops and hospitality outlets will often accept resumes in person, and the same goes for the reception desks at major businesses, banks, and other office-based operations. Don’t just look online!