Leaving your job and looking for a new one can feel a bit like being on an emotional roller coaster. With potentially many ups and downs to overcome, having some idea of what to expect can help you better cope with the experience.

There is no straight forward rule or common path as everyone reacts differently during this period of change. You should expect to have strong, wide ranging emotions, and how long they last varies greatly from person to person. These emotions tend to follow a known pattern, and it is possible to experience this curve on more than one occasion during a period of change. We try to capture the range of reactions, shown below, to help your progression of change.

The Initial Reaction – Relief, Shock
“Thank heavens, I know now”. A lot of people find living under the threat of losing their job is far more emotionally draining than actually finding out they will be released form their role. The uncertainty of not knowing is what most people find especially hard. An initial rush of relief may be felt, now that you know the outcome of a personnel review. But it can also come as a shock, to realise that you are no longer required….and for some, the shock follows the experience of relief. Such a shock can create a sense of disbelief that you must conquer in order to move forward.

The Realisation Phase – Anger, Self-doubt
The question “Why me?” will hit you. It can feel very unfair, and a personal and unreasonable slur against you. Our natural instincts can result in anger and frustration towards the organisation, your manager, or colleagues who are staying.

As you start to get over the shock and realisation, new questions arise, i.e. “Can I get another job?” Your self-confidence can be dented and doubt may creep in about your personal capabilities, your ability to even find, let alone to do, another job.

The Acceptance Phase
Yes, unfortunately, this has really happened to you, and you need to start thinking about what options are open to you. A clear and considered thought process at this stage will aid more effective action later. Often, when we are just so certain about something, that when we experience just the opposite, it comes as a crushing blow and it can be incredibly hard to pick yourself up and carry on.

So, how do we cope…..it helps to recognise that the highs and the lows can be draining. So give yourself some time and space to come to terms with what’s going on. Resist the temptation to rush into your job search. Instead, review your skills and experience, and focus on what it is you really want to do next.

What’s Next?

View finding a new job as a project and consider adopting some project management strategies. Firstly identify who your stakeholders are – those people around you who have been impacted by what has happened. Talk to them about what is going on, and how you and they are both feeling about it. Consider who you could call on for support and help as you progress your job search. This might be family, friends or network contacts who you’ve worked with in the past – anyone you feel you can trust.

Managing your time
Think how you’ve managed your time well in the past. Are you a “last minute” person, or do you prefer to plan and organise ahead of time? Consider blocking out part of each day, or specific days each week, to dedicate to your job search. Set yourself some objectives for each day or week, perhaps rewarding yourself for any progress made.

Coming out the other side
Searching for a new job poses different challenges for all of us. By successfully managing ourselves and our emotions as we transition through this period means we can come out the other side far more resilient – potentially with extra skills and a stronger personal network in place.

All of these things are invaluable to help you with the management of your long term career.

The following “Do’s” and “Don’ts” are here to help you through your own job search campaign.

Some “Do’s”

  • use social networking sites, for example, LinkedIn, this process can help alleviate the feeling of isolation while job searching
  • review your CV, or produce a new one, utilising tips and guidance available to make it stand out from the crowd
  • under-take a self-assessment of your skills and identify how these can be transferred from your previous roles to new ones, i.e. if you had implemented a project in one work area, it’s possible these same skills will transfer to another area
  • be positive
  • keep a comprehensive file of your applications, ensuring you keep notes and date everything for reference
  • make sure you have uploaded the current version of your CV
  • recognise the fact that it is as important for you to get the right job as it is for the employer to get the right employee.
  • participate and interact with Prime Candidate, especially areas such as CV writing and interview skills
  • take the time and opportunity to evaluate your options, we tend not to do this whilst already in a job
  • produce an action plan for obtaining re-employment, try to set some targets and milestones
  • engage positively with friends, family and former colleagues to develop your network

Some “Don’ts”

  • Don’t raise your expectations too highly, you don’t need any extra pressure on yourself
  • Don’t be tempted to shut yourself away – ask people you know for help and support, it is very rewarding, flattering and you may be surprised how many people are more than willing to give you their time
  • Don’t get disheartened, keep going, be resilient but try to balance to your work time (searching for work) and own time effectively
  • Don’t underestimate the power of networking – keep in touch with all ex-colleagues who are now working for other companies
  • Don’t shy away from self-promotion, make sure your CV is vibrant and helps you stand out from the crowd

Your Job Search Campaign

Some people find another job within weeks, but for others it can take months. The length of job search is rarely a reflection of your abilities – commonly, it is just market forces at work. To remain motivated and focused during these times, it is important to have a set of objectives and goals that will maintain your drive, and keep you aware of the achievements you are making as time goes by.

Planning your search campaign, establishing milestones and setting objectives will provide a programme to give you a more successful job search. The following view of suggested headings and direction will help you convert plans in to action.
Core objectives
Your campaign either starts now or has already started. If you have not set yourself some core objectives, how do you know that you are proceeding in the right direction? You run the real risk of responding to the needs of others – such as recruitment agencies – rather than focusing on what you really want to do next.
By setting core objectives, you will feel much more focused in your job search. You will also gain satisfaction as you begin to achieve your goals.

Specific Tasks
Having defined your core objectives, you need to break these down into specific tasks. For example, if a core objective was passing your driving test, some of the tasks associated with achieving this objective could be; attaining your provisional license, booking a block of driving lessons, acquiring and learning all aspects relevant to driving theory, booking your theory tests and so on. By completing these steps will help break your objectives into manageable and time-bound tasks. Working through these in a logical manner sets the path for you to achieve your objectives.

Campaign Plan
Build a simple but effective (for you) campaign plan. This could be on a spreadsheet or in a notebook, containing the details of your tasks in order to provide a visual prompt and check-sheet to drive your actions. It will also help you keep track of your contacts and follow-up actions as you start making contacts throughout your network. It will also help you keep up to date with potential employers and applications. You can also use your Prime Candidate log-in to help track your on-line applications and keep your information and CV up to date. Find a ‘system’ that works for you and maintain it.

Use your campaign plan to list and detail your contacts and network:

  • It’s easy to build up a long list of contacts but just as easy to lose track of them
  • After making an initial contact make sure you follow up and track your on-going communications
  • Introduce discipline to maintaining your contacts, even when you are busy, remember, your new job could be in this group of contacts
  • Maintain a diary of events and tasks, recording important outcome and notes to actions that go towards fulfilling your objectives

Believe in Yourself

Henry Ford once said: “If you believe you can, or you believe you cannot, you are right”.

In other words, when we believe we can resolve a particular problem, the brain channels huge, relentless resources and energy to ensure we overcome the problem. However, if we believe we cannot resolve a problem, our brain effectively turns off the energy supply and stops looking for a resolution.

This can be called ‘Limiting beliefs’ and it feels like legitimate reasons that stop us moving forward in a more positive direction. Limiting Career Beliefs may manifest themselves in comments such as ‘I am too old (or too young), my boss would never promote me, I could never….you can fill in this gap!)’…..or one of the most common self-doubt comments of all…’I’m not good enough’.

An Exercise in Self-awareness

Are there issues holding you back in finding the career right for you? Write these down and next, try to differentiate between what you believe are hard, evidenced facts, and what you could consider as just your limiting beliefs. To make positive progress, follow these pointers:

  • Ask yourself what you would be doing differently if you didn’t hold these limiting beliefs.
  • What would somebody else do in your position if they didn’t hold those limiting beliefs? Imagine for a moment being that person. For example, if that person would speak up more in meetings than you normally would, decide that for the next meeting you attend you will be very well prepared and will add one or two additional and carefully chosen comments. Make a note of what happens, or didn’t happen when you took that action. It is highly unlikely for example that anybody laughed at you, but actually, the valued your input and/or, more probably, you asked the question everyone wanted to ask!

Your beliefs are held in the subconscious brain where there is no logical processing ability – the beliefs held depend on the information that has been fed in by others, or what our brains have concluded from certain experiences, but remember – beliefs can be changed for the positive.

ARM™ Outplacement Service

Prime Candidate has designed its own outplacement service aimed specifically at the more mature worker to ‘arm’ the individual with all the tools and understanding of being successful in finding new employment. The ARM™ Model (Assessment, Review and Market) is a three key stage plan of consolidation of an individuals’ outlook that results in an action plan to find new work.

We offer this programme in support of employers with their commitment to Age Diversity, Corporate and Social Responsibilities, and creating employer benefits. When tough decisions have to be made, this service provides added value to the employer and employee, in that the released employee can join our outplacement programme to assess and consolidate new career avenues, whilst also joining the recruitment programme and accessing new opportunities. Again, we have designed this unique programme to provide ultimate value, hope and aspiration to the candidate.

The ARM™ outplacement service is a special programme designed to assist individuals who are released by their employer. Unfortunately, those tough decisions by employers are still part of the employment cycle, but we encourage employers to provide value added support to staff who find themselves in this position. The cost of the ARM™ programme is covered by the employer, so if you find yourself in a position where you are being released, please speak to the employer to ask that they give you the opportunity to join the ARM™ programme.