When a door closes, a window opens…
This has always been my personal mantra. And at every attempt that I failed to hit the “target”, I never gave up because I knew a window of opportunities would open up.
So, if you’ve just lost your job, relax!
The economic and social disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is devastating. It has caused a global tremor, which has shaken all aspects of our lives including health. And the worst of it, dropping many people back to the unemployment circle.
And for us in Nigeria, it came at a time that our economy was just gradually getting restored following the recession which plunged the nation’s economy back in 2016. And now, the impact of the pandemic has left many companies with no choice than to retrench their employees despite the intervention fund by the federal government.
While it must have been tough to receive the news that you are part of the company’s retrenched workers, it is also not the end of the world. Losing a job is an experience no one wants to go through. But when it happens due to circumstances beyond human control, there are ways to handle the situation and get back on track.
And so today, I’ve something for you; I call it the simple steps you can take to get your feet back after losing a job.
So, let’s take a look at the ten steps you need to get back on track after losing your job to COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Re-evaluate your skills
Quite alright, your skills got you the job. You would not have been hired in the first place if you were not qualified – or if you didn’t have the right skills. But at a point when the labour market is highly competitive, you should go through your skills again. Check for their relevance. Identify the ones that need to be updated. This is how you stay relevant in the labour market.
2. Take an online course
It doesn’t have to be a paid one. There are free courses you can take online. They are sponsored by digital companies as a way of helping people cope during the pandemic. Remember that course you wanted to take while working but could not find the time to? Well, there is no perfect time than after being laid off. Because when you get a new job, you may not have time again.
3. Think of a business idea
Having multiple streams of income in Nigeria saves you from a lot of problems. Now, if you had no other source of income apart from your job, it is time to start thinking of a business idea. It doesn’t have to be a major one. It could be something you have overlooked in the past. Or something you thought you couldn’t do. Now is the time to think of something you can do that will be a side hustle for you. The business idea has to be something that you have some knowledge about. Don’t think of something that you don’t know anything about. For instance, starting a jewellery business when you don’t know how to differentiate the original from the imitated. It also has to be something you are passionate about – not necessarily 100% but to a certain degree.
4. Identify your interests
You may have certain interests that you haven’t explored because of lack of time. Do you like baking? Do you like blogging? Do you want to start making YouTube videos? These things could yield profits for you later on. After you’ve identified them, then take active steps. With this, you can create multiple streams of income for yourself. Think of anything you like doing – that you were not performing at your job.
5. Find out about new job offers
Go on the internet. Use search engines to find out about new job offers. You can also go on LinkedIn. They have the ‘Open to Work’ feature which you can use. Increase the reach of your connections and network on LinkedIn. You can also subscribe to their job alerts. And all these are not even on the Premium offer.
6. Use social media
LinkedIn is not the only platform where you can get a job. There are many opportunities on other platforms that seem more relaxed and fun than LinkedIn. If you have a lot of friends on Facebook or a lot of followers on Twitter, use it to your advantage. Even without many followers, Twitter helps you reach more people with the use of trending hashtags. Use the hashtags strategically in all your posts. Don’t overlook the opportunities on these platforms.
7. Prepare a new resume and cover letter
This is the next step to take after updating your skills with relevant online courses. Are you looking at a career in digital marketing? And you have taken a few online courses in it? Then, update your resume with your newly acquired skill. Your new skills must also reflect on your new cover letter.
8. Try volunteering
If this is something you can do without breaking a sweat or losing all your savings, then try it. Volunteering builds your resume and portfolio when you’re unemployed. There are remote volunteering opportunities you can find online. These opportunities offer you a token in return. But the benefits are worth the effort.
9. Start actively applying for new roles
Your newly acquired skills and volunteering experience will be useful when submitting new applications. Don’t be overly optimistic but be positive about getting employed again.
10. Prepare for virtual interviews
Due to the pandemic, you will not be called for physical interviews. The interviews will mostly be done virtually. Even though it is still an interview, the virtual interview is slightly different from the physical interview. Getting prepared for them ahead of time will save you from having a hard time on an eventual day.
Don’t forget that losing your job because of the pandemic is not your fault. Just relax, follow these simple steps, be gentle on yourself, and you’ll get through this phase (because I was… I believe you’ll) and be back on your feet again.