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  • Writer's pictureRobert Louis Shepard, PhD

You Lost Your Job, What Now?

Job loss is prevalent today. The time between being hired and being terminated varies. Some employees are let go before they reach the required vesting period which is usually 5 or more years of continuous service. Others could have been with the company in excess of 20+ years and looking toward retirement when they are suddenly told their services are no longer needed.

Colleagues attempting to re-enter the job market have asked me to review their updated resume prior to sending it out in search of new employment. Conducting the reviews I often observe a shortcoming in the laid-off workers' new writeup. The deficiency is that their updated resume is "heavy on what they use to do before being laid off" and "light to non-existent on what new and updated skill sets they might need now to satisfy requirements for new positions and for new employers." This shortcoming is very common and more pronounced among former managers and supervisors.

A few years ago a colleague lost his high-level management job and was confused why he wasn't getting any bites in his attempt to re-enter the job market after over a year of searching. I asked to see his resume.

The main deficiency I observed in his updated resume is that he still was marketing himself as a manager/supervisor. He completely overlooked the fact that he lost his job because he was caught in the wave of layoffs of the very group of workers he was now still promoting on his updated resume.

Further examination of his resume showed he was strong in his technical area of expertise. I suggested he retool his resume to focus on his technical strength rather than the managerial work he performed over the past 7 years.  I recommended that he elevate his technical skills as the key strategy for trying to return to the workforce, and if his leadership skills were as good as he thought they were, he would eventually return to the management ranks. That is exactly what has happened to him.

Here are a few tips I offer if you have become unemployed:

  • Check your resume to see how you are marketing yourself.

  • Focus your updated resume on what skill sets you bring that will fulfill the needs of the new workforce.

  • If your past experience is an asset, factor it into your updated resume. If it's not then don't dwell on it in the new write-up. 

  • Remember to show how your skills have been enhanced through new certifications, workshops, registrations, professional training, licenses, and volunteer engagements.

Additionally, the Internet can be a valuable resource when updating resumes. 

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