8 Important Steps To Recover From Job Loss & Transform Your Career

By Sam Chia

Published: April 26, 2020

Last Update: May 4, 2020

disruption leads to job loss and you have to learn to transform your career

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are suffering from revenue lost and cash flow turns off as their customers are not paying on time or even the debts become bad. While governments are taking actions to support businesses to minimize lay-off, redundancy and job loss is unavoidable as it is a company’s first step of ‘survival mode’ to keep costs to a minimum.

If you are one of those affected from job loss, don’t be dismayed and start today to get your ‘career journey’ in order and ‘transform your career’. The following 8 steps will help you in your recovery process and prepare you to come out of the situation much stronger:

1. Maintain a positive mindset

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

–Alexander Graham Bell

While it is a painful feeling to experience job loss, we must go through the grieving period quickly. It is not your fault and no company likes to lose a great talent like you. Take this time as a  “pause” in your life and take the opportunity to rediscover yourself.

Reflect on the situation… previously you thought that was the end and that you lost everything only to find out that it is a blessing in disguise for better things to come.

think of new ideas and develop a growth mindset to help you transform your career

Think about the things you always wanted to do in your life and maybe it is time to pursue something you love.

Hang around with positive people. Meet people who like what they do, their job, their life, have new ideas, and are interested in lots of other things besides work.

Take responsibility for your actions and your situation and take control of how you respond. Be grateful and kind to people around you and you will be reciprocated with appreciation and happiness.

Start to build a ‘growth mindset’.

2. Talk to people you love and lean on your community

“Your job does not define your value. You are valuable because of who you are. Remember, losing one job is not the end of the world.”


They are many cases when someone lost a job, they are embarrassed to talk to their spouse or people around them. They begin to have self-doubt and self-critical. Some continue to leave their home daily as if they are going to work and end up seeing themselves wandering around the park or shopping mall like a lost soul.

When you lose your job, you’ll still be who you are. Your career doesn’t define you because it won’t always be there. You will still be the same person with the same goals, interests, and passions with or without that job.

Be honest and share your feeling and concern with your family as it will also affect them. Trust them that they are your best supporter and cheerleader who will be with you on this journey together.

Surround yourself with people who believe in you and who can lift you. So, look for support from your community. A community doesn’t have to be location specific, it can be virtual too, as long as there are people who care, and whom you can share your thoughts and experiences with… like-minded people, with a common interest. This interest can be a problem or bereavement or something more activity related, like a charity or music or art.

You’ll find that there will be people who have gone through a similar job loss experience and successfully transformed their career in the past and will be able to provide some guidance and direction. And stay positive that you can build and rebuild your confidence, that with time and effort, you will be able to pull through and be stronger and wiser.

3. Wellbeing & exercise

“ The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.’

– Buddha
exercise helps to refresh the mind

Several studies have revealed an association between unemployment and ill health and shown that unemployment can affect people’s health significantly. People have feelings of dignity loss as a human being. They often feel worried, insecure, and experience significant stress due to their new financial situation. which in turn led to isolation and loss of self-esteem.

A recent study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%. In addition to relieving depression symptoms, research also shows that maintaining an exercise schedule can prevent you from relapsing.

Exercise also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good.

Exercise promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being.

Have a regular exercise routine to keep your energy high.

Finally, exercise redirects your focus to allow you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts from job loss.

4. Prepare a personal financial plan

Most people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.”

– John L. Beckley

Review your financial position and get your financial house in order. If you are like most people living paycheck to paycheck and there is no surplus cash. you need to review your other asset or reserves and see how much you can convert them into short term cash.

You may have given some redundancy benefits and it is important you start planning your critical household expenses to establish the cash flow gap in the next 6 months.

Most experts recommend 3-6 months of cash to meet your living needs and you must map out your cash flow in advance rather than face with sudden cash trap.

You may need to work as a temporary or contract staff to support your short term financial needs while looking for your next career. You can contact some employment agencies who specialize in gig positions.

5. Update your resume, create a portfolio

“The challenge of life, I have found, is to build a resume that doesn’t simply tell a story about what you want to be, but it’s a story about who you want to be.”

–  Oprah Winfrey

Is your resume up to date? If you have not updated it in a few years, now is the time. You may want to consider hiring a professional to do it for you. Only 2% of resumes make it past to the first round of interviews and you want to be in the top 2%. And this figure only rises when you have an economic crisis with mass unemployment.

learn how to create a digital portfolio to transform your career and overcome job loss

Remember don’t use a standard resume for all the jobs you apply. Customize your resume for every position.

A resume is the first opportunity to put your foot into a new job. You need to invest time and effort in aligning it with the job specification. Study the job requirements in detail and target your resume to respond to their specific requirements. While the job descriptions seem the same for certain positions, every company hiring requirements is different.

Consider upgrading to create a portfolio, where you can demonstrate your experience in innovative ways, to help you stand out.

A portfolio isn’t just for creatives who want to showcase their artistry in painting, modelling, photography, acting…

Increasingly, consultants and other specialists are creating detailed case studies of their projects including why, what and how they solved specific problems. This use of the portfolio to showcase you body of work has been used in the consulting industry including different agencies to win work with their clients, that is companies big and small, so it makes sense that you could do the same if you are a freelance entrepreneur or contractor.

Don’t forget to advertise your resume & portfolio of services on the web and on lot of different channels like a company does. This can significantly get you noticed too. Consider buying ads to promote your services as a consultant or entrepreneur.

6. Clean up your social media accounts

“Humility, gentleness, and helpfulness go so much further and open doors you cannot imagine. Think from a higher level and try to see beyond today. Some hard work and insight will bring you to paths that will reward you so highly, it’ll make the little inconvenience you incurred so worth it.”

– Ann Tran

Your social media pages are like your advertisement channel where people will check it out before they consider offering you a job. Google your name to see what came out from your search. Be sure that all your posts are fit for the public to see. If not, do clean them up and adjust your privacy settings.

Your LinkedIn profile is a digital version of your resume. So, take the time to update and ensure it aligns with your resume. You do not want to have a situation where information in your resume contradicts what you write in your Linkedin profile.

While Facebook is your private page to share your information with your friends, the information shown will normally reflect the value that you preach and practice.  Some companies may use this information to judge your character and value.

There are so many platforms you can consider, from Instagram to Reddit, and don’t forget the GOOGLE Search Engine and how your own website with your portfolio on display (NDAs aside) can help you to stand out as an expert in the gig economy.

7. Skills Upgrading

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

– Benjamin Franklin

With the technology disruption and VUCA (Vulnerable, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) environment, what we had learned in the past may not be sufficient to support us in the future. Many traditional jobs will be disappearing with automation, artificial intelligence, and robot.

According to the Future of Jobs Report from the World Economic Forum,  10 Skills you will need in the future include creativity, emotional intelligence (EQ), complex problem solving,  critical thinking, judgment and decision making, cognitive flexibility, people management,  coordinating with others, negotiation, and service orientation.

Upgrading your career gamification skills in the face of job loss can help you to transform your career

At the Stratability Academy, we recommend 4 Gamification Power-up skills you can gain that will really help you to fast track your way into a new career, no matter where you started:

  • Working With Data & Information
  • Technology Application including Digital
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Know Your Customers

Reflect and access your capabilities and competencies. Take the opportunity to upgrade your skills that support your future career. This will improve your marketability during the job search and it also demonstrates your ‘growth mindset’, an important criterion for many companies in this new era.

8. Networking

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work”

– Robert Kiyosaki

There are reasons why the world’s most successful business leaders are great at networking and building relationship. People feel comfortable and trust the people they know when deciding on a business partnership or selecting his key employee.

Networking isn’t about using other people or promoting yourself. it’s about building relationships and connecting with others. Many peoples found a job through their network of connections.

Ask your network if they know of any job openings. Ask for a contact person to send your resume to the right person. If possible, even reach out to the hiring manager as a social media platform like Linkedin enable you to reach out professionally.

Start networking if you have not done so in the past. It is never too late. Join some interest and industry groups. Share your knowledge and expertise with the network. The more you put yourself out there, the more you can start raising your profile and get noticed by the right people.  Offer your expertise and help to Not-for-profit organizations.  It is not what you know, it is who you know. People you meet in the process can help you move your job search forward.

Losing your job can be extremely stressful, but you aren’t alone. According to the U.S. Department of labor, in the past five weeks ending 18 April 2020, a staggering 26.5 million U.S. workers filed jobless claims as they are unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Life can be tough and unpredictable. No matter how well you plan, they can be disrupted without your control.

transform your career in the face of job loss

“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.”

– Martin Luther King

You can (and shall) possess a ‘gamification’ mindset, to ‘play the game’ of career transformation instead of a victim mindset to take control of your job loss situation.

Pick yourself up and start the 8 important steps today, and build your ‘game plan’ and roadmap to transform your career.

Believe in yourself, you will get through this.

Sam Chia

About the author

Sam Chia brings with him over 30 years of leadership and international business experience to all its client engagement. A sought after C-Suite Coach, Sam works with senior leaders to strengthen its organization’s operating architect, improve strategic and people capability. His experiences include start-up, merger and acquisition and scaling businesses in new territory. He is a co-author of a book, Coaching in Asia – The First Decade and has been interviewed and contributed articles on leadership and coaching to newspaper and magazines. Sam was formerly VP/MD of specialty chemicals of UK listed company and MD of a regional human resource consulting practice. Sam is a Chartered Accountant and holds an MBA. He is a Professional Certified Coach from International Coach Federation. Sam is recently recognized as 100 Best Global Coaching Leaders by CHRO Asia/ World Coaching Congress in 2017.

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