“I’m afraid we’re going to have to let you go.” These are horrifying words to any employee. No matter what the reason, lay offs or job performance, it is a stunning experience when it is not your choice to be separated from your employment.

Many people feel immediate panic, which is a natural and understandable reaction. But you don’t have to. View this as not only a temporary hiccup in your career, but an opportunity to find something wonderful and new. There are many things you can do to bounce back.

Give yourself a few days to mourn and recover from the shock. Be good to yourself. Eat well and avoid alcohol, which is a depressant. Do something positive for your body, go to the gym or for a walk. Do something positive for your mind, read a book you’ve been meaning to get to or go to a movie. And finally, do something positive for your spirit. Reach out to your closest friends for support. They will remind you that you are not your job. You are still the good person you always were. You need this feedback for your own morale and to get yourself revved up for your job hunt.

Then, begin to look for that new job. Go over your resume, update it and make sure it succinctly makes the most of your skills and accomplishments. Employers want to know what successes you have had, what projects you have managed and what will make you valuable to them. Leave out any objectives. No one but you cares what you want! Instead, start your resume with a brief bullet-pointed list of your main skills.

Format your resume so that it is neat and balanced. Layout matters. It shows prospective employers that details are important to you. There are templates on line that you can apply your own information to and create a crisp, professional look.

Needless to say, do not be anything but truthful on your resume. It is just plain wrong to lie or even “exaggerate”. Most companies currently do background checks before making an offer. So if you have fudged on your schooling or job history, there is a good chance you will get caught. Not only can it cause you to not get a job, but if you have already been hired and the deception is discovered, you will be fired.

If you can afford it, there are many resume services that can help you market yourself. They are experts and can really be worth the investment. If that is out of your budget range, ask a friend with a business background to review it for you to check for any inadvertent typos and to offer suggestions.

Obtain the highest quality resume materials you can afford. Good quality resume paper is available at chain office stores and the staff can help you find what you need. You want your resume to stand out with its professionalism and elegance. Use large envelopes for mailing, so you don’t have to fold your resume. And use labels that are printed for the address and return address, rather than hand written.

Tell everyone you know that you are looking for new career opportunities (you do NOT have to tell them you were let go!). You never know who has a link to someone else who has an opening that would be a perfect fit. Personal connections can be crucial in finding that position. Check the internet job sites and be creative with the search agents. Explore other career categories. Even if you have specialized in one field, skills such as customer service and finance, for example, can be applied in another area. Don’t limit yourself.

Be proactive. Simply depending on the internet or the newspaper ads is not enough. Research companies in your area that are in the field you are targeting. Send your resume with an introductory cover letter. You may hit an organization that has not posted an open position yet. Call or check on line to find the names of key officers in the company and address your letter directly to them. You are less likely to get lost in the morass of resumes the Human Resources department gets.

Do not send out a handful of resumes and wait for the offers to come rolling in. More than likely you’ll be waiting a very long time. If you haven’t heard in one to two weeks, do a follow-up call or letter. Occasionally there is a lag in even calling candidates for interviews if someone gets sick or is on vacation. Or perhaps a first candidate has fallen through. Your persistence can move you to the top for the next go-round.

Keep yourself to a routine. Each day, get up at your regular time, get dressed, eat breakfast and start your temporary job of career advancement. Take a break for lunch and do something a little different in the afternoon. If you have been researching in the morning, write your letters in the afternoon. Aim to get out at least five resumes a day. Duck the TV and turn off the phone. This is work! Staying focused on a schedule, like you had at work, will help keep you on task.

Losing your job, for whatever reason, is incredibly stressful. It takes away a sense of control and order in your life and impacts your self-esteem. However, it can be a chance for growth and discovery. Your next position could be the one you’ve been waiting for all your life!

Author's Bio: 

Marie Cooper had been in corporate management for over 10 years and has a Master's Degree in Corporate Communication. She manages her own consulting and career coaching business. Marie can be contacted at mlcooper@optonline.net.