The tech job market can be fickle at times. You might be the very best at what you do, but your contracting company loses their recompete bid and you find yourself out of a job. Maybe you made a mistake and your client decides to cancel their contract. Another scenario would be that you are hard at work and but you’ve come to the end of a contract and find that the client doesn’t want to renew for another 3 to 6 months or a year. In any scenario, you’ve lost your job. So now what?
At first, it is perfectly normal to find that you are in a panic mode, but you shouldn’t stay in this mode for long. The longer you allow shock and panic to hang around, the hard it will be for you to land your next job opportunity. The days of working for a company for 40 years and then retiring on a nice pension are long gone, especially in the tech world. So, pick yourself up, dust yourself off…and follow these steps to help you get back on track and land that next job.
Dust Off Your Resume
If you’ve been in a job for several years you will find that your resume is a little dusty and out of date. First things first, get that resume out and dust it off! Enter any new certifications or training you might have had since taking your last job. Also, you will want to record your latest job experience, bullet points on what you have been doing for the last x amount of days, years, etc. Additionally, ensure your address and contact information are correct so that recruiters can get ahold of you.
Tap Into Your Network
Having good network connections is crucial to finding that next job. After you have spruced up your resume, start going through your network connections and email everyone you know. Let them know your situation and attach your recently updated resume to the email. You should also let them know your availability, time zone and contact info so that they can connect you with someone during a time that is convenient to you both. For some of your network connections, it may be best to get on the phone with them as soon as possible and talk to them about what happened and what you are looking to do next, emails and text message may go ignored or forgotten, but a phone conversation won’t.
Apply, Apply, Apply
Get on ClearanceJobs.com and start searching for and applying for every job you can find that is a good match with your skill set. When applying for a job, make sure your resume is included, as well as a cover letter if you feel it will up your chances of landing a job quickly. You can filter the results based on what you are looking for, such as remote work only, or CONUS jobs only, and many more filters. Just as well, filters will help you narrow down your search so your time searching can be maximized for the best results.
Prepare for Interviews
It may have been awhile since you last interviewed with someone, it would be beneficial to practice your interviewing skills. The first and most important aspect of any interview is how you present yourself. Check to make sure you are dressed appropriately for the job you are applying to. It is a good rule of thumb to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. In most cases, the dress code is business casual, but that should not stop you from dressing a step above that. Secondly, it is good to do some research on the job you are interviewing for. Find out the history of the company and what they have been doing in the tech space. Further, find out who you will be interviewing with and read about them online to give you an idea about their background. Preparing for an interview will get you a step ahead of the competition and give you confidence going into the interview.
Lastly, Don’t Stop Learning
If you happen to lose your job, don’t get discouraged; you can’t afford to. In between applying for jobs and preparing for interviews, keep learning. Find a course you can study on a new technology or expand your skills in the technologies you already know. Read technical books and review reference architectures to keep your skills sharp. Whatever you do, don’t give up, learn from each situation that presents itself so you can always be prepared for what’s to come.