13 Steps to Help You Deal With Losing Your IT Job

Even some of the most talented IT professionals have found themselves the victim of a downsizing or reorganization. You can never feel too safe regardless of how stable the environment seems. If you find yourself in your worst-case scenario, these tips will help you work your way out of it.

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Tue, July 09, 2013

CIO — If you've been lucky enough to have never lost a job you probably wouldn't understand how traumatic and shattering the experience can be. Losing a job is likely the most emotional event you will experience in your professional life.

Most would agree that losing financial stability is the worst of it. Whether you're single, a sole provider or married with kids, just the thought of suddenly being unemployed can bring many sleepless nights. However, beyond the financial impact, we oftentimes don't consider how much of our identity is tied to what we do professionally.

IT Training vs. Hiring

"Job loss is an understandably emotional time. Many people use this time to be upset or lash out, and that's understandable, but you still need to be thinking about the next steps necessary to move forward," says career strategist and resume writer Stephen Van Vreede. Experts agree that the only way out of this situation is to build a plan and then work the plan.

To help you get back on track as quickly as possible, we spoke with a CIO, a career strategist and IT staffing firm Modis to see what they advise people in their network to do when they wind up in this scenario.

Step 1: Accept Your Situation

The first step, according to Matt Ripaldi, vice president of Modis, is to accept it. "The most common thing I see is that people have a difficult time accepting it right away. Some people waste time thinking 'maybe I can save this or is this really happening,' but you just have to accept it," says Ripaldi.

Step 2: Take a Moment to Reflect

"Getting things rolling is important, but you want to know what you're moving towards," says Van Vreede. Unless you have a good severance package, you can't always afford to take an extended break and examine what you want to do and then re-educate yourself accordingly. However, anyone in this situation should take at least some time to step back and take stock of their professional goals.

"Are you not passionate about your previous job? In that case, although it's unfortunate you've lost your job, you can use this as an opportunity to move in a different direction. A lot of times you just need to take a deep breath and ask yourself, 'is this really a blessing in disguise?'"says Ripaldi.

Step 3: Bridge the Gap

If you aren't already doing what you're passionate about, perhaps now is the time to build a plan to get there. "Job loss often forces people to assess the direction of their career. It may even be an opportunity to change careers and find a profession that is more fulfilling or more aligned with your skills and aspirations,"says Caitlin Sampson of Regal Resumes. From a certification standpoint, there a number of different online choices depending on what your specializations are. Local state and county colleges are also a great place to start to add IT skills and certifications.

Step 4: Clean Up Your Social Media Profiles

"We always recommend clients update their social media profiles like LinkedIn right away, and then their resumes second. The first place most recruiters and hiring managers look is your LinkedIn profile," says Ripaldi.

Be sure your LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ profiles are up to date and are focused on the role you are trying to attain. Update your personal brand via your social profiles and resume by articulating what value you add to a prospective employer's company. Try looking at the social profiles of people in the position you are applying for to find the commonalities like keywords, skills highlighted and so on.

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