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Job Loss: 10 Tips for Taking Control and Moving Ahead

Geraldine Markel, PhD

November 5, 2020

Although you lost your job, you don’t have to lose your sense of self-worth, creativity, and initiative. Stop, think creatively, take small steps, and revise.

When laid off, future planning and job hunting can be a dreary and tedious business. Many people have advice. 

Some family or friends advise you to go back to school for an advanced degree. Others encourage you to add a competency or skill. For example, pursue a certificate in coding or project management at a community college. Still, others say, “Just get any job and see how it works out. At least you will have some money coming in to make connections and view options.” Confronted with job stoppage and subsequent career confusion, many young adults feel paralyzed with too many or too few options (

Finding digital marketing a drag, a communications major said, “I’m good at strategizing, planning and delegating. Maybe I should be an independent consultant. The big problem is no one will hire me because I don’t have enough experience.”

Is it an all or nothing situation? Perhaps, it is useful to work on several fronts at once. In the short-term, it never hurts to pick up additional skills through an online college course. Perhaps, you want to “work the wait.” Consider free learning and upskilling using the offerings on the Internet. It never hurts to include such accomplishments on your resume. Such activities show you are a life-long learner, picking up new knowledge or skills while looking for a job (

Simultaneously, consider the long-term. Be creative and gather information about possible several advanced degrees. What would it take to get an MBA or a law degree? 

No jobs on the horizon? 

Perhaps as the immigrants did, you create a position. For example, if you think you might like to be a consultant, do some research about what a consultant does in your specific area of interest or expertise. For instance, with a background in communications, what type of consultant might you be? If your interests or passions are within the music industry, then as a consultant or freelancer, who would be your target audience?

Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Generate some titles: For the major in communication: communication specialist, presentation specialist, speaker,  conflict management strategist. 
  2. Create a vision of your ideal customer. Who would hire you? Would a company hire you, or would you want to create a client base?
  3. Look for the titles on Google. Are these titles in demand? Who are the leaders? What are the keywords associated with the title? Review the questions listed under the title, People Also Ask.
  4. Get some keywords associated with your title. For example, using a keyword generator, find keywords related to music marketing: music marketing companies and music marketing plans, and music marketing campaigns.
  5. Decide if you are on the right track. 
  6. Go to a freelance site such as Is your title featured? What jobs and fees are listed?
  7. Look at entry-level offers on This site allows an expert to offer very reasonable introductory offers to entice new customers or clients.
  8. Develop your job description and fee schedule.
  9. Throw your hat in the ring. Reach out to gain feedback from others. Ask them to identify positives and also to act as a devil’s advocate. 
  10. Review your progress after a few months.  How many clients or income, or hassle? 

If you think of these steps as an information-gathering process, you will develop a more specific idea of the position you want or a position you want to create.   You may decide to seek a job, change career paths, develop as a consultant, or go back to school. Be systematic. For example, create a spreadsheet to monitor your options.

Although it is essential to think and analyze options, don’t get stuck continually rethinking and revising. Take some small action, collect information, and, based on the results, move on. 

Confronting career confusion or job-hunting fatigue? Contact