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Get Back on Track: Career Training After a Layoff



No job is truly secure. In fact, more than 1.5 million Americans get laid off or fired every month. There isn’t any shame in losing your job. In fact, how you recover from a job loss tells your next boss how determined and resourceful you are. The best job candidates look at losing their jobs as an opportunity to start over and find something more challenging.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are layoffs every month in every industry. Layoffs can happen for any number of reasons:

  • Cutting costs: If a company is running short on cash, one of the first things it does is cut staff. Eliminating jobs is an easy way for a company to cut immediate costs, saving not only on salaries but on benefits and payroll taxes as well.
  • Staff reduction: Business needs change, and so do staffing needs. A company might eliminate a department that has been outsourced or restructure to consolidate roles.
  • Relocation: Sometimes companies will relocate to gain trade or tax advantages or for some other reason. When the company moves, staff often are laid off.
  • Mergers and acquisitions: There is nothing like an acquisition to shake things up. When two companies consolidate, there are going to be redundant roles, and someone will lose their job.

If you do lose your job, it is the perfect time to pick up new skills to help you qualify for a better job and start a new career. Maybe it’s time to consider career training.

Pay the Bills First

Your first priority needs to be financial stability. If you don’t have to worry about paying your bills right away, then you can take your time and be smarter about your next career move.

Do you have an emergency fund? Most financial experts advise you to save at least enough money to cover your living expenses for three months. That’s 90 days you can use to start career training and explore a new career.

Are you eligible for unemployment benefits? If you lose your job through no fault of your own (e.g., you are caught up in a layoff), then you are probably eligible to collect unemployment (check with your state employment office). If you are looking to change careers, you may even qualify for subsidized career training.

Can you find work to tide you over? In today’s gig economy, there are always ways you can make money. Consider temporary work or use your skills as a contract worker. Take a part-time job, or two. Look into possibilities for working at home, where you can earn money on your own schedule.

Once you have found a way to pay the bills, you can take a hard look at what you want to do next.

Is It Time for a Career Change?

As you consider your options, ask yourself if you loved your last job. Are there other careers that interest you? Do you want to go back to a job similar to the one you just left but at higher pay, or is it time for a fresh start?

When you are between jobs, it is the ideal time to branch out into something new. Ask yourself some hard questions about where your interests lie, but don’t stop there. Start researching potential employers. Review job descriptions and see what skills you would need for your next career move. With so much information online, you can easily learn more about where the best jobs are, what they pay, and who is hiring. What about career training? Would your chances of being hired improve with new skills or a certification?

As you do your research, inventory the skills you will need for an ideal job. What skills do you already have, and what will you need to get your dream job? Prioritize those skills into “must have,” “nice to have,” and “maybe later” categories. Remember, your first objective is to become an attractive job candidate, so focus on the skills that are most likely to land you an interview.

Before you start sifting through the various certifications, programs, and schools out there, check out this handy checklist to help you compare and weigh the different options.

Looking to further your career? Consider these questions when looking into further career training programs. Download Checklist >>

Certifications Get You Noticed

Do you have credentials or certifications? The right career training can help you fill gaps in your skill set, and certification shows your ability to do the job required. Consider getting certification in skills such as using Microsoft Office, which will be valuable in any field. Or if you are interested in a career in computer technology, why not start out with a CompTIA A+ certification?

Pursuing certifications as part of your career advancement is always a good idea, especially if you are considering a career in technology. Having qualifications in computer networking, data security, database administration, healthcare IT, or systems administration will help you stand out from other job applicants. The right career training center can help you with certifications as well as acquiring new skills.

Your career training center also should be able to help you find a job. Many training centers offer tools to help you with your job search as well as placement services.

If you have been laid off, you are not alone. In fact, losing your job could be the best thing to happen to your career. Take a hard look at your career path and determine what skills you need to achieve your dreams. And be sure to get expert assistance along the way to help you acquire the skills and certifications you need to find the right job.

Our counselors are ready to help you plan your future. Speak to a counselor >>

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