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The reaction to a layoff is very different for many people. It can be one of high anxiety, especially for people with very industry specific skills that they feel won’t translate well to other organizations. Or a layoff can be a time of opportunity for people who were not that happy in the first place and in some ways welcome the forced chance to move forward with something new. Changing careers after a layoff can be difficult and exciting at the same time, but by keeping a few things in mind the entire process can be made easier and eventually lead to a more successful outcome.

Where To Start

Many people who are recently laid off may have no idea what they want to do next, they just know it wasn’t what they were doing before. Something important that may help to prevent a repeat of a bad job is to discover what it is that you didn’t like about the job before. Some things to consider that would turn a career search in a different direction would include:

  • The Working Environment: Is the hustle of a restaurant too much or is an enclosed office-style environment too mundane?
  • The People: Some careers draw certain people, such as a high population of women in early education positions or higher population of men in certain engineering functions. Finding the type of people and personalities you are more compatible with can be important to long term job satisfaction.
  • The Type of Work: Skills are what qualify someone for a job but if your interests don’t match the necessary skills or even your existing skills, it can change the dynamic of the type of job you are looking for. If you like helping people but can’t stand the sterile nursing environment you are trained for, counseling or teaching may be a better fit.

Speaking with a professional career counselor can help you to determine what type of position may be the best fit. These professionals typically have access to tools that can help to narrow down the type of work that can fit your personality, skills and interests. A career counselor is often available through unemployment services, temporary work placement agencies, local community colleges and some recruiters also offer career assessment services.

What to Do Next

If you realize you would really like an entire career overhaul, it is important to consider the feasibility of how you want to make it happen. If your new choice requires additional education or other technical skills that need to be acquired from a college or university, getting started as soon as possible with the process can be important to avoid missed admissions deadlines. While traditional full-time programs are generally available, there are many alternative part-time, remote access or internet-only programs that will allow you to get the skills necessary while potentially maintaining your home life with a part time position.

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