I Lost My Job…Now What?!

Shama Hyder:

I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. I had a graduate degree in organizational communication and technology, a 4.0 GPA, I was so excited to get out into the real world and get that first job. When I graduated, we were facing one of the greatest recessions and it was really tough times, companies weren’t hiring. When I got out there, I thought I would go work for a consulting company, one of the [inaudible 00:00:26] and McKinseys of the world. And I couldn’t land a job, I found the marketplace to be extremely difficult. I found, interestingly, that big companies do not like to innovate as much as they say that they do. It eventually led me to creating my own company and my global empire with Zen Media, it really was a blessing that all these doors were closing.

Shama Hyder:

Hey everybody, this is Shama Hyder. And I want to talk to you about what happens if you lose a job, what to do. In fact, I made this video because I’ve been getting so many emails and messages from people who have lost their jobs, who faced layoffs, who, for one reason or another, are finding themselves out of a job. And many of you encouraged me to make this video and share my own story, and then share some insights on what I think you should do if you’ve lost your job. This could actually be a golden opportunity for you, you may just not realize it yet. But let me start by sharing a quick story about myself.

Shama Hyder:

When I graduated from the university of Texas at Austin, I had a graduate degree in organizational communication and technology, a 4.0 GPA, I was so excited to get out into the real world and get that first job, except, when I graduated, we were facing one of the greatest recessions, actually, it was the great recession, ’08, ’09, many of you might remember that. And it was really tough times, companies weren’t hiring and it was a tough time to be a young graduate. And when I got out there, I thought I would go work for a consulting company. One of the [inaudible 00:02:21] and Mackenzie’s of the world.

Shama Hyder:

Imagine my surprise, or my dismay, when I graduated and I couldn’t land a job. I found the marketplace to be extremely difficult. I found, interestingly, that big companies do not like to innovate as much as they say that they do when times are challenging. It’s often small businesses that get, I think, particularly creative in tough times. It was a very difficult time for me. I was 22, I just graduated. It eventually led me to creating my own company and my global empire with Zen media.

Shama Hyder:

It really was a blessing that all these doors were closing, but I couldn’t see it at that time. And I know many of you may be in that boat, you watching may be in that boat right now where you feel like life’s handed you some sour lemons and how do you make lemonade out of that? And I understand all too well being in that position of not having a job, being out there trying to figure out where your next step is.

Shama Hyder:

Here are some of my tips for you if you are in that position. If you lost your job or you’re looking for one, I guess I’ll separate the two out, some of these tips are applicable to both. If you are a first time job seeker, and if you’ve lost a job, you’re a seasoned pro, you’ve already been in the workplace, but something’s happened. The first thing I want you to do is take a deep breath, metaphorically, but also literally. When we face any kind of loss it’s very normal to react rather than respond, and what I don’t want you to do in this situation is exactly that. I don’t want you to react, I want you to respond.

Shama Hyder:

And the difference between reactions and response is often just time. You know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’ve ever gotten that email that you felt like, I need to respond to this right away, and then you clackedy, clack, type something up, but then decide, maybe I’ll to step back for a minute, take a little bit of breather and then you come back to it and say, oh, glad I didn’t hit the send button on that one.

Shama Hyder:

Just like this, losing a job can be a major life upheaval. Again, whether you saw it coming or didn’t, it’s tough. What I really want you to do is take a pause, take a breath, and let what’s happened, let it really sit with your or sit with it, if you will, in terms of being able to assess what went wrong, maybe it was maybe you had no say in the matter, maybe it really was just a downsizing of a company, but in all opportunities like this, or all situations like this, lies the opportunity where you can sit back and think about what’s actually happened.

Shama Hyder:

Here’s why this is really important, what you do want to do burn bridges. So often I see someone who’s laid off or loses their job and they react, they don’t respond. And then react in a way that’s not beneficial to them in the longterm or the short term. You really want to take a pause and think about it. The things you say to your current, yes, now past employer, the things that you say to your colleagues about your most recent employer, all these things can really catch up with you. That’s why I really want you to take a break. I want you to not hustle your way through this. I want you to be able to sit with it and really give yourself some time to be able to assess what’s happened, to be able to take that breather so you can respond in a way that’s best.

Shama Hyder:

Now, by the way, I don’t mean you have to take weeks or months to do this, it really can be a 24 hour time period where you unwind, where you really are able to meditate a little bit, right? Get outside, get outdoors, play with your dog. Dogs are awesome. If you’ve got a dog. But really try to unwind and maybe you don’t even talk about what’s happened with other people just yet, just so you have time to be able to decompress, to take it in, to be able to assess and have a better handle.

Shama Hyder:

Now, once you’ve been through this sort of what I … Not even necessarily a mourning period, but really a period of being able to soak it in, being able to … Now that you’ve given yourself enough time to respond and not just react, you can go out there guns blazing and find, and land, that next job, your dream job.

Shama Hyder:

Let’s pivot to sort of the things that I think could really help you if you are looking for a job. And I say this as an employer who’s hiring people. I say this as someone who’s been on that side, not sure when I could get a job or how it was going to work out. One thing you want to get really clear on, and hopefully this time that you take to sort of marinate and let things sink in, you can start thinking about what do you want, right? It’s a beautiful opportunity to be able to ask that question. So many times we’re so busy doing what we’ve been told we need to do, or thought we need to do, the loss of a job is actually a beautiful break because you can now think about what is it that you want to do.

Shama Hyder:

Sure, maybe I got to pay some bills. No one faults you for that, makes sense, but this is your opportunity to think about what would really move you? What’s something that feels meaningful to you? What kind of job do you want? This is a great time if you want to switch industries, if you want to switch roles, but the more clear you are about what you want to do, the easier time you will have landing that job.

Shama Hyder:

I can’t tell you how many times someone emails me and says, I’m looking for a position, I’ve known this person, I maybe worked with them in a capacity. I say, wonderful. What are you looking for? And then they give me a very broad, I’m looking for anything that’s leadership, marketing, sales, and I’m thinking, wow, that’s a lot of buckets. Make it easy for people so they fully know what it is that you’re looking for. I’m ideally looking for X, Y, Z role, which would allow me to contribute A, B, C to a certain company.

Shama Hyder:

It’s okay if your exploratory. You can even say that, and say, I am exploring these things, but here’s where I feel I can add the most value. Most people come at it from a perspective of, well, here’s what I was doing. No, this is your chance to, in many ways, to start a fresh. Think about what’s the contribution would like to be making.

Shama Hyder:

Next, get your resume on point. Guys, there is absolutely no excuse to have a sloppy resume. By sloppy I mean, I’ve seen some resumes that are three, four pages long. Nobody’s reading that, maybe perhaps with the exception of academia where certain things are a little bit different. But you really want to make sure that that resume is sharp, it’s snappy. It’s well worth it to hire a consultant to look over that resume, to give you feedback. A career coach can actually be immensely helpful in figuring out your next steps, but also making sure that you are indeed putting your best foot forward.

Shama Hyder:

One of the cool things I like to see in resumes myself is in a tweet describe yourself, and in a few characters so if someone’s not taking a deep dive, they can creatively get a gist of you. Now, speaking of tweets, make sure that your social media profiles are cleaned up. Now, you may have some political beliefs and no one is stopping you from sharing those. I think it’s important that you take the stance you want. Just know that employers will be judging you on this. I’ve yet to meet an employer who has not looked at social profiles and decided one way or the other about a candidate. Things that I look for, way more than someone’s political beliefs, is I’m really looking for, is this person immersed in the industry, right? Are they reading marketing materials? Are they following the latest blogs? How passionate are they about the industry? You want to make sure that your social media, not just in terms of the don’ts, but the do’s, reflect the things that you are absolutely passionate about.

Shama Hyder:

And one small tip, if you are applying for a company, make sure that you follow their page on LinkedIn. I’ve seen cases where someone applied for a company, the HR person went and saw their LinkedIn profile and found they were following their competitors, but not their company. You want to make sure that there’s not a disconnect. If in your cover letter you’re saying, I’m so excited about this company, I’ve been watching it, makes sure that your social profiles back that up, right? That you have indeed been watching it.

Shama Hyder:

The other thing you want to do is reach out to your network, and your network is bigger than you think it is. Reach out to vendors you might’ve worked with in any capacity in the past. And this is where it really pays off, if you have been a good, decent, human being, most people are going to be more than happy to help you. I can tell you that the emails that come across my desk, if I’ve had the pleasure of working with these people in any capacity, I will go above and beyond to try and help people because it’s the right thing to do, it feels good. It really does feel good to help other people. Give them that opportunity. Let them help you, but make it easy for them. And again, really helps if you’ve been a good person, right? Much easier to go up to someone and say, hey, I’m looking for a position, what do you have? Do you know somebody? Can you make these connections for me?

Shama Hyder:

And once you do that, don’t then just sit back, make sure that you are following up. I see you know this person on LinkedIn, could you please make an introduction? Make that person’s job easier to make sure that you help them help you. Think about your entire network, all the people that you’ve crossed paths with, that you could connect with at this time. And while you’re updating your resume, update your LinkedIn, make sure that it really highlights your strengths. Get those recommendations from people, don’t be shy about asking for recommendation on LinkedIn. People do look at those things and it makes a huge difference.

Shama Hyder:

Now, those are just a few tips on what to do as you’re looking for your new position. If you want me to do more videos on this, or talk a little bit more about how to land a dream job, I’m more than happy to do that. Leave me a comment. Definitely if you are interested in a career in marketing, I actually have a piece on Forbes. You can search for it. It’s called, so you want a career in marketing? And I lay out the exact steps that one should follow if you’re looking for a career in this industry.

Shama Hyder:

If you’ve lost your job, don’t lose hope this, I promise you, looking back, is going to be an opportunity that you didn’t even realize, but I’m here to tell you that it is, and it really could change the trajectory of your life for the better. Leave a comment, ask questions. And if you watched this video, definitely check out more videos. I highly recommend checking out the one on specialization versus generalization. Should you be a specialist or should you be a generalist? It goes really well with some of the things that I’ve just talked about.