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Your Contract Ended 3 Months Early, Now What?

Feburary 2018- By Johnathon Klink, Sr. Account Manager

contract ended 3 months early

Setting: 2:30pm on a Wednesday. The office is buzzing as employees start to realize their weekend is inching closer, deadlines feel less like dreadlines because everyone is doing their part, and would you look at that - the sun is out!

Enter: Manager walks over to you asking if you have time to talk. Of course you do, you and the team are killing this project, everyone is happy, and in about 48 hours you and the family are headed out of town to the cabin up north for some sun and fun. What’s up?!?

Manager: “I’m so sorry. We’ve just found out we’ve lost funding for the project, we’ll have to let the team go effective ASAP. Today is going to be everyone’s last day.”

You: “Is it okay to cry now or should I wait till I get to my car?”

Bleh. Even writing that made me feel crummy because guess what? It’s a crummy situation. It’s crummy for the company, it’s crummy for that manager, and most of all it’s crummy for you because you just lost your job. Unlike all those TV shows about 4 friends living together in an apartment, when you lose your job you can’t just wait for the laugh track to kick in and the screen to fade out. Bills need to get paid. Families need to be fed. So what on earth do you do - after the necessary exhaling, shaking, cursing, or whatever your cup of tea is…?

Step #1 – Insurance Check
Are you still covered? If so, for how long and how long do you have before you’d need to sign up for Cobra if you don’t get a new job? Is there a deadline and what do I need from my previous employer? I get it, not exactly the most thrilling step in this survival guide but for anyone with kids, or a medical history, this is absolutely Step #1.

Step #2 – Update Your Resume
The best way to pick yourself off the ground and move on is to literally move on in your resume. You can’t apply to new jobs without updating what you’ve been doing so why not just knock it out! Grab a beer/bottle of wine and if you need help, Find a spot where you can focus and, if you need help, visit our Career Readiness/Job Seeker Resource Center. In addition, take a look at some of the tips from our previous post - 5 Resume Truths in Today’s Job Search.

Step #3 – What Do You Want To Do
I’ll just lead off with no, you cannot be an astronaut. Why not? THIS is why not. Professional Athlete? I literally will wait 5-7 minutes for the elevator before I walk up 2 flights of stairs, so that’s out. Iron Chef? If they only ask me to make one dish and that dish is grilled cheese and it will either be very soggy or extremely burnt.

Okay, maybe we just stick with what we were doing before? Yes and no. Depending on your situation, you may have just been given the opportunity to reinvent your life regarding where you live, where you work, and what you do. If you are single and have no obligations, maybe look for jobs in a warmer climate? If you’ve got really young kids and aren’t a fan of the school district maybe it’s time to move to a better one?

The key here is focusing on what YOU want to do because it will be a mess if you start blindly submitting resumes or call staffing firms with the approach of “I can totally teach (Insert Topic), I used it about 8 years ago but I can pick it up again no problem. You are going to confuse them about what you want to do and what you actually can do. So take moment to figure out what you want in your next job, whether it is staying in a similar role, or moving onto something else. Once you’re done, then you’re ready to head over to step 4!

Step #4 – Send Your Information to Staffing Firms
I know – you’re thinking ‘John, you obviously work for a staffing company…we get it.’ I’m aware it’s this kind of shameless promotion that makes people want to stop reading these articles and never use LinkedIn again! However, you should still send your information to staffing companies. Why? Because it works.

Why does it work? Staffing companies see/hear about openings sometimes days and weeks before they hit public sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and other job boards. Instead of competing against 1000 resumes submitted to the company’s website, you’ll most likely be 1 of 6-8 that are submitted to the manager, depending on the company and their submission limits. Being candidate 1/8 as opposed to 1/1000 is the difference between getting noticed by the hiring manager and scoring an interview, versus waiting months until the managers and HR teams have time to process those 1000 resumes in detail. Shocking, I know.

For an even stronger start, I’d recommend not only sending your information to staffing companies letting them know you’re in the market, but also set up a call/meeting so they can get to know you better. This will help them understand your skills, and roles you are looking for and interested in pursuing. Often, this will likely reduce the number of calls you get about new openings that do not match your background or interests.

Step #5 – Leverage Your Existing Network
While staffing companies are responsible for a large number of hires across the US, your existing network can give you an even bigger leg up. If you’ve been on LinkedIn for more than a week, you should realize that it’s a great tool to reconnect with former coworkers and classmates. You can also reach out to see if their company is looking to hire now or in the future. There is no better referral than a friend who already works at that company and can tell the hiring manager you are awesome. Take an hour or so, send out some connections to some long lost friends/coworkers, buy them a coffee, and see what’s out there.

Getting fired is crummy. No one likes to have it happen to them and hopefully it never happens to you. However, on the off chance that next Wednesday at 2:30pm, when the project is going great, the camper is already packed, and the sun is shining, your boss walks over to you and asks, “Do you have time to talk?” I hope you think back to this advice and it will help you find the silver lining to the crummy day. Let’s be honest, you need that vacation and don’t want to spend the entire time worrying about the future!

Are you an IT professional looking for a new opportunity? Apex Systems has over 2,000 job opportunities in locations nationwide. Click here to view them and submit your resume today.

Looking to add top IT talent to your team? Connect with an Apex Systems Account Manager in your area to get started.