Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Before You Hit Submit

Say your job is cut. So you go into overdrive and apply for 17 positions in three days. You contact half your network to rev up your hunt immediately, right?

Careful. Moving too quickly could sabotage your prospects, according to Right Management, an outplacement and employee consulting firm. Your anger, shock and other emotions could spill out, making you "say things about your former employer or colleagues that you really should not be saying," said Melvin Scales, vice president of global transition services for Right Management. "You're processing a lot of change. . . . You haven't given your mind and emotions time to process" if you jump in during the first 72 hours after losing your job.

Instead, Scales suggests people spend those first days deciding what to tell people about their job loss -- and what job they really want next.

Give yourself time to feel vulnerable, angry or disgusted. If necessary, find a job-hunters group to join so you realize you're not alone.

He also suggests exercising, as well as updating your résumé. "Think about not what is lost but what still carries on," he said -- friendships, business relationships and talents.

-- Vickie Elmer

© 2008 The Washington Post Company