Q&A Monday: What to do after losing your job?


I just found myself out of a job for the first time in 20 years and am searching for another tech job. I am looking for some things that I can do while I am looking to help my job search, is there anything you recommend?

Richard Newsome
Portland, Oregon


I always find it funny that people keep asking me about jobs, I am sure there are other blogs out there that can give you good job hunting experience. Though I have been on both sides of the desk, I’ve been the one looking for new candidates and I’ve been unemployed and looking. So on some level I know exactly what it’s like to be without a job and looking for an edge to get back in. Here are some really good tips that I got from other blogs, personal and professional advice that I received.

1) Don’t forget your network

One of the things that I’ve learned about the tech world, is that it is a small world. There are many times, I’ve been on the lookout for a job and found out of an opening through a friend, who may or may not have heard it from another friend. Also keep in touch with people you use to work with, they are always a good source of information about other companies and maybe had a job nibble that is more your fit than theirs. I’ve even had further network introductions through friends, and not just technology friends, use this network to help you. There is no guarantee that this will find you a job, but more eyes looking are better.

2) Catch up on learning

One of the things you hear most about being in technology field is that technology is constantly changing, having some down time is a good chance to pick up on learning. I know this seems counter-intuitive, since money is tight when you don’t have a job, but look for one that fits your tight budget. The more skills that you start to pick up the better you chances at you can find a new job.

3) Work for free

I know this one sounds completely crazy but hear the idea out. If you have a bit of programming persuasion, put some time into an open source project. This can help keep your skills sharp, and also add some nifty credits to your resume. Another place to donate your time is to a local charity, one the non-profits on my resume was a great help in getting me some interviews. Plus if you are anything like me, after sitting in your house only leaving for job interview, you can start going crazy.

4) Get certifications

This at first kinda goes along with learning, but it goes a little beyond that. I personally am under the impression that certifications fall way behind to experience. I can’t tell you how many people who were certified, that I could run circles around. Yet, there is one advantage of them, and that’s for the folks in HR, who are usually the gateway into an interview. They look for these keywords, and if they are the first to look at your resume, then it’s good to have them.

5) Don’t be stingy on pay

In case you hadn’t notice, we are in a recession and always holding out for more money isn’t always a great strategy. I’ve seen people price themselves out a job, and that’s OK if you have a job and looking, but if you are unemployed that may backfire and keep you looking. I was very open when I was unemployed, because I needed money coming in to help me continue living. I usually didn’t give a number when they were asking for what I was looking for as a salary, I let them throw a number out…and sure some of them were less than I was making but it was something compared to nothing.

If there are any other tips you might think are important, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. If you have any more questions, please send them to me at me@jimguckin.com. I’ll even answer the job hunting questions.


If you have any questions that you want Jim to answer, from business servers to home computers, drop him a line at me@jimguckin.com, and he’ll try to answer your question. Check back every Monday for a new Question and Answer session, and during the rest of the week for other technical insights.


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