NC State Extension Publications


Turn your focus to creating a new future as soon as you become separated from your employer. This transition time is an opportunity to consider what direction you would like to take for your future. View yourself as employed full time — 35 to 40 hours per week — creating your new future.

Establish and work a regular schedule to accomplish your goal. Studies show there is a direct relationship between the number of hours a person spends looking for work and the length of time it takes to get a job.

Decide Career Direction

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Consider whether this is an opportune time to change your career focus. Do you have enough savings and projected income to support changing your career direction? The Workforce Development Office/Unemployment Assistance Office can provide information about education opportunities for displaced workers seeking to make a career change.

The Career OneStop website and the Workforce Development Boards have a list of industries and jobs expected to grow in the future. Do any of these jobs appeal to you? Find out about financial support that may be available while you are in training or school. Part-time work may extend your ability to engage in training. Explore whether your past employer or some other organization has a need for part-time assistance.

Make a "To Do" List

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Your daily schedule will be more productive if you plan your activities.

  • Register for unemployment.

  • Contact the Workforce Development Board in your area for information, job search assistance, training/education assistance and more.

  • Contact placement agencies, unions, professional associations, your college’s career center or technical school’s placement center.

  • Review help wanted ads, Yellow Pages and online job postings for companies that might need your skills.

  • Energize social networks. Let family, friends, and other social contacts know of your job search.

Prepare for Interviews

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You will want to be ready for opportunities that may present themselves unexpectedly.

  • Assemble clothes to wear to two or three interviews and place them together for easy access. Many companies interview a candidate multiple times.
  • If need be, get the clothes cleaned and shoes shined.
  • Create a master resume with all of your experience. Edit the resume when applying for specific positions. Search the Internet for effective resume examples and make sure yours is proofread, concise and clear.
  • Pay special attention to your skill sets and consider how your skills may be “transferable” to other industries. This will help you prepare for interview questions.
  • Be sure you can get to the interview safely and on time. Make sure your car is “road safe,” have a map or directions to get to the interview and plan to leave with enough time to arrive early.
  • Google yourself. Many employers will Google a prospect’s name to see what is on the Internet. If you posted something as a college prank, have an answer prepared if it comes up in the interview.

You are now ready at a moment’s notice for an opportunity.

Network and Connect With Support Groups

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Many jobs are filled without formal advertising. Enlist assistance from former co-workers, your family and social networks. Give your networks a general sense of your skills so they will think of you when they hear of openings that might interest you.

Join job search support groups for information, ideas and support. Look for support groups at:

  • Your church or another church

  • The Employment Commission

  • The calendar section of the local newspaper

  • If you can’t find one, start or help start a job search group

Use Online Resources

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Online resources are useful to research careers, occupational compensation ranges and to find position announcements. The websites here are places to find the most used and frequented job search sites, information on field-specific sites and sites to post your resume.

Career OneStop

Explore careers, self-assessment tools, salary ranges by profession, resume tips, informational interview tips and more.

Federal Government Portal website

Government information by topic. Alphabetical index to government agencies. Links to information categories such as, Jobs and Education, Money and Taxes, Consumer Guides and more.

Office of Personnel Management

The official site listing Federal employment opportunities.

Time for Self and Personal Goals

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Spend some time accomplishing a personal goal. Schedule one afternoon a week to exercise, work on writing a book, organize your closets or achieve whatever personal goal you never had time for before. Be sure to schedule it after you have completed your primary job for the day – searching for and creating your new future.

Find more information at the following NC State Extension websites:

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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