Recently unemployed? 5 ways to plan for your next job

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Millions of people across the country have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis and the numbers and the stories behind them are simply heartbreaking.

But employment experts say there are ways to use this time to prepare for a new opportunity.

A few months ago, Jimmie Spidle started a new sales position at a popular technology company.

"It seemed to be the height of my young career," he said.

The 28-year-old Chicagoan absolutely loved his job, but a few weeks after Illinois' stay-at-home went into effect, he and nearly 1,000 of his colleagues were laid off.

"I guess whether I admit to it ornate, I may have a little anxiety," he said. "It's definitely a lot of reflection time."

Employment expert Kimberly Shamley says reflecting and even grieving are normal after a job loss. But after a few weeks, she says try to pull yourself together and start preparing for your next opportunity.

"This is a time when you can determined what does your dream job look like. Is it working remotely? Is it something in a different field? So it can be a blessing in disguise," Shamley said.

She says start with job networking sites like LinkedIn. You can introduce yourself to prospective employers, send your resume and even try to set up a Zoom meeting to formally introduce yourself.

You can also attend free webinars online that'll help you discover new skill or sharpen the ones you already have, take free online courses at Ivy League schools like Harvard or learn a second language through apps like Babbel.

"That's always something that's impressive, always something that employers are looking for, that bilingual capability," Shamley said.

It's advice worth exploring for people like Spidle, who's encouraging others in his position to not give up.

"Certain things are closed, certain opportunities aren't available to you," Spidle said. "Push past that. Dig in your bag of resources and keep going."

Human resources experts say it's possible you could see a pay cut in your next role, but if it's a position that could help get you closer to your dream job, it may be worth it.

She also says now may be a good time to clean up your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts. Employers will sometimes look at those as well.
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