Game Over, Man! … Or An Extra Life
Here are 8 tips for what to do after you lose your job from my own personal experience:
So, you’ve lost your job. Now what?
Losing your job can feel like the end of the world, but it doesn’t have to. Here’s a list of steps you can take to help you gain a 1UP after you’ve been let go:
1. Don’t Panic
I know it’s easier said than done, but take some advice from the Hitchhiker’s Guide and “Don’t Panic.” The gaming industry is a highly volatile one and it’s likely you’ll find yourself in the midst of a restructuring, pivot, redundancy, or any other of those fancy terms for “let go” at some point in your career. I did. This is part of the game, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
2. Take Some Time
If you’ve been let go, take some time to unwind. Sleep in, watch movies, take walks – catch up on the things you haven’t had time to do while you were busy working on project after project. Your job loss is a loss, so It’s important for you to take the time to process (and grieve) it. Take a few days or weeks to rebuild your energy before diving into the job search – you’re going to need the power up.
3. Update Your Resumé
Once you’re ready to get back to work, the first order of business is updating your resumé. The gaming industry is constantly changing, so it’s important you’re showing off all the new skills you gained at your last job. Not a resume wizard? No problem. You can hire someone to help you – or if you’re short on cash, you can ask a friend to help. There are also plenty of free resources out there to take advantage of like: resumegenius.com or canva.com.
4. Post It!
I know that may sound obvious, but it’s important. You didn’t just do all that work on your resumé so you could sit around and wait. Get it out there! There are many places out there you can post it, but make sure you hit LinkedIn Jobs. In my opinion, it’s the best job search option out there if you want to work in the video game industry – and it’s entirely possible you’ll have a recruiter reach out to you.
5. Tell Your Story
Let everyone know you’re looking for a new job. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok – whatever platforms you use. There’s a reason they call it social networking and it’s time to use your network. Once you’ve posted it – keep posting! The way social media algorithms are set up, not everyone sees your posts every time. You’ve got to keep at it – and as always – ignore the haters.
6. Build a Routine
Looking for a job is a full time job, and it’s important to treat it like one. Make sure you build a structure like you would for a normal work day: designating time for emails, follow-up calls, lunch, etc. Most importantly, make sure you set an end time for your work day. When you’re off the clock, you’re off the clock – that goes for worrying too. Curious how to set up a routine while routine-less? This is what I suggest:
a. Set Your Work Hours:
If you’re used to working 9-5, Monday through Friday - great – start there! If not, make sure you establish set working hours and respect them. Set your alarm just like you would when you were employed and “go home” at the end of the day. Don’t let your job search bleed into your weekend. Job hunting is stressful, you’ll need this time to rest and recuperate.
b. Designate Times for Emails:
Set aside an hour a few times per day to send out and respond to emails – and close your email client in between. Keeping it open can be distracting, especially when you’re waiting not so patiently for some good news to hit your inbox.
c. Follow-Up After a Few Days:
There are many different schools of thought on when to follow-up, but I don’t believe you need to wait a full week after sending out an email or resumé. If you’re polite and respectful, 2-3 days is just fine. The folks that do the hiring can get busy, and following-up shows them you’re eager and interested in their company. If you’re not sure what to say, try to add a new piece of information about yourself and why you’d be a good fit for that job/company.
d. Send Out Your Resumé Daily:
A job search is a search. It’s unlikely you’ll get hired after sending out one resumé and crossing your fingers. I recommend looking high and low and sending out several resumés daily (even to places that might feel like a longshot or like they’re not quite what you want). Don’t be too picky about each job you apply to being the perfect fit. While I don’t suggest you settle, you never know where something will lead. It’s possible someone will see your resumé and call you about a job that hasn’t been posted yet. Plus, it always feels nice if someone responds, even if you don’t want the job.
e. Schedule Breaks and Take Them:
Like everything else on this list, I recommend you add breaks to your calendar. Take a full lunch break and several screen breaks throughout the day. Leave your house if possible. Then, when you’re done with the day, allow yourself to take a break from worrying as well. Just like the old 8-Bit system, we need to hit the reset button too.
7. Refine as You Go
In addition to job searching, now is a good time to do some soul searching. You may find yourself being pulled toward a part of the industry you didn’t anticipate, and now is a great time to explore your options and refocus your goals. Allow yourself to refine your searches and tailor your resumé as you learn more about where you want to go.
8. Be Good to Yourself
This is going to be a hard process. You’ll experience disappointment, hear back from less people than expected, and you may even get ghosted. However, if you aim high and continue being good to yourself, you’ll ultimately get where you want to go. Every layoff and hardship in my life has led to bigger and better things: an extra life, not a game over – so get out there and press start.
Those were my 8 tips for what to do after you lose your job. In the comments below let me know what you think and if you have any questions. Thanks for reading! Don’t miss out on my podcast and my YouTube channel!