DEAR HARRIETTE: My contract wasn’t renewed at my job, and I have no backup plan. I’m devastated. This was my dream job. I know that there was plenty of room for improvement on my end, but they really made it seem that I would have at least another six months to learn and grow within the company. Severance pay was not in my contract, so I have no clue what to do until I find another job. I’m discouraged about even looking for a new job right now. How do I figure out what’s next for me? -- Nonrenewal
DEAR NONRENEWAL: First, do an honest assessment of your job performance at your old job and the warning signs along the way to your dismissal. You need to figure out why this was a surprise to you so that you can avoid it in the future. What were you not doing well enough? How can you improve in those areas in the future?
Next, think about what your top skills are and what types of jobs are the best match for you. Tweak your resume with these jobs in mind and start applying again. Use LinkedIn to post your status and talk about yourself a bit. Go to job search websites and look for opportunities that reflect your interests and aptitude. You may have to explain what happened at this most recent job. Think about a strategic answer that is honest about your vulnerabilities but keeps you looking appealing to a future employer.