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The Career Coach: Finding a New Job

It's bound to happen to you sooner or later. What should you do when you lose your job? Here are some tips to landing a new job...

It's bound to happen to you sooner or later. What should you do when you lose your job?

First, don't take it personally. Many of us tie our self-esteem too closely to our work. Don't feel desperate, alone or depressed. It's not the end of the world. In fact, losing your job might be one of the best things that happens to you--it gives you a fresh start.

Before you leave the job, ask for letters of reference, if the circumstances of your termination are positive. Ask for referrals from your supervisor, colleagues or the human resources people. Stay in touch with your peers. They may hear of something in the future that you would be right for. Continue to do a great job until you are out the door. People will remember your professionalism. If you are an artist, get work you have done onto your reel or into your portfolio.

After you leave the job, take a brief vacation to get away from your normal stomping grounds. This will give you a different perspective. Take some time to think about what you liked about the last job and also what you didn't like. Focus on what you want including the kind of company you'd like to work for. Take an assessment of yourself. Make a list of all the skills you learned and the things you accomplished on the job you are now leaving. This list will also be useful in composing your resume. If you have trouble making your list, get some friends to help you with this.

Tips for landing a new job:

1. Don't sound desperate. You are a professional and have experience.

2. Do your homework. Research companies you are interested in and learn all you can about them-- their product, corporate culture (tshirts and jeans, or suit and tie), and the background of the people you would be working with. Ask for a press packet and a financial report and study them. Check out the web site and call the job hotline if they have one.

3. Be a joiner. Volunteer for activities where you will be seen in action in the areas you want to work.

4. Be a learner. If you lack skills required by the companies you have targeted, sign up for classes to learn those skills. Or volunteer for activities where you can learn them. There are plenty of schools which offer low-cost training. Check out the local community colleges or the Abraham Friedman Occupational Center for inexpensive animation courses. Community colleges also offer low-cost courses in programming, marketing, advertising and graphics. Some offer courses in life drawing and animation.

5. Be positive and promote yourself.Make sure your resume and demo reel are ready and you have a clear idea of what you are looking for before you start contacting people for work.

6. In the world of entertainment, many people are hired for the project and then let go at its completion. Be prepared for this by updating your resume and portfolio and demo reel before the project ends. There is no such thing as job security in the entertainment industry. If you don't want to constantly look for work and want to get into animation only because you heard it pays well, look into another line of work.

People who are successful in the animation industry are in it because they love it. If you love it too, and work hard at it all the time, you too, will be successful and have a long career, which may include many jobs.

Make sure your resume, portfolio and demo reel work and work your network. You won't be out of a job for long.


Abraham Friedman Occupational Center, Eric Hulesman, 213-745-2013 X7679, email:

Congratulations You've Been Fired! by Emily Koltnow and Lynne S Dumas published by Fawcett Columbine, New York, 1990

Pamela Thompson is a recruiter and career coach who lives in Sun Valley, California. She is currently recruiting for Big Idea Productions, a computer animation company -- the producers of Veggie Tales, who are based in Chicago, and for Simex Digital Studios in Santa Monica.