By Khalilah Starks

Whether it’s deserved or the company simply has to downsize, many professionals will experience the unfortunate event of losing a job. Personally, I have lost two jobs to company downsizing. The first was probably the most devastating experience ever. I’ll never forget my boss appearing to be choked up as he delivered the news that my position was being eliminated. It was nothing personal. It had nothing to do with my performance. The company just needed to eliminate my position to create cost savings. I spent the first month depressed. My days consisted of sleep, television and ice cream. Job hunting…umm, no. If it didn’t have to do with sleep, television or ice cream, I didn’t want any parts of it. And then one day, something clicked. I decided it was time to end the pity party and find another job. Four months later, I landed on my feet with an even better job than the one I had lost. Funny how that works.

Fast forward 3 ½ years later, I was in the same situation. Talk about bad luck. But, this time, I completely opted out of the pity party and immediately moved forward with the job search. I wasn’t devastated this time around. It’s true what they say – what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. And, guess what. I landed an even better job than the one I had lost. So, what did I learn through these experiences?

1. When one door closes, another one opens. It’s cliché, but true. Excessive sleeping, television and ice cream won’t help you identify that window of opportunity. The key is to dust yourself off immediately and build your plan of attack. Being a couch potato during employment won’t pay off.

2. Instead of jumping right back into the fire, it’s a good idea to take some time to figure out what you want to do next. What was great about your job and what was not so great? If your job was perfect, then that’s easy. You can look to find one that’s just like it. But, what if it wasn’t perfect? Did you suck at your last job? If so, are there additional skills that you need to gain so that you’re successful next time? Or, could your last job simply have been a mismatch? Did you dread going to work every day? If so, it was probably time for a change anyway.

3. It’s best to cultivate and add to your network while you don’t need it. Always maintain a list of contacts that you can reach out to at a moment’s notice. This includes recruiters, former colleagues and former classmates. With social networking sites like LinkedIn, it’s extremely easy to have all of your contacts in one place. So, even if you’re not looking and don’t feel like your job is in jeopardy, add those connections and stay in touch. You never know when you’ll need to use them.

And, the absolute best advice that I can give you…

Read High Powered Professional for great tips on resumes, interviews and job search techniques! Of course, I had to plug my own blog!