To help IEEE members cope with losing a job, The Institute asked Chenyang Xu for advice. The IEEE Fellow is president and cochairman of Perception Vision Medical Technologies, known as PVmed. The global startup, which is involved with AI-powered precision radiotherapy and surgery for treating cancer, is headquartered in Guangzhou, China. Xu was formerly general manager of the Siemens Technology to Business North America.
Included with his advice are ways IEEE can help.
Beef up your tech and leadership skills with online courses
Although Xu isn’t a financial advisor, he says the first thing to do when you lose your job is to “slim down financially.” Do what it takes to make sure you have enough money to support yourself and your family until you land your next job, he says.
“Don’t assume you’ll find a job right away,” he cautions. “You might not find one for six months, and by then you could become bankrupt.”
After attending to your finances, Xu says, the next step is to reflect on your career.
“Being laid off gives you some breathing room,” he says. “When you were working, you had no choice in what kind of work you had to do. But now that you’re laid off, you need to think about your career in 5 to 10 years. You now have experience and know what you like to do and what you don’t.”
Ask yourself what makes you fulfilled, he says, as well as what makes you happy and what makes you feel valued. Then, he says, start looking for jobs that check all or some of the boxes.
“Now that you’re laid off, you need to think about your career in 5 to 10 years. You now have experience and know what you like to do and what you don’t.”
Once you’ve figured out what your long-range career plan is, you most likely will need to learn new skills, Xu says. If you’ve decided to change fields, you’ll need to learn even more.
IEEE offers online courses that cover 16 subjects. There are classes, for example, on aerospace, computing, power and energy, and transportation. The emerging technologies course offerings cover augmented reality, blockchain technology, virtual reality, and more.
Help with finding jobs and consulting gigs
Looking for a new position? The IEEE Job Site lists hundreds of openings. Job seekers can upload their résumé and set up an alert to be notified of jobs matching their criteria. The site’s career-planning portal offers services such as interview tips and help with writing résumés and cover letters.
IEEE-USA offers several on-demand job-search webinars. They cover topics such as how to find the right job, résumé trends, and healthy financial habits. You don’t have to live in the United States to access them.
To earn some extra money, consider becoming a consultant, Xu says.
“Consulting can be an excellent bridge to bring in income while working to secure the next job when facing the situation that your job search may take months or longer,” he says. “For some, consulting can be the next job.”
IEEE-USA’s consultants web page offers a number ofservices. For example, members can find an assignment by registering their name in the IEEE-USA Consultant Finder. Those who want to network with other consultants can use the site to search for them by state or by IEEE’s U.S. geographic regions. The website also offers resources to help consultants succeed, such as e-books, newsletters, and webinars.
To determine how much to charge a client, the IEEE-USA Salary Service provides information from IEEE’s U.S. members about their compensation and other details.
If you are financially able and have the right ideas and expertise, Xu says, another option might be to launch your own company.
The IEEE Entrepreneurship program offers a variety of resources for founders. Its IEEE Entrepreneurship Exchange is a community of tech startups, investors, and venture capital organizations that discuss and develop entrepreneurial ideas and endeavors. There’s also a mentorship program, in which founders can get advice from an experienced entrepreneur.
The benefits of networking and social media
Don’t overlook the power of networking in finding a job, Xu advises.
“You need to reach out to as many people as possible,” he says.
“You will be surprised about how many contacts you can meet who might help you find a job, mentor you, or give you information about a company that might be hiring,” he says.
Take advantage of LinkedIn and other professional social media outlets, Xu suggests. He adds that you should let your followers know you are looking for a position.
If you are knowledgeable about a specific topic, he encourages posting your thoughts about it to display your expertise to prospective employers.
Consider joining the IEEE Collabratec networking platform. Members have access to IEEE’s membership directory, where they can find contacts who might help them find a job. They also can join communities of members who are working in their technical areas, such as artificial intelligence, consumer technology, and the Internet of Things.
Relocation can be an adventure
If you are still having a hard time finding a job, consider moving to a different region of your country—or to another country—where jobs are more plentiful, Xu says.
“Relocating,” he says, “may open up whole new opportunities or adventures that are fulfilling to you or your family.”
This article appears in the September 2023 print issue as “Resources for Tech Workers Coping With Job Loss.”
Kathy Pretz is editor in chief for The Institute, which covers all aspects of IEEE, its members, and the technology they're involved in. She has a bachelor's degree in applied communication from Rider University, in Lawrenceville, N.J., and holds a master's degree in corporate and public communication from Monmouth University, in West Long Branch, N.J.