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The Secret to Surviving a Layoff

A layoff can be debilitating, with even the mention of the word sending chills down most employees’ spines. Even with the economy in recovery mode, it feels that many companies are still “shedding” headcount – 8% of Hewlett Packard’s workforce, 10,000 workers let go at America Airlines, 8,700 laid off at PepsiCo, etc.

What should you do if you get caught up in all this downsizing? Here are 6 steps you need to know:

  1. Resist the Urge to Vent – Stay calm and resist the urge to do anything drastic. Do not send a scathing email to anyone; do not complain or vent on your Facebook page; do not make a scene. The bottom line is that layoffs have very little to do with you as a person or as an employee. They are business decisions and have more to do with the financial future of the company in question. You are simply in the wrong job, with the wrong company, at the wrong time.

    You do not want to do anything that would prohibit you from using anyone at this company as a reference. Refusing to provide a reference for your most recent job is a huge red flag to new, potential employers. With the unemployment rate still near 8%, this is not something you can afford.

  2. Assess the Situation – The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that over 55% of unemployed persons have been unemployed 15+ weeks. This is a rough job market and realistically, it could take you a few months to find employment. This means that you face the very real possibility of making due with less income. In some severe cases, you may have no real income for the foreseeable future.

    Assess your situation. Look at the amount of cash you have (in checking and savings accounts) and figure out your monthly expenses. Once you have these numbers, make a budget and stick to it. Look to see where you can cut back and determine how you might earn some income during this transition time.

  3. Face the Fact that You Now Have a New Job – Finding a new job is probably the biggest DIY project you will ever undertake. No recruiter, staffing manager, outplacement counselor, etc. knows you as well as you know yourself or is as invested in your future as you. Therefore, you need to treat your job search as if it were a job itself.

    It is extremely easy to convince yourself that you are being productive and “doing everything you can” because you apply for a couple of jobs everyday via the big, well-known job boards. Your job search is not a numbers game. You do not have a daily quota to meet and the freedom to watch TV afterwards. Your job search needs to be about quality vs. quantity and about ingenuity and persistence vs. complacency and brevity.

  4. Start Your Job Search – To find a new job, you need to be organized. You need to prepare your résumé (as soon as possible while your job accomplishments are fresh on your mind), you need to quantify your skills, and you need to research potential opportunities.

    For many, being laid-off is a huge opportunity to take their career in a new direction. Are there new skills you can/need to acquire? Would you like to relocate? Do you have skills that would allow you to freelance? Look at all the possibilities. Make a “career wishlist” of sorts to identify any/all skills that you have in order to correlate them with all opportunities you come across.

  5. Network, Network, Network – Networking is key to getting back in the workforce. This means more than “friending” or “connecting” to others online. This is important; you do need to manage your online presence, but you do need to get out and meet and people too. Join professional organizations or clubs that pertain to your industry. Often these groups have websites and on their websites, jobs are listed that you might not find on the big online job boards.

    Reconnect with your friends and former co-workers. You never know where the next job lead will come from – a conversation about a friend of a friend who is looking for a graphic designer or a person in your basketball league who has had success with a local staffing firm.

  6. Find Ways to Make Money in the Interim – Think about temporary work. Temporary employment has been called the one bright spot of the employment landscape recently, and it is expected to keep growing at a high rate as many companies realize the benefits of utilizing a temporary workforce during this recovery.

    In fact, “temping” can be the single most productive strategy for finding a full-time job. Don’t let the misconceptions of temporary work deter you. Temporary and temporary-to-hire work is a fantastic way for you to gain experience while allowing you access to great, local employers.

  7. Consider Snelling as part of your job search. We have offices across the nation and a talented staff that is ready to help you find your best-fit opportunity. Find your local Snelling office and begin your online job search today!