Sometimes management is forced to make tough decisions, and some wonderful talent is let go. It happens. I hate that it happens, but it does. These companies are trying to survive so that more don’t find themselves out of a job. Does this mean I’m happy to go? Absolutely not. In the six-and-a-half years I worked for the firm that let me go, I saw it grow from a small startup to the leading company in its field. And I understand the steps it has to take to survive.
So now what? Where do I go from here? This isn’t my first experience with a layoff; my whole department was let go at a previous employer, so I have an idea of what’s next. Here’s what I learned last time:
- How you handle your layoff will lay the groundwork for your job search. Don’t burn your bridges, no matter how tempting it may be. These now-former co-workers are part of your network. You’ll likely need to turn to them for references (the more recent contacts will hold more weight than that supervisor you worked for five-plus years ago, for instance), possible job leads or even advice. And these can be people from any department in your current firm. (You’d probably be surprised at some of the great suggestions you can pick up from the payroll coordinator, or the event planner. They have a different perspective, and can see opportunities you may not notice.)
- Be cooperative and assist your company in making a smooth transition by providing any important information and/or files needed for your job to be handled effectively after your departure. Not only is it professional, but it helps those left behind … and will give them even more reason to provide you with sterling recommendations.
- Try to limit your time for wallowing. You remember your second-grade teacher telling you “the early bird gets the worm”? It wouldn’t be an adage if it didn’t ring true. Make a preliminary list of target companies and job search resources, and get yourself organized. Remember that many, if not most, positions are filled without being advertised. Try to make a contact within each firm if you can. It’s very much a “who you know” world we live in.
- Update your resume if it’s not already current, and make sure you know it upside down and inside out. Keep in mind that you should tweak to tailor it toward the particular company/position each time you apply for a job. Practice interviewing with friends if you can to polish your technique, particularly if you’ve been away from job searching for an extended period of time.
- Treat your job hunting like a full-time job when you start your search. Determine a set number of positions for which you will apply each day and make sure you hit that number. Keep a list of companies and contact names for jobs for which you’ve applied. It’s always helpful to note when you come across a firm with multiple positions available, especially if you can fill more than one of them.
- Keep your optimism. Your job search in this economy won’t likely be easy. But those interviewing you can sense your attitude, and a good one will get you where you want to go much more quickly than a poor one.
Keep these points in mind as you pack your desk and get ready for the next leg of your journey. Good luck, fellow job seekers!
--Posted by Laurie Pasiuk
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