Article: Laid Off! Now What?

Laid Off! Now What?

The dreaded pink slip. Did you get one? If so, you’re not alone. Unemployment is at an all-time high. Many rock-solid companies have had layoffs and many smaller businesses have closed their doors for good. It’s a tough time to be unemployed, but it’s not the end of the world.

If you’ve recently lost your job don’t worry. Panicking isn’t going to help you. Instead, you need to develop a job hunting strategy, a calm approach to solving your employment problem.

The following tips are a good place to start.

Realize that job hunting IS your job. It’s tempting to sleep in, watch too much TV, and take care of tasks around the house, but that’s not how you find a job. Put your time and creativity into your job search, and you’ll minimize the amount of time you’re unemployed.

Update your resume. Since you’ll need a resume to apply for most professional positions, make getting your resume in shape a priority. It should present your work experience and highlight your special talents and unique abilities.

Remember that the goal of a resume is to get an interview, not a job. Make sure your focus is on how the employer will benefit by hiring you, not why you want or need a job.

Tell everyone you know that you’re job hunting. Despite the number of job postings in the classified ads in newspapers and online, the #1 way to get a job is still old-fashioned networking. Let the people you know become eyes and ears for you to find out about unadvertised jobs.

Include in your list of contacts former employers and coworkers, friends, family members and people you know from any clubs or organizations you belong to. Tell your contacts the kind of job you’re seeking and ask them to let you know if they hear of any job leads or know any employers that might be interested in your skills.

Put social networking to use too. You’re already let your immediate contacts know you’re job seeking, but now you need to expand that network. Fortunately, technology now offers an easy way to do grow your circle of friends.

Social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are a great way to meet new people and establish a connection with them. Eventually, they may be able to steer job leads your way or even just provide friendship and support, something that every job hunter can use.

Check online employment sites. The newspaper classifieds are woefully thin these days. That’s because most employers have switched to online advertising to promote their job openings. You can check huge sites like Monster.com as well as smaller niche sites and blogs that perhaps display ads related specifically to your field.

Internet employment sites will provide job listings, and some will also allow you to post your resume for employers to see.

Colleges can be a good resource. If you attended college, your school’s alumni association or its career counseling department may have job listings or job search resources they can share.

Your local community college or university may offer similar services to the general public. It’s worth checking.

Seek out job fairs. You can find out about local job fairs through online career sites as well as through your local newspaper. Even if the job fair isn’t directly related to your specific career, you may want to attend to perhaps make some new contacts or explore other options.

You’ll also find job fairs are a great way to hone your interviewing skills as you talk with potential employers.

Consider part-time options. If finding full-time employment isn’t working out, then seek out part-time jobs. Sometimes you can obtain part-time, freelance or contract work and have it blossom into a full-time job or at least help you stay afloat while you seek something more substantial.

Think creatively. Tough times call for thinking outside the box. Are the abilities you currently have transferable to a different kind of position? How can you present your experience so as to make you attractive to employers outside your immediate field?

Should you consider taking a class or getting some training to broaden your capabilities? Can you take a hobby or special interest and make it into a business for yourself? Be open to considering all sorts of options, and you may find it opens many new doors.

Very few people can honestly say they enjoy job hunting. No matter how experienced and successful the individual, unemployment can be stressful and even depressing. But don’t get discouraged. With some hard work and creativity, you will eventually find a job.

Some day soon you might even find yourself looking back and thinking, “Getting laid off from that old position was a blessing in disguise. I never dreamed things could work out so well.”

Want more ideas to help you plan and succeed in your job search? Check out the book, Job Hunting in a Tough Economy. Learn more about the book here.

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