Career Advice

5 Ways To Step Up Your Post Layoff Game

Some of the more recent layoff announcements include a frightening 35,000 postal workers at USPS and 30,000 frustrated banking employees at Bank of America. While this seems dismal, keep in mind that mass layoffs have been going on for a long time; and even in a good economy, there were pink slips a plenty. The difference is that now candidates must clamor for the available jobs and compete with their peers like never before.

Sure, if you have been laid off, you could spend time licking your wounds and collecting unemployment, but that doesn’t seem like much fun and is not very productive. Certainly a layoff can be very nerve-wracking; but it can also be a great opportunity to change directions and get your career on a new path.  Here are five ideas to help you beat the layoff blues and find a new job, or even a new profession.

1. Get training: If you have been laid off and are collecting unemployment, now may be the perfect time to get additional job skills by going back to school.  Do your research to determine the best program and curriculum that will give you the most bang for your buck. Consider your personality traits, past experience, interests, and your time frame.  One former administrator I know in the printing industry decided to go for a training program as an insurance agent and was able to successfully reinvent herself.

2. Start your own small business: Think outside of the box. Getting incorporated is a very simple process.  Consider partnering with your former colleagues. Funding may be available via the Small Business Administration. Draft a solid business plan, define your goals and objectives, and set realistic targets. Necessity is the mother of invention. According to the Kaufman Foundation, a group dedicated to entrepreneurship, new businesses lead to innovations, create additional jobs, and produce wealth in society. If you have a good idea for a new business, why not go for it?

3. Maybe you are not one who likes to work for yourself: If this is the case, perhaps you want to consider looking for a position with a small business in addition to seeking jobs at larger corporations. Small businesses account for approximately 50% of all the private sector jobs in the United States. In fact, the SBA estimates that small businesses have generated 64% of net new jobs in the past 15 years. Why limit your job search to large firms? By conducting research on smaller area companies, you can uncover potential job opportunities. Try going to to run a search or check with your local chamber of commerce for leads.

4. Polish off your career documents: When you are competing in the job market, you must present yourself in a compelling way. Your résumé and cover letter should entice hiring managers and recruiters to call you first. You have to convey your value in a way that makes you numero uno. Your presentation must be visually appealing; and your unique achievements and accomplishments have to be clearly spelled out. The initial impression you make can be the difference between getting an interview and getting passed over.

5. Step up your job search by enhancing your social media game: Job search 2.0 is here to stay. To be a part of it, you will want to update your LinkedIn profile and become active in online groups that can help you network to uncover potential job opportunities. Answering job postings is only a small fraction of the work you need to do to secure new employment in today’s job market. Consider uploading a VisualCV as well. While traditional resumes are still the mainstay of the job hunt, the digital résumé format has become increasingly popular. It allows you to display multidimensional information that a paper résumé cannot always fully convey.

I know it can be disheartening to face a layoff. If you are one of the many unemployed caught in a RIF (reduction in force), you owe it to yourself to brainstorm and find a way to advance your career despite the challenges. I hear from people every day that have lost their job and risen to the occasion. Instead of letting it get them down, they have used the layoff as a springboard to leap into the next phase of their career, and you can too.