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Steps to Survive a Layoff

Updated on September 17, 2016

Job loss is one of the most stressful things you can endure. It will affect everything in your life: your relationships, your ego, your health and overall state of mind. I know. I have been laid off five times (I work in a very volatile industry) In that time I have learned a few things that can make the event and the process of getting back to work a little more bearable.

  1. Start Early- In three of my experiences I had a little time to prepare. There was something of a winding down process that happened for these positions and we had a few weeks of employment before we were out of work. If that is the case, take a quick check of your financials and see what your mandatory expenses (rent, mortgage, utility, debt) look like. It is always a good practice to know what absolutely has to go out every month. Second, prep your resume and ask for references. Most going forward employers frown on having existing employees give references or recommendations for employees looking for different jobs. But there are always sympathetic supervisors who are willing if you ask, especially if it is through a site like LinkedIn.

  2. Use the Internet-the internet has become so engrained in our society that it is now one of the better places to find a job. The first step I would recommend after updating your resume is to create a profile on LinkedIn. So many companies now peruse this site specifically for candidates. It allows you to tell about your work history, activities, education, special talents, etc. It is also used by many companies in the job application process. These employers use LinkedIn to auto-populate application fields when applying for a job if you select to upload your profile. This saves a lot of time. The best places I have found to look for a job is through Indeed, LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Indeed is an aggregator. It takes a couple of days but most postings from other sites end up on Indeed. It is a nice place to see what’s available. I also highly recommend Glassdoor and LinkedIn. Glassdoor typically has nice search functions so that you do not have to wade through weeks and weeks of postings. If you find yourself out of work for a period of time, I recommend using the “postings in the last week” search to find the freshest opportunities available. I also like Glassdoor because of its reviews and salary segments on companies. You will get a better idea of what compensation might look like and working environment might be like from these sections. I also highly (HIGHLY) recommend “connecting” with everyone you know on LinkedIn. I was apprehensive of this at first, especially with people that I did not enjoy working with. However, what I found is that the more people you connect with the more ideas you have to look for a position. It comes through in their streams as they connect with other people and companies. There were a number of different companies in my space that I did not even realize were there. It just makes the possibilities that much greater. Finally, learn your search terms. If your position can be described a few different ways, then take the time to search each of those terms separately. My industry is supply chain so I learned all the different possible descriptions for supply chain. They included terms like inventory, replenishment, sales, fulfillment, business, etc. You never know how a job is going to be posted by an employer. It is better to cover all of your bases then risk missing out on something. I also got real generic with my search on occasion. By simply putting in the term “analyst” or “planner” I was able to capture anything that people could have possible posted under.

  3. Exact Match-this is something of a funny and frustrating one. I came across this by accident but quickly realized how important it is. In one of the job postings that I applied to, it had a phrase that read “your resume should reflect the job description as stated”. This translates to: your resume should use the exact same descriptions and titles as we have used on our posting. A couple of weeks later while having a recruiter help me with a position, there was a note on the job description she had sent me that stated that I should use these exact terms when talking with the employer she was working with. I guess this is what HR has de-evolved into, the inability to understand relevant work experience as it applies to their needs. Even with that frustrating fact, I still do it. Whenever I would populate from LinkedIn to the employers site, I would go back and change all of the key words, titles and descriptions to the ones that the poster has used.

  4. Keep Going-a huge mistake I made early on. I thought I got real lucky with a new position as my current position was winding down. Everything about the application, my correspondence with the manager and interviews said that I had the job. I didn’t get it. But in the few weeks that went by, I really stopped looking for quality jobs since I was so sure I had a position. Like the saying goes “nothing ever happens until it happens”. Even if you feel really good about a job, an interview, a manager, etc, DO NOT stop looking for jobs until you are actually offered one.

  5. Stay Positive-this is huge and the longer you go, really difficult. This is really a frustrating process. And it is just that-a process. I’ve had employers tell me that they were “going to move fast” on a position and it still took them six weeks to make a decision. On what planet is this fast? All the same, I made a weekly calendar for myself noting what days I would make my job contacts and review postings. After that, I began to do things that helped my state of mind. I learned to really love my road bike. I started working out a little more. I found one new recipe a week to try. The reality is that you can only apply to so many jobs. There are only so many out there. However, you need to keep your sanity by developing and reinforcing positive elements and characteristics of your life. When you come through this, you will feel a lot better about yourself.


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