Key Strategies that Help You Bounce Back After a Layoff

January 13, 2012  |  
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By Rhonda Campbell

Layoffs occur even when economies are strong, and that much more frequently during economic downturns. If you know how to respond to company layoffs, you can position yourself for growth and increased career opportunities. You can also serve as an example to others that it’s possible to bounce back with a renewed passion for career growth, opportunity and dedication after a layoff.

Employers Struggle to Find Qualified Workers to Fill Vacant Jobs

In its November 3, 2011 “Job Market Forecast Calls for Increased Layoffs” report, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shared that job cuts in the service and manufacturing sectors were expected to increase at the close of the year. Oddly, recruiting to fill vacant jobs in these industries was expected to be tough. Jennifer Schramm, SHRM’s workplace trends and forecasting program manager said, “Considering that millions of people are actively seeking work and still cannot obtain employment in their industries, the rise in recruiting difficulty may be attributed to new or enhanced skill requirements for newly created, high-level jobs.”

As you seek new employment, this is just one way that you can leverage your talents, skills and abilities to land new jobs. The fact that employers are struggling to find qualified workers is also an indication that you can bounce back after a layoff. To help you do this, the following are key strategies and action steps you can take should you experience a layoff.

How You Can Effectively Bounce Back After a Job Layoff

Be gentle with yourself. Layoffs bring change and humans generally resist change consciously and/or subconsciously. It can also feel scary to face the fact that you don’t know what the coming days or weeks will be like. After all, you had a pattern where you pretty much knew what your days would be like. Now that predictability is gone. You may feel out of sorts with that fact, so be gentle with yourself as you move through this “new” phase of your life’s journey.

Create a schedule you can enjoy. Continue to get out of bed in the mornings rather than sleeping in until noon. Use the time you formerly spent commuting to exercise and enjoy a healthy breakfast. Participate in three to four enjoyable activities (e.g. listening to favorite music, enjoying a bubble bath) each day.

Contact your state unemployment office. As soon as you’re laid off contact your state unemployment office and apply to receive unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. The date you file for UI benefits can impact the amount of weekly or bi-weekly UI payments you receive as many states calculate the number of weeks you worked and the gross wages you earned during the previous four quarters to arrive at the total amount of UI payments you will receive.

Network with other professionals. Let former colleagues, relatives and friends know you’re looking for quality work. Also tell them the types of jobs you’re seeking. Be sure to tell them about your specific skills, talents and abilities. If you set aside five to 10 hours a week to network with a circle of professionals, the likelihood that you’re name will pop into these people’s heads as they learn of job openings increases.

View the search for quality work as your new job until you are employed again. Soon after you’re laid off, commit to spending a certain amount of time (e.g. three hours) a day networking and seeking employment. You were hired once (perhaps several times since you graduated from high school). You know you’re employable; you will land work.

Continue to learn. If you want to switch occupations, consider reading books or taking low-cost courses at your local community college to learn as much as you can about the new occupation. This can help prepare you to step into new jobs with confidence and ease.

Study the industry. Should you decide to start your own business, check with your state’s unemployment office to see if you qualify to receive unemployment payments through your state’s self-employment program. Use money from the program as capital to launch your business. Additionally, join industry associations, network with other attendees and study the industry (e.g. marketing trends). Also familiarize yourself with local, regional and federal laws and policies (e.g. payroll tax, sales tax, employee records) your new business must adhere to.

As you implement one or more of these strategies, in addition to job search strategies of your own, remember that if you firmly believe you’ll land a better job and you hold to that belief, you will secure quality employment. It’s also important that you not throw in the towel and give up. After all, you don’t want to give up on your search when landing a rewarding job might be only a week away. 

Rhonda Campbell, an East Coast journalist, is the owner of Off The Shelf radio and publisher of Long Walk Up and the forthcoming Love Pour Over Me.

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