Following a year where 2.6 million people lost their jobs, 2009 has unfortunately begun with a continuation of this trend with 598,000 job losses in January according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Key industries such as financial services, construction and manufacturing, which have been hit hard by the financial and credit crises, continue to make headlines by announcing layoffs, indicating that job security isn't as secure as its been in recent years. Being laid off can be a traumatic and stressful experience, but with the right approach and tactics, displaced workers can go from out of work to identifying their next career opportunity quickly and effectively.
If you're in the middle of the job search process right now, here are some things you should think about:
- Don't panic. Often the first reaction to a pink slip is to go into a state of alarm and emotional distress, which can lead to quick, non-strategic decisions or even missteps. Let the news set in and take the first few days to gather your thoughts and develop a plan. You should approach your job search like you would a project at work, with plans, timelines, targets and deliverables clearly mapped out.
- Refine your resume. There are three common mistakes people make with their resumes: too long, too wordy and unfocused. A resume should indicate who you are as a professional, what skills you possess and most importantly how you would add value to a company. And, it should utilize achievement statements to demonstrate how you have helped previous employers achieve their goals.
- Network, network, network. It's times like these that your professional and personal network can be the most helpful. Get out there and let people know you're looking for a new job, because your neighbor, a former classmate or colleague could be the reference you need or could know the person who will ultimately help you land your next career gig. In fact, networking today is easier than ever with social networking sites -- both personal and professional -- that you can use to update people on where you are and what types of opportunities you are seeking.
- Be open-minded. As you pursue a new opportunity don't just limit yourself to one industry or functional area. Think about your transferable skill set and where else you could apply your experiences. This open-minded thinking helps you to expand your options. Also, while looking for permanent work, think about pursuing a temporary or project assignment in the interim. Temporary and part-time positions often serve as paid auditions for permanent, full-time opportunities.
- Look and research before you leap. Before jumping into your next job be sure to do your homework on the company and industry. Is this the right cultural fit? Does the company/industry seem stable enough to withstand the economic slowdown? Does your background enable you to get the job done successfully? Putting this level of thought and consideration into the equation will help to ensure you're not looking for another job anytime in the near future.