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What to do after a layoff

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woman with boxWhether you leave your job voluntarily, your position is cut due to a reduction in force or your role is eliminated in a restructuring, the change in routine can be difficult. No job is guaranteed forever, so it’s a good idea to always be ready to answer these questions:

  • How would I spend my time if I lost my job?
  • What can I do to keep myself in good shape to land a new job should the need arise?

One option is to get involved in a professional association, says Cheryl Palmer of Call To Career. “A pro­­fessional association is the best place to find people in your field who have connections to organi­­zations that hire people in your field of expertise,” she says. Asso­­cia­­tions often need people to serve on committees, which are a great way to network with others.

Palmer also recommends you up­­date your résumé and make sure your online profile is complete and reflects your abilities and the experience that makes you unique. “Put yourself in a position to be found by a recruiter by placing your profile on LinkedIn,” she says.

An added benefit of LinkedIn is that it offers job search options and lets you see who you’re connected to who works for the company that has the vacancy, Palmer says. You can then network your way into a company instead of simply applying for a job online and hoping for a reply.

When you’re out of work, you should manage your time as if you were actually employed, says Steve Spires of BPI group. Have set times to research jobs, make calls and  work on your networking.

“Adding structure to their days gives people a greater sense of control,” he says. “It also gives their day a definite end point so they’re not just aimlessly surfing the Internet or updating their résumé until late in the night.” This daily structure can also give you a sense of accomplishment, which will help you stay positive during your search.

Finally, figure out what it is that makes you stand out. “I recommend people use this time to identify that one unique quality they can bring to a future employer—what do I offer that a business really wants and needs?” Spires says. “I’ve found that once people identify this standout quality, they assume a whole new level of confidence.”

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