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“I have some difficult news that affects you and your position with the company.”

Hearing those words is enough to send anyone into panic mode. But landing a new job after a layoff, downsizing or company unraveling (as in the case of Lehman Brothers) takes thoughtful planning.

Here’s how to rebound from a job shake-up:

Update your résumé, pronto. Hearing layoff rumors? Invest the time now in transferring your latest performance review, summary of achievements, work samples and letters of praise to a jump drive, so you’ll have access to them outside the office.

Determine whether taking a temp job while you search for a full-time position could give you some immediate relief. Going through the exercise of adding up expenses and finding your bottom-line income needs will make you feel as if you’re doing something to take control of your career, says Doug Matthews, president of Right Management, a human resources consulting and professional staffing company.

Quick stat:
The number of people taking temp work has risen 10% in the past two years, according to Right Management.

Conduct your job search strategically
by targeting the position you want and the companies where you want to work. Remember that if scores of professionals in your field are also job hunting, you’ll need to be even more creative about where to apply. Consider a smaller company or another industry that may need your skills.

Practice your pitch with a trusted friend or family member—but only after taking at least 72 hours to work through your emotional reaction to your job loss. The goal: to rid your words of anxiety or negative emotion.

Network. That’s how 42% of people found their current jobs, reports a Right Management survey. Make a list of people you know from college, other companies and volunteer organizations. Tell them what kind of position you would like, but “never ask anyone for a job,” says Matthews. “Instead ask them for information and referrals.”

— Adapted from “Dealing With a Job Search When You Least Expect It,”  Toddi Gutner, The Wall Street Journal.

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