Dealing with a Layoff

Last week, Microsoft announced it was planning to cut 7,800 positions in their phone business. Headlines such as these have always stricken fear in the hearts of anyone who reads them. After all, who is safe anymore? Whether you have an inkling that a layoff is in the works, or the news comes as a bolt from the blue, it hurts to be told you are surplus to requirements.

That said, what are the best strategies if and when it happens?

Deal with the emotional impact first: When you receive the news you’ve been let go, a myriad of emotions and feelings will come to the fore.  From “Why me?” to “What am I going to do?”, A range of fears may arise. Unless you work through the emotional side first, you won’t be able to move forward, so give yourself some space and time to come to terms with the news.

Be informed, and don’t be afraid to ask for help: From severance pay to other benefits entitlements, make sure you know your rights. Find out about every available resource and tools your company is willing to provide to support the transition. Do not be afraid to ask for help, especially if it doesn’t seem forthcoming. Whether it’s resume help, positioning your layoff with prospective employers, or help with finding your next position; ask! Most managers and HR teams are willing to help, so why not avail yourself of their services.

Take stock of your career: This is a good time to hit the pause button on your career before rushing straight into the job market.  Take the time to document your skills and achievements to date along with what you want from your next role. All of this will be hugely beneficial to focusing your job search.

Revitalize your resume: Ensure your resume reflects your achievements and accomplishments. Tailor it specifically to each position you desire so it aligns closely with what your prospective employer is seeking.

Connections matter: Now more than ever, leveraging your network is important.  Reconnect with people who might be helpful, and research relevant networking groups in your area. Take the time to attend upcoming events, and get yourself acquainted with potential opportunities and contacts. All of this will give you a greater chance of success of landing your next position.

Be Realistic with Your Goals: While your initial reaction may be to get a new job as soon as possible, it’s far better to set realistic goals that align with your circumstances. On rare occasions, you may be lucky and find yourself in a new job in a matter of weeks, but the reality is most job searches can take from six months to a year. Having a plan of attack, and setting milestones will help you to see whether you are on track as well as what’s working or not working in your search efforts.

Be confident and sell yourself when you engage with prospective employers: Being laid off can knock your confidence, so it’s important you don’t let this show when seeking a new opportunity. Nail down your pitch: why the layoff happened, what brings to your job search, and why you would be a good fit for their organization. It’s important to be confident, clear, and purposeful about what you bring to the table.

At the end of the day, being laid off offers an opportunity to begin a new chapter in your career. Seize the chance to take control and charter your future.

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