Dealing with the layoff and staying focused on finding a job is tough. Here are some practical steps you can take to lessen the fallout from this traumatic life event.
Acknowledge your emotions
Employees who are laid off feel betrayed by the company and even by colleagues who survived the layoff. Anger, fear and depression are common and natural emotional reactions to job layoffs. If these emotions are not dealt with properly they can become all-consuming and prevent the individual from focusing on taking constructive steps to handle the layoff. They can derail a job search and destroy job interviews.
First step is to be honest about the depth and strength of the emotional fallout. Then begin to process these emotions and regain control. A cathartic activity is to write down your feelings. Put together a letter to the company detailing how you feel about them. Once it is all down on paper burn or shred the letters. Keep doing this till you feel the anger subsiding. Keeping a journal is another way of doing this.
Recovery is always helped along by talking to people who have been in similar situations. Join a support group and use it as both an opportunity to vent your feelings and to brainstorm career solutions.
Update your resume and build a portfolio of accomplishments
Job layoffs can be devastating to one's self esteem. Remind yourself of two things constantly - you have skills and you will find another job. List all the experience and skills you have. Highlight your strengths and accomplishments. Rework your resume to reflect these.
Don't leave your job without collecting references and letters of recommendation from the company. Select relevant work samples that demonstrate your abilities such as proposals and reports. Develop a portfolio that focuses on the value you can bring to a prospective employer.
Take this opportunity to relook at your career goals
Use this time to reflect on your career and reevaluate your career goals. Find answers to questions such as what motivates you, what are your strengths, what do you enjoy doing, and what is meaningful to you.
Re-evalaute and make decisions about moving into something new and better, something in line with your values and motivations. Rewrite your career goals and develop a strategy to get there.
The layoff can present an entire new career opportunity. Read some of the layoff blogs and stories on the web and you will be amazed to discover how many people rebound and find better work after losing their jobs. That may be hard to conceive in the current job market awash with layoffs but for individuals who are willing to change industries, relocate to an area of higher employment or try a new career a layoff can be seen as an opportunity.
Be open about your layoff and inform every relevant person that you are currently in the job market. Develop a concise but clear summary of what you are looking for and what skills you have to offer. Have business cards ready to handout at the right moment. Ask for business cards of people you network with to follow up.
Stick to a daily action plan
Develop a structure for your day that involves scheduled activities. Set aside time slots for different activities- networking, job search, researching prospective employers, writing cover letters and sending out resumes. Also include important activities such as exercise, healthy eating and some time spent on hobbies or activities that help you relax. It is important to get out of the house so visit the library to do some job research or simply take a walk through the park.
Struture provides a sense of control over your life. Normally a job provides this structure to your day so it is important to create an interim structure while you are unemployed. Sticking to the schedule gives a sense of accomplishment. Additionally the more job search activities you involve yourself in the greater your chances of finding and securing the job you want.
For a complete guide to surviving a layoff including knowing what your layoff rights are go to the Layoff Survival Guide.
Julia Penny has many years experience interviewing and placing candidates across a wide range of jobs. She offers her expertise to help job seekers prepare for and succeed in job interviews at her free website Best Job Interview http://www.best-job-interview.com/.