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Laid Off? Eight Effective Ways to Respond

Laid Off? Eight Effective Ways to Respond

If you’ve been laid off recently or think you might lose your job in the near future, you need to respond strategically and massively. The hard reality about layoffs, though, is that how you respond may depend on your financial and emotional state.  

You may have predicted this event and prepared for it, or you may view the layoff as a blessing in disguise if it forces you to make a change you’ve wanted to make for some time. In these cases, it’s time to crank up your search efforts with focus and confidence.

If, on the other hand, you are totally blindsided by the layoff and/or unprepared for it, your first step is to take stock. What is your cash position? Do you feel strong, and can you see the situation as an opportunity to move into something better? Or are you at a loss about what to do next? What kind of support can you get to help you through? What do you have to do to ensure that you survive -- financially and emotionally?

While feelings of panic and uncertainty are normal, remember that the most effective job searches are not scattershot approaches but rather targeted strategies that leverage your past experience.

In either situation, a strategic job search is in order. Based on my report, “How to Manage Your Career in Scary Times,” here are eight top-level tips to ensure your response to a layoff is focused and effective.

1. Breathe

Find your center. You are a professional and there is a place for you out there. You will get through this. And the best way to do so is to focus on what you offer and take massive action.

2. Get Out the Contact List

Make a record of the people you worked with and dealt with. Put that address information into your own system and contact people using your personal email address.

3. Inventory What You Offer

Take time to develop a sound understanding of your abilities, skills, experience and fit. This includes really analyzing your professional background to identify stories, evidence and data about your job performance that you can use to better market yourself and prove your candidacy. What are you interested in doing next? What is the next logical step for you? Depending on your position and situation, you may be looking to move forward or you may need to focus on where you are most employable.

4. Define Your Targets

You are not equally valuable everywhere. Define A, B and C target groups. A is the perfect home for your offering. B is acceptable. C will pay the bills. Use information like job title, organization type, organization size, industry and market to make your targets as defined as possible.

5. Cultivate Multiple Channels

Work more than one channel to find those target opportunities. By all means, use online job postings and apply selectively to jobs. But realize this is only one channel. Develop a multichannel strategy and invest your time accordingly. Those channels might include recruitment agencies, professional associations and, of course, your network.

6. Create Channels for People to Find You

Nothing is better than receiving a call about an opportunity. It puts you in the driver’s seat, at least for a bit. Ensure your network contacts know what you’re looking for so you are top of mind when they can make a referral. Use social networking sites as another way to accomplish this.

7. Follow the Pareto Principle

This is otherwise known as the 80/20 rule. Analyze your network for the people who are hubs of contacts and information. Who do you know who can hire or refer you? When you’re ready, get in touch with them. And remember, the actions you might resist are usually the most valuable, high-impact ones. In my experience, successful job searches are often the result of that one, right call.

8. Get Out and Talk to People

The worst place to conduct a job search is in your pajamas at your family computer. Yes, there are a lot of important activities you can do from your computer, but schedule them outside of prime meeting time. You must get out there -- every day.

[Ian Christie is head career strategist at He works privately with a select group of senior-level clients on job search and career transitions, resume writing, personal branding, and proactive career management initiatives. BoldCareer also offers a number of programs and products to assist you with these issues. Visit BoldCareer to subscribe to Ian’s award-winning blog, download your free career management report and learn more about our offerings.]

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