In our current unmanned environment, there is a mix of government downsizing, regulatory challenges, and venture capital indecisiveness that is making our job market more unpredictable than many of us would like. I get calls regularly because people have gotten the news no employee wants to hear: layoffs that will find you unexpectedly out of work and looking. Sure, a layoff sometimes comes with severance pay, but we all know that doesn’t last forever – and there can be a growing sense of dread for workers who find themselves unemployed through no fault of their own.
They say that the best time to get a new job is while you are still currently employed simply because the longer a gap on your resume, the more likely a hiring manager is to discount you. This is why it is important to get out there right away after a layoff - not only because you don’t know how long it may take to find the right position, but also because you are a more viable candidate if your layoff occurred recently than you would be if six months have gone by.
Stick to a Schedule: It can be tempting to relax into those first few weeks of severance pay bliss, telling yourself that you have all the time in the world to find a job. But what starts out as just a few days sleeping late can become entire weeks spent on your couch binge watching Netflix and wondering why no one is calling you with a job. Don’t allow that to happen to you. Instead, treat your job search like a job itself. Set a schedule that works for you, and then stick to it. For instance, you may choose to spend 9 to 11 every morning searching through job openings and submitting your resume, schedule lunches with your networking contacts between 12 and 2, and reserve your afternoons for some uplifting and notable activity.
Get Involved: What do I mean by uplifting and notable? Well, you can’t spend 8 hours a day submitting applications – all doing so will accomplish is increasing your frustration with the job search. Instead, schedule some time in your day to do something that will keep you active and leave you feeling valued or accomplished. You may choose to volunteer at a local food kitchen or finally begin training for that marathon you’ve always wanted to run. The point is to utilize that time for something worthwhile – the kind of activity you could learn and grow from, and that interviewers would be impressed by when they ask how you have been spending your time.
Utilize Contacts: You see how I mentioned lunches with your networking contacts? That’s because those contacts can be invaluable following a layoff. Reach out to them, plan get togethers, and put out feelers regarding any openings they may have heard about. In many cases, it is someone from within your network who will refer you to your next great employment opportunity.
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