If a layoff is in your future….
December 30, 2008
It feels like I’ve been on a 12-step program for pending resignations and layoffs. Despite recession fatigue, and family nonsense, the following plan has kept me on track even while I internalized the news, and updates on a daily basis.
1. When signs point toward instability, tell no one connected to your current workplace that you’re looking unless you absolutely trust them and they’re a good resource. Commence resume polishing and editing.
2. Contact mentors and trusted colleagues for feedback on resume and verify that your previous references are still relevant and willing to serve.
3. Form a mental target: what are you looking for and why? It’s very important not to look at it as something you’re running to, in desperation, or a means of escape from something awful. It can be, there’s no doubt, just don’t let that be the motivation that fuels your search. Make it positive: make it about where you want to go next, what new challenges you’re looking for, what inspires you? This may not be concrete in your mind. It certainly wasn’t in mine three or four months ago, but it’s solidified as I’ve refined my search and dealt with the everyday challenges.
4. Speaking of everyday challenges, don’t forget to do your job to the best of your ability while you still have one! If you’re using this 12-step program, you’re still employed so you should stay that way until you are ready to move on. Give your employer no reason to target you for an early layoff and derail the plan. Paychecks are good.
5. Search relevant job boards, selecting possibilities that most closely match your new goals.
6. Refresh: take a few minutes a day, or a lot of minutes every couple of days to refresh yourself: take a walk, play with your pets, do anything that’s not work and job related. Juggling job hunting with maintaining your existing job and keeping everything together can be intense.
7. Cover letters! When you have a group of possible jobs that you’d like, write or edit your existing cover letters to address the requirements of each job. It took me about three months and several fresh starts to hit my stride. Templates are great, but only once you have a strong basic template to work from; some of those standard letters I’ve seen are weak sauce. You’re not weak sauce, don’t let your letter say otherwise!
8. Request recommendation letters. I prefer to keep hard copies with my resume in case of interview.
9. Prep your interview skills: review possible questions and answers with a friend. Mentors are wonderful people – if they’re able and willing, draw on this resource! This is great for your confidence in phone interviews which should then lead to face to face interviews.
10. Prep your interview wardrobe! I nearly had an aneurysm when I was asked to pick an interview date, and I still didn’t have a THING to wear. (I’ve outgrown the old suit.)
11. Repeat steps 4-7 until you have need of 9 and 10. Very importantly: keep on saving your pennies, nickels and dimes while working toward your next step. The healthier your emergency fund, and the safer you feel financially, the more confident you’ll be. That directly translates to better negotiations, and a more discerning job hunt. Remember, if employers can smell your fear or desperation, you’re either a less respected candidate or not a candidate at all. Either way, bad times for you!
12. Knock ’em dead!
Aside from some fretting, (or a LOT of fretting sometimes) it’s been slow but steady progress. I count my blessings where I can find them:
~ I’ve got strong recommendations
~ I’ve got great skills in my area, and a very strong work ethic
~ I’m setting up freelance work starting now to keep an income stream no matter what happens here.
~ I’ve got my readers and fellow bloggers for moral support and cheerleading – priceless!
If anyone has advice or stories to share, please feel free to do so!