6 tips to make your layoff pay off

Getting laid off is never fun. Learn tips and tricks in navigating a layoff.

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Sometimes we see it coming and there are other times when it comes out of the blue. But in this economy, everyone should have a clear plan that can be implemented if the ax drops. So if you’ve recently lost your job, here's how to get prepared to find another one.

Watch out for warning signs

Listen out for the following buzzwords, as companies use them instead of the classic "fired" or "layoff." It sounds good but will you survive the "new direction"?

  • restructuring plan
  • restructuring program
  • company-wide restructuring plan that includes staffing reductions in all divisions
  • planned reduction
  • head-count reduction
  • reduction in force
  • reducing our current employee total
  • global workforce reduction and alignment
  • repositioning
  • aligning operations and resources worldwide
  • consolidating operations
  • downsizing
  • rightsizing
  • smartsizing

Which jobs tend to go first?

Is your job the first to go? Which industries are more susceptible to layoffs?

Technical Jobs
Which positions are most likely to be outsourced? Technical jobs that depend on low-skill labor, can be broken down into segments, and don't require collaboration, like getting information into and out of databases (think call centers and information technology support). Jobs that require staffers to show up and work alongside others are less susceptible to outsourcing.

Positions that require creativity but not necessarily a brick and mortar location are up for grabs as well. For example, Pasadena Now, an online newspaper, hires Indian workers at a low cost to report their local news. Reporters send their notes and other information to writers who get to work on the final product you see online. Market research and drug development are also among the new industries starting to outsource their research.

The good news?

Hiring a career coach can help you get back on track, refocus your energies on your current field, or help get you established on a path or field more in line with your skills and abilities. This is a prime time to learn new skills, go back to school, make use of transferable skills, and/or pursue your passions by starting a business. Your change in direction will be largely guided by your attitude and determination to succeed. We all have the skills needed to succeed: it's a matter of how you utilize them.

Using a career coach can help you get you off on the right foot the first time. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression and a career coach can be helpful in pointing out things to you that an HR manager won't have the time to do, nor are they interested in doing so.

A career coach can be helpful in the following ways:

  • Crafting your two-minute pitch which describes your skills, education, and background succinctly
  • Interview prepping
  • Proofreading your resume

Sure, you can read career books but a coach helps you apply it all to your situation by coaching you on what you specifically need to tweak in order to increase your chances of finding your new job.

How to get through your layoff

Give them options. If you sense that you're about to get the ax, then present a few options to your employer. They include: taking a pay cut, contributing your skills to a project (which saves them money on new hire), unpaid leave, relocation to another office, and/or work for them as a consultant. This not only shows that you're flexible but also that you're willing to roll with the punches.

Tell friends and family that you're out of work. This will increase your chances via referrals and them forwarding job announcements that may suit you. Every job announcement that comes my way, I forward on to my friends and family. You never know who it might help, and if they don't know you're looking, then how will you get the help you need?

Get a temporary job, as it can open doors to a full-time position while you wait for others to become available. Sometimes a company will hire you under the guise of being a temp when all they really want to do is take you for a test drive. Get in the driver's seat.

Maintain relationships all around with your employer, colleagues, and old coworkers. Let them know what you need and never be too ashamed to ask for help. One of them might open doors you wouldn't be able to otherwise.

Volunteer. You can do this with a for-profit or nonprofit within your field or outside of your field. This helps pass the time as you go on interviews but also helps you network with others who, again, might be able to open doors for you. Most jobs aren't secured through Monster.com but through relationships and networking. So if Hannah Headhunter/HR Manager has 1,000 resumes for 1 job and receives a solid recommendation from a friend who fits what she's looking for, what do you think she'll do? You'll at least move to the front of the line for an interview.

If you've been laid off, it doesn't have to be a miserable time period in your life. Take advantage of the newfound time to retool yourself or start that business you've been putting off.

Topics:
  • Career Planning
  • Changing Jobs
  • Career Planning
  • Changing Jobs
  • Career Planning
  • Changing Jobs
  • Career Planning
  • Changing Jobs
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Article copyright 2017 by Forbes. Reprinted from the May 31, 2017 issue with permission from Forbes.
The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. Fidelity Investments cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any statements or data.
This reprint is supplied by Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC.
The third-party provider of the reprint permission and Fidelity Investments are independent entities and are not legally affiliated.

Votes are submitted voluntarily by individuals and reflect their own opinion of the article's helpfulness. A percentage value for helpfulness will display once a sufficient number of votes have been submitted.

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