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Layoff survival -- top six things you should do after being downsized
Nimish Thakkar

The pressure and confusion stemming from a layoff may not be easy, but this is not the time to empathize or play the blame game. The momentum gained during the first few weeks after a layoff will set the tone for your entire job search campaign, so play this time carefully.

In this article, I have outlined my pick of top six things you should do after being downsized.

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1. Ask for severance pay

Most employers will provide some form of severance to downsized employees. This could be either cash or outplacement assistance or a combination of both. Even if your employer doesn’t have a formal policy in place, try to negotiate a severance package. You will be surprised how many employers will accede, if only you take the initiative to ask. So, ask!

2. Get creative; save more

Develop a budget and cut down on all non-essential items. Get a roommate, hold a garage sale, car pool, take the subway -- do anything you can to save money every month. These small steps can often buy you a few extra months of breathing space, should the job search take longer than expected.

3. Arrange for the bills

The Department of Labor (DOL) estimates the average job search time to be around four to five months. This is an average, though, and depending on the local economy and your background, the number could be higher or lower. In my experience, senior executives take longer than DOL’s estimates.

Do you have enough savings? Even if you do, the first thing you must do is file for unemployment benefits. Check with your local DOL office for policies and procedures.

[Caveat: Most DOL offices will cease paying benefits after a few months so you must be very aggressive with your job search.]

If you are not eligible for unemployment benefits, a part time or temp position should be your next best alternative. The arrangement should not take away too much time from your job search campaign, though.

4. Update your resume

Create a standout resume, one that will catapult your name to the file of “must have” candidates. Provide plenty of career accomplishments and a solid value proposition. Every inch of resume space must be used to demonstrate how you will deliver a solid ROI on your salary.

5. Connect and reconnect

Active networking is absolutely critical for anyone desirous of career success, but if you haven’t been networking aggressively, it is time to connect with your contacts now. Get the word out that you are looking for work and don’t underestimate anyone’s ability to help you out. Even if someone you know may not have a say in the hiring decision she may know someone else (or that someone’s friend) who does. You will be surprised how helpful people are, if only you approach them in the right way. Take active steps to grow your network by asking each individual to introduce you to a few others (and then follow the same process over and over).

6. Launch an aggressive -- and I mean, aggressive -- job search campaign

Utilize a combination of job search strategies to launch an aggressive campaign. Prepare a list of activities you will undertake on a daily basis -- and stick to them. If you use the right strategies and network effectively, you should be able to apply to at least 25 to 30 job openings every day. This may sound like a lot, but it is absolutely necessary. Looking for work can often be a full time job by itself.

Related Articles:
Almost 75% of jobs are never advertised -- how can you tap into this hidden job market
Step out of your comfort zone to shorten job search time
Job Search Strategies and Tips
Online Job Search: Job Searching In The Digital Age
Common Job Search Mistakes



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