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Top 10 Ways to Bounce Back After a Layoff

Ways to Bounce Back from a LayoffBeing laid off from a job can be devastating, both financially and mentally. Unfortunately, it can, and does, happen — and often to talented, hard-working professionals. If it happens to you, other than the not-so-helpful advice of “just get a new job!”, what are ways you can bounce back from a getting laid off? Read on…

10. Get a letter of recommendation from your manager. Most of the time, a layoff has absolutely nothing to do with your ability or performance. Make sure you ask your manager to write you a letter of recommendation and/or for their permission to use them as a reference.

9. Update that resume ASAP. This one seems pretty obvious, right? But the sooner you can get that document updated while your daily duties and responsibilities are still fresh in your mind, the better. Trainer Chris Ward has a MicroNugget all about how to highlight your certifications. Don’t have any certifications? No worries…read what some of our trainers have to say about rocking your resume even without a degree or cert.

8. Make sure your certs are up to date. Potential employers often have a “checklist” of requirements for potential candidates, and you can bet in IT, that often includes a valid certification. Trainer Scott Morris stressed that you’ll want to make sure your certifications are up to date and valid. While it’s best to take exams when you are still employed so your employer will pay for them, if you are stuck footing the bill on your own, exam fees are at least tax deductible.

7. Take a minute to reevaluate. Were you feeling stuck? Burnt out? Now is the perfect time to reexamine your career path and decide if you want to switch things up. Reassess your skills, what you want to do, and how those two things align. This could be the opportunity to make the move to bigger and better things! Another thing to note: Consider all your options when you are evaluating things…for example, being open to relocation could present more career opportunities.

6. Recharge. Todd A., a CBT Nuggets Facebook fan, was laid off in July 2008, during the peak of the U.S. economic downturn, literally one day after he bought a kayak. Todd said, “So I took it as a sign that I needed to enjoy a nice vacation on the water.” If you can swing it, sometimes a little bit of R&R is just what you need to get reenergized before you jump back into the job hunt.

5. Create a short-term plan. Look at your budget and your expenses. It could mean taking any job you can find until another opportunity in IT comes up. We had a number of CBT Nuggets fans say they took factory production jobs to tide them over until the next opportunity popped up. For trainer Shawn Powers, when he was out of work, his short-term plan looked like this: “For me, my very-pregnant wife had to bus tables at a restaurant to pay the bills. We abandoned those things we could do without (cellphones, cable tv, etc), and moved in with my mother-in-law. It wasn’t great, and not the answer for everyone, but it was short term and it helped keep the stress off while I made myself employable. It’s a different time now, and getting rid of a cellphone might not be practical or possible – but the concept is the same.” Remember to keep in mind…it’s short term!

4. Update your LinkedIn profile. Update your profile photo with something a little bit more professional than a selfie…think headshot more so than your face cropped out of a family photo. Add your certifications. Follow the pages and groups of the companies or organizations you’d be interested in working for. Take this opportunity to clean up (read: clean out) your connections. That letter of recommendation you’ve asked your manager for? Maybe they’ll take five minutes to tap out a quick recommendation there as well. Reach out to other connections about getting recommendations as well. While you’re at it, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to “clean up” your other social network profiles either.

3. Start networking. And no, we don’t mean computers. Do what you can to get out there and make real-life professional connections. Let your friends and family know you’re on a job hunt. Reach out to a recruiter and get your name in the applicant pool. See what kind of groups and communities are in your area. For example, if your specialty is SharePoint? Think about finding a SharePoint Saturday in your area. You can learn something new, meet people that could have job leads, and it’s FREE! Bottom line, start meeting people, because a lot of times, landing your next job is really about who you know.

2. Get some side work. Work short contracts while you look for another job to help keep your skills sharp, gain more experience, and earn a little cash on the side. This also could be a good way to motivate you to put the networking tip into motion. If you’ve never thought about IT consulting, take a look at these tips before getting started. It may require more planning, but it also could lead you down a path you never expected!

1. Don’t stop learning. Employers like to see that you’re taking the initiative to keep moving forward despite your setbacks. You can use it as a talking point in an interview. Of course, there is the option to continue with video training, but if your employer was the one paying for your subscription, that may not be in the cards after being let go. Whether it’s attending a webinar, watching MicroNuggets, or reading study guide books, continued education doesn’t have to cost much. You also could take this as an opportunity to brush up on your soft skills, read about tips for effective communication, and even watch Chris Ward explain why good communication skills are so vital for your career success.

No doubt dealing with a layoff can be stressful. At times, it will downright suck. But your state of mind will have a major impact on how you bounce back. Try to remain positive and look at this current, temporary situation as nothing more than a new opportunity. Remember back when you were just starting out and the world was full of possibilities? As trainer Shawn Powers points out, “You’re there again. Only now you have some wisdom.”

Bonus Tip: Go ahead and bookmark our Interviewing Tips Part 1 and Part 2 now. You’ll never know when you might need them.

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