A classmate from elementary school (you’ve got to love Facebook) just pinged me to say that he’d been laid off, and knowing that I had gone through that recently as well, wondered if I had any advice for him. I decided to use this week’s post to answer him.
Sadly, as a high tech marketing person, I have become something of an expert at being laid off. As a matter of fact, I’ve been laid off twice by the same company, and let me tell you, I don’t care how much they beg, I am never going back there. You know what they say, ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, what the hell was I thinking?’
The first thing to do after you’ve been laid off is to have a good cry. If you’d rather yell and scream, that’s okay too. The point here is that it hurts to be let go, even if you saw it coming. It hurts like being dumped, or having your best friend move away, or losing a pet. It’s one of those gaping wounds that no one can see, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. Give yourself as much time as you need to mourn your loss, but not so much that you have to switch to the next season’s wardrobe.
When you’re ready to start looking you need to get your resume in order. It’s an onerous project and no one likes to do it, but you’ve got to. As much as possible, recast everything you’ve done in quantifiable terms. Take credit for anything you had a hand in; everyone else does. For instance, if the development team you managed built a product that earned the company $10 million – claim it as your success. This sort of self-aggrandizement may not come easily to you, particularly if you’re not a sales or marketing person, but believe me, you’ve got to do it.
The next step is to network. The step after that is to network. And yes, you guessed it, the step after that is to network some more. The upside to being out of work these days is that there’s social networking. Look how it’s working for my friend from sixth grade! LinkedIn.com is the place to be if you want to connect with the business world. LinkedIn has monetized the game, Six Degrees of Separation. From there you can see who you know who knows someone at the company you’re interested in. And the only way you’re going to break into that company is to have someone introduce you. You can answer ads on Monster and HotJobs but if that’s your strategy for finding a job, you’re going nowhere fast. By all means, look at what’s available on the job boards, but then go to LinkedIn and try to find a connection that can carry your resume to the hiring manager.
I’m going to make this my first two-part blog post. Next week I’ll talk more about how to network, and also share my thoughts on hiring a life coach. I’ll leave you with this thought, we live in a time when there is no stigma attached to losing your job; it happens to the best of us. And there’s an army of sympathetic folks waiting to help. All you have to do is ask.