Been laid off? It’s not always easy to stay positive when you’re out of work for an extended period of time. Here are a few secrets to staying on point while you’re on the job hunt.
While there is no sugarcoating a pink slip, you can choose how you will react to it. Is this an opportunity for self-pity or a chance to redefine, reeducate, and reposition your career for a brighter future?
It’s not just about maintaining a sunny disposition–optimism in the face of uncertainty–though, that does help. No, you need to roll up your sleeves. Get to work on more than retooling your resume.
Secret to Finding an Edge
The secret to finding success lies in changing your paradigm. Start to consider everything you do, school or volunteer work, as part of your push to get rehired. Here are a few suggestions:
Start a Reeducation Campaign. Make a plan to head back to school whether you want to beef up your current qualifications or take your transferable skills on the road to a new career. Some states offer training courses and tuition vouchers to the unemployed. Here are three ways school can help you stay sharp:
Join the Corps. A recent New York Times piece noted a sharp rise in the number of laid-off workers entering the volunteer corps–some organizations up 20 or 30 percent. It’s not disingenuous to strategically volunteer. In fact, Marty Michaels of The Chronicle of Philanthropy tells the story of a former corporate vice president who found her way to the directorship of non-profit. She did so by identifying a cause that she cared deeply about and seeking out a volunteer opportunity.
What does helping others do for you? It can:
Associate Yourself. Getting laid off should not mean taking a vacation from your industry. In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Dawn Fallik recommends job seekers seek out professional and civic associations. Don’t just troll their job boards–get involved. Attend conferences, volunteer for your chamber of commerce, and network like mad. Your best chance for getting hired may come in knowing about an opening before it happens. To do that, you need to be connected to industry insiders.
No one said this was going to be easy or fast. You might take a pay cut, you might wind up in a completely new industry. But, if you approach your situation wisely, you may find a pink slip doesn’t end your career. It may even change it for the better.
Publish date: October 8, 2009