You are not alone.  With this economy, many people have unexpectedly found themselves laid off.  It’s often a shock, but with a little forethought you can make it work for you.  Take a lesson from Tom.

Scenario: Tom was a major account representative for a Fortune 100 company with a great salary and benefits.  He was laid off and decided to take the summer off with his kids before pursuing a new role.  When the end of his unemployment benefits was looming, he began his job search in earnest.  Now he’s been out of work almost nine months.

He finally found a recruiter who told him that he needed to “tighten” up his messaging and make sure he was coming off as positive and productive.  Now he is well on his way to his new positions as he has 5 times the number of interviews he had before because people understand his skill set.

What happened?

Tom was so desperate for a position, that his communication about what he was looking was too broad and unclear.  No one knew how to help him because they couldn’t understand what he was looking for.

He made sure that the way he explained what happened in the lay off was coming across without any bitterness or negativity.
Sometimes your career decisions are made for you.  This is certainly true if you’ve been laid off.  Here are a few tips to consider when you are faced with this challenge.

Don’t wait for your severance to run out or until your unemployment ends to begin looking for your new position.  The longer you are out of the workforce, the harder it is to get back in the swing of it.  You want the luxury of choosing a position that is interesting to you and in your pay range.

Keep a positive attitude.  No one wants to work with a person who constantly drags them down.

Don’t let the lay-off affect your self confidence.  You need all your self confidence to interview for a new position.  Realize that lay-offs are a part of today’s economy and try not to take it personally.

Keep away from the victim mentality.  Be cautious about how you tell the “story” of your lay-off.  Complaining or blaming is never attractive.  Make sure you exude the belief that you are responsible for your own career.

Volunteer for a charity.  Volunteering is a great way to showcase your skills, meet new people, and creates an opportunity for you to feel good about yourself.

Be careful not to be too vague or open to so many different positions, that people become confused as to what you are looking for and they won’t know how to help you.

Focus on bringing value to others and that will eventually cycle back to you.  It sounds trite but it is really the truth.  Unemployed people can be some of the most self-centered candidates in the market.  Make sure that doesn’t describe you.

Express gratitude.  When people are attempting to help you, volunteer to do the “leg work.”  You call them, don’t make them call you.  Make yourself available to their schedule, don’t make them accommodate you.

Take responsibility for finding your next career opportunity and the faster it will come.

It doesn’t seem like it now, but being laid off really can be an opportunity.  But as with any opportunity–it’s only what you make of it.  Take heart.  Take responsibility.  You’ll be back on your feet in no time.