Moving Forward After Layoff

Stormoving forward after layoff-exit street signe closings and staff reductions are all over the news this month. JCPenney announced it is closing 140 stores and offering early retirement to 6,000 employees. Macy’s is closing 68 stores in 2017 and eliminating 10,000 total positions. If you’ve been affected by a layoff, you’re not alone. Whether you saw it coming or were completely shocked, time to take stock and prepare for what lies ahead. Here are 4 actions you can take when moving forward after layoff.

Be kind to yourself

Moving forward after layoff starts by turning off the negative self-talk. Stop dwelling on what might have been. Instead, use this time to make an assessment of your strengths and short term goals. Think about obstacles you’ve overcome and your accomplishments to build your confidence. Make good use of the early days to take care of doctor visits and projects at home. Making time for exercise and hobbies can help keep your spirits up.

Explain what happened

Whether you were part of a massive layoff or simple restructuring, you’ll want to have a concise story to summarize what happened.   You could simply say my department was consolidated, my team was split up or I was impacted by restructuring. Make sure the description you give matches what your former company and references will say about the elimination of your position.

Exit with grace

Make time to say goodbye and thank you to those who worked alongside you. You never know when a former colleague will become a great contact in your job search ahead. Maintain a professional demeanor and resist the urge to burn bridges. Keep in touch with colleagues who might be able to assist with leads and connections.

Build your plan for a new position

In desperation you might start sending resumes blindly to anything of interest. Resist this urge and take time to review your strengths and opportunities. Build a bank of 5-7 success stories from past positions you can recall when asked in phone screenings or face to face interviews . Then start building your list of 5-10 target companies to help focus your search. Using LinkedIn, optimize your profile and increase your bank of connections. Ask connections for recommendations and for introductions at your target companies. Get help to build a resume that helps your experience and skills shine through.

Making the transition will not be easy and will require mental toughness. Invest the time and energy to build your confidence and determine your best path forward after a layoff.