Surviving a Layoff
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Earlier this year, AOL's Patch.com made headlines when CEO Tim Armstrong announced plans to layoff up to 500 staff employees, or roughly 40% of the site's workforce. Now the headlines are for defense contractor Lockheed Martin. The company plans to layoff 4,000 workers by the middle of 2015, and it's not alone.
According to a U.S. Bureau of Labor report, in 2012, employers launched 6,500 extended mass layoff events, or layoffs lasting longer than 30 days. As a result, over 1.25 million workers found themselves jobless.
The bottom line layoffs happen. If you find yourself holding a pink slip, the key to a speedy recovery lies in how you handle those first few weeks. Do things right, and you can survive the layoff and maybe even land a better job.
Get Your Ducks in a Row
According to Jody Johnson, co-owner of the business coaching firm, ActionCoach, "there are taps that something is going on at the company long before downsizing or layoffs occur." Keep an eye on what's happening at work. If you think a layoff may be in the works, start planning ahead, update your resume, and check out job posting sites to get a feel for what's out there.
Even if you are caught by surprise, the same rules still apply. As soon as you know you'll be laid off, update your resume and post profiles on job hunting websites like CareerBuilder, Monster and Indeed. While it won't guarantee you a new job, if a recruiter searches the sites, your resume will be there.
File for Unemployment
If you've been on the job for a year or more, you likely qualify for unemployment. As soon as you've been laid off, file a claim with your state's unemployment office. You'll need basic info like your Social Security number and driver's license number, plus some information about your job like your last date of employment and hourly pay rate. In most states you can file online, check on the status of your claim and track your benefit amount. You won't make as much as you did on the job, but you will get a weekly check to help tide you over while you're job hunting.
Social networking isn't just for memes and funny links. If you're looking for a job, you can make those accounts work for you. Cheryl Palmer, a certified career coach, recommends filling out a LinkedIn profile if you haven't done so already. According to Palmer, "recruiters regularly search this social networking site for candidates who meet their criteria." To attract recruiters, Palmer recommends making sure your profile is completely filled out while highlighting your accomplishments and optimizing keywords. For example, if you're looking for a job as a personal banker, make sure your profile includes keywords like "banking" or "teller experience."