What Every Executive Needs to Know About Handling A Layoff

Although we may like to think that we are always in control of our careers, sometimes unforeseen circumstances take us for a loop. One such circumstance is that of an executive layoff. The good news is, in most cases, you should know ahead of time that you are on the executive layoff list. This gives you time to plan your next moves as an executive who now finds themselves on the job hunt. The bad news is this presents a set of challenges you were not expecting. Use our tips on handling a layoff to make this transition as smooth as possible.

Mourn your loss.

No matter which way you slice it, a layoff can seem devastating - especially if you didn't see it coming…even with advanced notice. Before doing anything, make sure to actually feel any emotions of frustration, sadness or anger. Simply put, you want to get it out sooner rather than later so it doesn't affect your ability to look for work. Stuffing the feelings down and not honoring your feelings as they happen will cause havoc on your search later in the process, when the feelings escape in an unplanned manner in the form of fear, anxiety and/or gloom. Furthermore, getting the emotions out early makes it easier to answer the “Why are you looking for work?” question. While being a part of a layoff is a perfectly acceptable answer you don’t want to run the risk of showing any negative emotions when on the interview. The interview is not the time for therapy. Lastly, you’ll want to change your mindset. It’s easy to see yourself as a victim in a layoff. Unfortunately that kind of mentality won't help you find your next job. Instead, try seeing it as a fresh slate for a new adventure. It’s a much more empowering perspective that can lead to major motivation during your new job search.

Update yourself on the latest trends.

If it’s been a while since you've looked for a job you may find yourself with a lot of changes. The best thing you can do is prepare yourself and research what has changed since you last looked for work. For instance, you may want to look into new technology services, hop on social media and research the latest trends in job hunting.

Start sending out feelers immediately.

If you know your time at your job is limited you'll want to start reaching out to your contacts and send out some feelers. By letting people know that you are looking for a new job you open the door for them to help you. In fact, many jobs are found precisely because the candidate had a contact. Start with your more personal contacts, like colleagues you know well. You can then work your way into putting out feelers on LinkedIn and contacting recruiters.

Think outside of the box.

While layoffs may be a sign of a shaky economy the good news is that there is always someone looking to hire. However, this may require you to think outside of the box a bit. For instance, maybe you’ve been a sales executive for a software company for 15 years and really enjoy the art of selling. Rather than limiting yourself to only software companies try asking yourself which industry currently needs someone with your particular skill set. The reality is you can bring a lot of value to a new industry as an outsider so why not broaden the job search?  

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