Laid-off Terminated - What Next?

You are told you are being laid-off or are fired - What should you do?

10 steps to follow when you lose your job

Even though IT Pros are used to being in high demand, they are not immune to layoffs and economic disruption. What should you do If you find yourself in this situation. Keep in mind you are not the first IT pro this has happened to and your career will recover.

Do not get angry or remorseful. Once the shock wears off, there is work to be done. Restarting a career after a termination or layoff requires a combination of pragmatism, focus and taking care of yourself. The following steps will help you minimize the time you spend unemployed.

  1. Prepare yourself to leave

    If you are lucky and your companies gives you a few days or weeks' notice and can continue working after they are given your notice use your time wisely. Make copies of materials you would need for resume creation while honoring the organization's intellectual property limits.

    Specific information and files to copy include: contact information (name, title, phone and email) for your contacts made at the company, copies of emails and notes received from happy clients, and summary notes on your projects and responsibilities. Resist the temptation to copy proprietary information such as sales data, software code and specific business plans.

  2. Negotiate your severance package

    Before signing on the dotted line, take the time to assess the package you are offered. The old standard for severance pay was one month of pay per year of service. However, many companies have come up with their own formulas. If your employment involves high compensation or unusual items (e.g. , stock options or equity), you may want to consult an employment attorney for advice.

    In any case, come to the severance discussion prepared to negotiate. For example, you may inquire about job opportunities elsewhere in the company. Or seek the use of a company phone number or email address for a period of time to transition your network. Job assistance programs are another key area to consider. If you are offered an outplacement service, if the service does not meet your needs, be ready to ask for alternatives .

  3. Line up your references
    Let people know that you will be looking for a new job. Be positive about the employer that is letting you go. "Bad-mouthing" the company will take away from the presentation of what you offer. Engage with your references and see if they know of any potential opportunities or contacts.

  4. Update your resume
    Now would be a good time to evaluate your long term career goals. Adjust your resume to reflect that.

  5. Prepare a detail budget to cover all of your expenses while you are out of work

    Your flexibility and job search options are impacted by your financial resources. If you have six to 12 months of living expenses saved, making a significant career change is easier.

    If you have limited savings, searching for a new job that closely relates to your past job is the fastest route to employment. Changing to a new career or discipline is possible but it does take longer.

  6. Expand your skill set
    Given that looking for a new position is an almost full time job. Utilize the internet to expand your skill set to see what is new and "hot" in the internet

  7. Show what you know on Social Networks
    Many IT pros do not have an optimized LinkedIn profile. Update your LinkedIn profile cto reflect all of your latest accomplishments. For example, project managers sometimes fail to mention their work with budgets, key terms like stakeholder management and products they have worked on.

  8. Reconnect with your network
    Your personal network is the single most important ingredient in career success. The people who bounce back the fastest from a layoff or job termination tend to have a strong network. Specifically, they make the effort to stay in touch with former colleagues who have left to join other companies.

  9. Build a relationship with a good recruiter

    Asking for job leads, introductions and advice from your connections is only part of the story. When you are looking to build a relationship with a recruiter, help them do their job. Recruiters are tasked with finding people that meet specific requirements. If you don't fit for a specific search, you can still add value to the recruiter by introducing them to someone who may be a good fit.

  10. Consider using an outplacement specialist

    Leveraging outside assistance is a valuable way to reach your career goals faster. Before hiring a consultant, come prepared with a list of questions to explore. Ask to speak with a past client, ask about the consultant's process and philosophy and ensure that you understand pricing. While outside help can give you a new perspective, strategy and resources, never forget that you own and manage your career.
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