Handling Layoff

Our company is going through serious down-sizing and lay-offs have been announced.  I just had a meeting with my supervisor and he has given me three months salary and a positive letter of reference.  Do you have any advice for me at this time?
 
If this came as a complete surprise, I’m sure you are experiencing significant stress, especially if you are the main provider for your family.
 
Three months salary is comforting but you will need to move quickly in order to secure a suitable position.  In fact, I’d like to recommend you work as hard at finding a new job as you did working at the one you are just leaving.
 
To avoid financial anxiety, you should continue to budget based on your salary and avoid thinking of the lump sum payment as an option to make a significant purchase.
 
This may be the opportunity to adjust your career trajectory although I expect you will be seeking a position that is similar to what you have been performing with your current employer.
 
Taking some risks could be desirable because, after all, your situation has been imposed on you.  If you’ve been considering a possible change of careers – even incremental – you might want to widen your search at this time.
 
Being strategic will be important.  As someone once said, “Scattered activity produces scattered results.”  Become organized as soon as possible with a logical filing system and a calendar filled with productive activities and appointments.
 
Using job sites such as Workopolis and Monster.ca can get you started and you may be fortunate to find something appealing within a few days.  These sites can also be researched to appreciate the job market in your chosen field.
 
There are many positions that become available but are not advertised.  These “hidden opportunities” can be discerned through networking and are sometimes filled without any competition.  Be in touch with friends, acquaintances, former co-workers, anyone who might give you a tip.

Your letter of reference is relatively standard but few employees will be interested: they will prefer to contact your references directly.  References should be notified to make sure they are prepared.
 
Review your resume and ensure it is contemporary and specifically designed for each position to which you are applying. Your cover letter, too, should also be focused, and ideally addressed to an individual rather than a department.
 
Finding a job – especially a career position is hard work.  Three months will go quickly and you’ll need to make every day count.  Be as organized as possible and network with everyone who might know of a company that is hiring.  Keep optimistic and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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