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Avoid the Layoff List and Long-Term Unemployment

October 24, 2008 4:41 PM

We’re hearing daily from women who are biting their nails in fear of the pink slip. While it’s easy to be jittery as we watch the stock market tumble and the negative headlines blast bad news, our logical side says panic isn’t a proper form of prevention. Click here to share your methods of staying steady in choppy waters and read some of the methods others are using.

Look for cues and clues: How’s the financial health of your company and the industry in which it operates? What’s your relationship with your manager? If the sales are drying up and the boss is giving you the cold shoulder, don’t bury your head. If projects are shift away from you, you’re phased out of meetings and not copied on key emails, speak up. Attempt to have a candid conversation with your boss to find out what’s going on. Don’t get defensive; express confidence in your ability to perform effectively and ask for any constructive feedback.

What’s your Plan B?: This isn’t the time to say, “Oh, I’ll simply cross that bridge when I come to it.” In this economy, all of us should know what we’d do if we lost our job tomorrow. Have a strategy sketched out in advance is smart.

Drop the self-imposed limitations. While everyone has specific standards on where and when they'd like to work, be wary of limiting your chances with thoughts such as "I can only work in this industry. I can only accept a job at this salary level. I can only work this particular shift." The more flexible you are and the more diverse your outreach efforts, the more opportunity you'll have to choose from. Readjust your definition of settling.

Maintain a clear focus. Don't say, "I'll take anything." Nobody will hire someone who's desperate. You might tell five different companies that you have five different goals, but you want to maintain razor-like focus with each of them. Mask any sense of panic or desperation because a confident and upbeat person will get hired before the one who's sulking because of baggage.

Don't rely on your resume to sell yourself. Focus on putting your face to your resume. After you apply online, find someone at the company to connect with. Use professional organizations, alumni relations, LinkedIn.com, friends, family, former colleagues and so on to find someone who works at the company you're targeting. Internal referrals can help you get noticed. If you can't find one, then cold-call the person you'd be working for to express your strong interest in the position and be ready to explain why you'd be an asset. Rehearse before calling.

Never put all your eggs in one basket. One job might seem great, but don't rely on it. You must have lots of sticks in the fire at any given time. Register with local placement agencies and headhunters in your area, but don't rely on them to get you a job. You must rely only on yourself to make it happen.

Share your smartest strategies with other women below.

Comments (6)

I would like to say is that i do need some kind of income.

To have some kind of independence.

Right now i feel like my life is being taken over by someone else. Other than my life.

I have a husband who has his own business and runs out of the house.

I hardly see any out side people. or deal with out side phone calls.

I feel like i live in a dungeon.

My home is not clean.

I feel like everything is on my shoulders.

I was always told by the mother n law that i was the smart one.

If i am then why am i living like a caged wife.

Everything i have done was for my husband.

And his kid.

He ran his own show after that.

I don't have much left to live on.

I just wanted my own career that I love to do.

And it is packed away somewhere. Getting dusty and dirty.

I argue with my husband all the time about what about what i love to do. I gave you yours.

The article and comments reinforce what I always tell career coaching clients; always, always, always have a Plan B. Even if you are currently in a career that fulfills you completely, know exactly what you would do if it fell apart. And if it already has, devise two alternative paths to pursue as if one were Plan A and the other Plan B. It's a great way to reduce pressure, handle surprises and open more doors.

Don't apologize for the gap. Gaps today because of pinkslips aren't uncommon. Resist the urge to complain or to show your frustration, which is also easier said than done. You can say that you've got an exceptional track record at doing your job, but you've never really had to search for one so this is a new process. You're resisting the urge to apply to just anything; instead you're focused on finding the perfect match. Most times an interviewer just wants to hear what you'd say off the top of your head--and they move on. Someone who spews venom won't be as well received as someone with a short, positive reply. Hope this helps.

Miss Fearless and Determined--you sound so bitter about the position you're in. That's what's holding you back from success. The negativity you show here resonates in all you do and it will hold you back. No need to undermine others efforts to help you succeed. Sometimes it's one drop of inspiration that drives someone to success.

Bubblegum article. I expect more from Women for Hire. Get beyond the tea and cookies advice that any job-related website prints. Perhaps, get away from the "experts" and speak specifically to the concerns of your members like Robyn P who eloquently captured what many women are facing right now.
My job was eliminated due to budget cuts two months after I graduated with an MBA. I have 17 years of experience in my field and have sent approximately 70 resumes all over the country and internationally. I am well qualified for all of the positions I have applied for. I have had the good fortune of being interviewed by nine organizations but have yet to land the job. A couple of positions weren't a right fit for me, a couple of positions I wasn't a right fit for them, one job disappeared, another has been postponed, and right now two are on the hook but haven't made the offer...yet. I will succeed and it will be worth the effort but not because I read silly articles like the one above.

I'm sure this is not the type of post you are seeking for this particular "application," but it's timely for me and is likely to address someone else's situation as well.

This article came too late for me. My job was eliminated last February!!! I've been ardently searching ever since. (200+ apps) How do I overcome "THE GAP"?

BTW: Exceptional women are great.... but what about us ordinary folk?

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