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Laid off? Pink slipped? Downsized? Any way you say it, it means one thing. Youâve joined the 10.3 million Americans who are currently out of a job. Donât dismay. Before you take up permanent residence in front of the television, follow our smart steps to get you back in the market and on your feet.
By Tanisha Sykes
Once you receive âthe callâ from your boss or your HR department, take out the note pad and jot down everything that was said. Itâs fine to ask questions, but donât say too much about your intentions or your emotional or financial state because anything you say now could be used against you if litigation comes into play down the road.
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If youâve had a good run at your current place of employment, then make sure you have something in writing to show for it. Ask for a reference. Make sure you get letters of reference from your boss or your employer prior to your departure while youâre hard work is still very much on their mind.
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Still have two weeks of vacation left on your schedule? Make sure you have full knowledge and documentation of how many vacation, personal, and sick days you have left in writing. Some companies do not pay severance toward all forms of paid time, so ask your HR department to be sure.
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Itâs time to call all those friends, colleagues, former bosses, and family members and let them know that you are looking for new opportunities. This is not the time to shy away from your support network. âYou never know who knows someone at the company youâre interested in,â says Abby M. Locke, president of Premier Writing Solutions, a career strategy firm in Washington, D.C.
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Vicky Oliver, career coach and author of â301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions,â advises job seekers who are looking for new opportunities should consider sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, which can help you connect with old friends and contacts to gain employment leads. Donât worry if you havenât made contact with them in awhile. Send an e-mail and let them know youâre back on the market.
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You should do it once a year anyway because you can easily forget all of the great things that youâve done and you should keep a record. But if you havenât, here is the perfect time to sit down and add your most recent achievements. Your resume should include a summary of your skills, the current employment and responsibilities, and a listing of awards and accomplishments. And be sure to have references on hand, including their full and current contact information at the ready.
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Just because youâve been laid off doesnât mean itâs the end of that working relationship forever. Ask you current employer if there is an opportunity to take on freelance assignments or consulting work with the company. Or, ask a boss if any of your colleagues are seeking employees with your skills. By all means, donât burn any bridges between you and your former employer because you never know where the next opportunity will present itself.
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Lets face it. Youâre out of a job and out of a check. If youâre eligible, it will take a between two to three weeks before your unemployment payments start rolling in (For more information on receiving unemployment payments, see workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/uifactsheet.asp). Until then, you should consider reining in your finances. Take steps to curb spending and head off cash flow problems. Call your mortgage lender and credit card companies if you know youâll miss payments. For dollar-saving tips, log on to Livingonadime.com.
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Ask your companyâs HR department about help with resume writing and networking tips or log on to the Department of Laborâs Employment and Training Administrationâs Website (Doleta.gov) for federal and state programs. And reach out to your industryâs trade organization for employment leads.
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Itâs easy to get mired in the thought of being rejected but donât let that overtake your thoughts of pushing forward. Remember, this is happening to many others and more than likely, friends and family will be there to support you during this tough time. Itâs most important to keep a positive attitude and keep up your professional appearance because the first impression is a lasting one.
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