By Jeffrey Blumenfeld, JVS Chicago Career and Employment Director
The holiday season coincides with the point in the year when companies often evaluate their performance and plan for the new year. Sometimes resulting in layoffs at a normally joyous time. It’s hard to imagine losing your job during the holidays, but if it happens there are plenty of ways to come out on the positive end. Let’s look at some ways to set yourself up for positive future outcomes.
When you receive the news, try to calmly listen to the reasons for the lay-off, and the severance package, if one is being offered. If the employer is providing you with outplacement services, it is beneficial to take advantage of those services. If you are too emotional, request a slight delay to collect your thoughts. You’ll want to be clear-headed and an active listener so you can take notes and ask any clarifying questions to help you understand all of the details around the lay-off.
Your first reaction might be to start reaching out to people, but it’s best to share your story with family and close friends until you have a few days to regroup and develop a plan. You will need to demonstrate poise and confidence to employers as you begin your job search. Part of that plan should be to create a job search schedule that you can follow. The loss of structure can be hard to get used to, so be prepared to commit to between 25-45 hours per week looking for a new job.
Outplacement Services can help you identify a clear and focused career identity, while navigating the job market. Professional career counselors provide expertise in career assessment and job search tool development, such as professional resume writing, social media content and employment strategies to make your job search as efficient and effective as possible.
It’s also good to keep yourself active with workouts, home projects and augmenting your skills with e-learning. Consider enrolling in a certification course that will enhance your professional credibility with employers. Be sure to update your resume and LinkedIn profile with your newly acquired skills and knowledge.
Clarifying a “job-career identity” helps everyone understand who you are as a professional. Developing marketing materials and actively engaging in social media can help to advance your online presence.
The next steps are some of the most important ones of all. Create a list of companies you WANT to work for, whether or not they have any current job openings, research them and network your way into those companies. Start by leveraging any viable connections you have using LinkedIn, in-person contacts, networking events, and sidestep the front-door resume process.
Lastly, make sure you surround yourself with as many good and positive supports as possible. Try not to focus on the negative nature of your situation, it’s perfectly fine to experience feelings of loss, anger and sadness (seeking professional help can also be a great support) but allowing or dwelling on negative thoughts can have a lasting effect on your job search. Use exercise, meditation; or seek spiritual or religious resources to maintain your emotional balance. A great way to deal with your situation is to volunteer during the holiday season. Find something that is meaningful to you; it may help put your challenges into perspective and energize your job search.
For more information about JVS Chicago’s Outplacement Services, contact 847.745.5482, Program Engagement Lead at