First steps after being laid-off

Recession Resources
March 16, 2009 8:35:34 PM PDT
The unemployment rate is at a 25-year high and that means either you've been laid off or you know someone who has.

The experts tell us it is key you maintain a schedule and operate with purpose especially if you're unemployed, take a shower, get dressed, and accomplish daily goals you set in advance.

"It caught me totally off guard."

"Once my severance ends unemployment will not pay my bills."

"I knew eventually if there were any type of cuts within the company iId be expendable."

John was a manager of financial audits and a13-year veteran of his company. Liz had been recently promoted in operations management at an IT firm and Ruthy was an executive administrative assistant, all three were laid off and are now on the job hunt.

"Now companies are still hiring our clients are landing."

Mitch Wienick is President and CEO of Kelleher Associates, LLC an executive coaching and career management firm. He says looking for work is a full-time job.

"You really have to devote 30, 40, even 50 hours a week to this job."

But before you look for a new job know your rights from your old one generally you're due any wages you've earned, including overtime or commission you may also be due severance, sick time, and vacation pay.

"Of course I didn't have a plan and dealing with everyday bills I didn't have anything saved up," said Ruthy Dowling.

If that's the case you can apply for jobless benefits and health benefits immediately. Get on a family member's plan if you can and apply for COBRA you have 60 days to do so. COBRA benefits are simply an extension of your existing health insurance coverage but you pick up the tab.

"I'm kind of keeping my eye on May 1st and if that doesn't happen I have to think of Plan B," said Liz Schiemer.

May 1st is the target date Liz has set to be back in the workforce. So the number one tip, develop a rationale, a truthful smart summary explaining why you're out of work.

"They want to make sure that possible future employers understand it's not performance related."

Also make a list of strong references articulate people who've seen you on the job at your best. Put together or update your resume, a powerful story that synthesizes your key accomplishments and experiences. And research jobs and companies that would be a good fit for you focus your search.

"So rather than send a resume to 1000 people of which 10 might have interest it's to figure out in advance which 10 or 30 have interest and then focus on those."

Tip number five; build a board of personal directors of networking resources and emotional support tell your story to as many people as possible.

"Family, friends, neighbors, business associates, someone they went to college with someone they grew up with who could be helpful in the search."

"I saw it as a new lease on my career and really to take a step back and decide what do I want to do," said John Colgan.

John's goal to be back to work is June 21st.

For more resources and information:

USA Jobs
Kelleher Associates, Inc.

Job Search Resources:
Chester County Library Business News
The Riley Guide
Career Builder Resource Center
Stock Market Yellow Pages

Executive Job Search:

Executive Tools & Opportunities:
CEO Express
Financial Executives Networking Group
Marketing Executive Networking Group
Complete Guide to Stress Management

Professional Associations:
Eastern Technology Council
GVFHRA (Greater Valley Forge Human Resources Assn.)
Main Line Chamber of Commerce
New Jersey Technology Council

Hoover's Online
Edgar Online Database

If you think your employment rights have been violated - call the Department of Labor - 1-866-4-USA-DOL

Info on jobless benefits:

COBRA info

These are all websites that help freelancers:

Staffing firm
Management development firm
Financial management consulting firm based in Philadelphia

Company that specializes in matching temporary help with employers:

Job board for IT folks