Santa Got Laid Off!
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Getting laid off at any time is difficult, but it is especially hard during times of economic uncertainty or when the job market is saturated. The worry of whether or not another job is even on the horizon is not an easy journey to take.

When jobs are scarce, you might need to be a little creative in order to bounce back more quickly after you have been laid off. In a competitive environment it is important to make sure you cover all your proverbial bases.

If you suddenly find yourself unemployed, there are a few steps you definitely want to take.

File for Unemployment

In the United States, receiving unemployment benefits sometimes takes a little bit of time, so if you qualify to apply, this should be one of the first things to take care of on your to-do list. You'll want to make sure you have all of your paperwork in order and submit it to your local unemployment office as soon as possible.

The quicker your application is processed, the faster you will be able to begin to receive your unemployment benefits. Once you get this ball rolling, you can turn your attention back to finding another job. Unemployment often is not a large amount of money, and it comes for a limited amount of time, but every bit helps when you find yourself out of work.

Buff Up the Resume

If the job you were recently laid off from was a long-time employer, you may not have revamped your resume in a long time. This is an important step to take in the post-layoff period - don't delay. A solid, professional-looking and current resume will prove invaluable when you start hitting the pavement and/or searching the Internet to look for a new job. When you begin to cultivate your new resume, be sure to bring it to look modernized, it will be harder to sell yourself if your resume looks antiquated.

By learning how to write a professional looking resume, this will help give you a competitive edge in the job market. Additionally, in a competitive job market you have to be more skillful than ever at selling yourself. While traditional approaches are often encouraged, sometimes it also helps to think outside the box to get yourself noticed. Just ask the 20-year-old woman from Northwest University who created a "lego resume." 1

As you update your resume, don't forget to write a good cover letter. Keep in mind, you may need a few different versions of both cover letters and resumes to customize these for the type of job you are applying to.

Giant stack of resumes
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Employers will be going through stacks of resumes, you want yours to look good.

Network With Others

Business is all about building relationships. Once you find out you're being laid off, now is the time to start reconnecting with prior contacts and making new ones. Networking is an effective and proactive way to search for a new job because you never know who someone you know may be connected to either personally or professionally. That relationship could end up showing you one or two new job leads you can pursue. If you work in a specific industry, work on growing relationships with others in the field, both offline and online.

LinkedIn is a good network to get yourself established, but other professional social media profiles can help you too. According to 2014 statistics, a whopping 94 percent of recruiters used, or planned to use, social media in their hiring practices; 89 percent said they hired from seeing candidates on LinkedIn. 2

Consider Additional Schooling

Going back to school is a potential avenue to explore, especially if the reason why you were laid off was due to downsizing, outsourcing or automation. During the time frame you are laid off this is the perfect opportunity to either pursue that degree you always dreamed of or to learn a new skill.

Another thing to consider is since you don't have income, chances are you'll be eligible to receive financial aid to help fund your schooling. Look into scholarships too, you'd be surprised what you find out there for adult students.

University life (adult student)
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Visit Your State's Labor Department

While making ends meet may be tough, you may be able to get assistance through your local Labor Department in finding ways to retrain or pursue a degree (in my own personal experience, this department helped me tremendously).

Your local labor department is likely to possess a wealth of resources for you. Many department offices offer resume services, career coaching, accessibility to search extensive job databases and career testing (this one was an eye-opener for me, not to mention it was really fun taking the aptitude test that was offered to me).

While you have more time on your hands during your period of unemployment, you'll bounce back faster from your lay-off if you take advantage of all of the opportunities and resources available to you. Not to mention these resources can help you get up to speed in the current job environment.

Stay Positive

Lay-offs are one of the most devastating things that can happen during your career. If you've ever experienced a lay-off you fully understand the feeling of defeat that sometimes accompanies being let go from a job. If this is your first time, take heart that these feelings are experienced by many people who have been laid off. While it is hard not to feel this way, sometimes taking a deep breath and trying to approach the situation from a positive perspective helps get the ball rolling. Not only will you feel better if you try to approach the situation as "a window open" perspective instead of a "closed door" one, an upbeat attitude will shine through as you job search. This appearance to prospective employers might just be the key to opening a door to that new position.

Getting laid off is a difficult time in a person's life, but you'll bounce back more quickly if you are proactive about the situation and make all attempts to keep moving forward instead of standing stagnant. This mobility will aid you in finding that next job, and perhaps even getting a better one.

Take a Breather

Another method to help you bounce back is to take a breather. The key is not to get so relaxed you're unmotivated you don't do anything, but just take a step back. Sometimes doing this allows you to rethink the situation; some relaxation time might also help spark thoughts. You may emerge from a brief reprieve re-energized and full of new ideas to find that new job.

The Watchmaker
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The more skills and knowledge you have the more attractive your credentials are when you are out on the job search circuit. It is of value to possess all of the marketable skills you can as you send out inquiries, your resume and submit employment applications.