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Laid Off? How to Land a New Job
by Robin Ryan

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Losing your job is one of the more stressful events that life can bring. Everyone hates those feelings of rejection, and has fear that you might not get another job, or be paid as well as before. Two major mistakes you need to avoid are, first, don’t badmouth or burn your bridges with the employer letting you go. Second, don’t immediately race to call everyone you know asking if they have a job you can apply for.  You need to engage a hiring strategy and good action plan to be successful.  Here’s how to get started.

  • Assess your Marketability. Do you need to update your skills? Maybe taking a few classes would make you a stronger candidate. For example, many people can benefit by taking a computer class or two. Take a good hard look at your industry…Maybe it’s wiser to change fields. You might need to pursue some education to accomplish a change from “financial services” to “healthcare” based on the job type you want, but you don’t always have to start over. You may already have the skill set to transfer to a new industry. Read, go to association meetings, interview those working at the job you are considering, or work with a career counselor to determine the best route to move into the new field.
  • Write a top-notch resume.  Employers want to see specific results and accomplishments.  Electronic resumes need keywords to have employers “find you” online. The biggest mistakes I see is when people create old-fashioned, general resumes that read like boring job descriptions. Those using small type, having more then two pages, or not showing accomplishments will likely fail.  Resumes get a 15-20 second glance so noting specific results is what gets employers’ attention. Define how you have saved time, increased productivity, cut costs and added to the bottomline.
  • Use job hunting strategies that work.  According to the Department of Labor, 63% of all jobs last year were found through contacts. Others can pass on leads and introductions, even forward your resume on to a hiring manager, to insure you get a look.  Join and attend professional meetings, making an effort to meet two people to add to your network. If you have a favorite company you wish to get into, search your network and theirs to find someone inside to help you. Some Web sites are much better than others for finding job listings.
  • Be very prepared when the employer calls. Expect your first conversation to be a screening interview over the phone. Mess this up, and you’re out. Prepare in advance. Start the interview in the best possible way, when the interviewer asks the, ‘Tell me about yourself’ question, forget an autobiography. Use the ‘60 Second Sell’: analyze the job duties the employer wants accomplished, then select your top five selling points—your strongest abilities, experience and skills—that demonstrate that you can do the job.  Link these five points together in a few sentences and you have created a ‘verbal business card’ that is the most effective way to begin and to close the interview. Keep the momentum going with well-prepared answers to questions, and practice before you ever face the interviewer.
  • Negotiate the salary. The biggest salary increases are the result of negotiating effectively with the new employer.  That means you must first know exactly what your skills are worth in the marketplace so you do not undersell yourself.


© Copyright 2009 Robin Ryan. All rights reserved. Robin Ryan has appeared on Oprah and Dr. Phil is considered America’s top career coach. Robin has a busy career counseling practice providing individual career coaching, resume writing services, interview preparation, salary negotiations, and outplacement, to clients nationwide. She is the best-selling author of: "60 Seconds & You're Hired!", "Soaring On Your Strengths", "What to Do with the Rest of Your Life", "Winning Resumes" and, "Winning Cover Letters". A dynamic national speaker, Robin has spoken to over 1200 audiences sharing her insights on how to improve their lives and obtain greater success. Contact Robin at: 425.226.0414, or e-mail:, or visit her Web site:

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