I was recently working with a marketing executive who was laid off and feeling very betrayed by her employer.
I can certainly understand the emotional distress and turmoil that must take over anyone who has been unexpectedly let go - however, what does it take to dust yourself off and move on?
No matter how long you stay angry and bitter against your former employer, if you continue to stay in a funk, the reality is that you are still without a job and still need to pick the pieces up to move on. So where do you begin?
1) Get recommendations, referrals, and testimonials
Now can you see why staying angry would hurt you in this case? Often when you have been laid off, your manager and other "surviving" colleagues and co-workers are usually very willing, ready and able to provide you with written recommendations and kudos letters.
Why are these important? Well, for starters, you can use them as part of the foundation for your LinkedIn profile, add excerpts to your executive resume or even use them in your introductions or career success stories.
2) Compile a branded elevator pitch
In the early days following your layoff, you should be strategically reaching out to contacts in your professional and personal network to update them on your situation, get advice, secure more referrals and identify job opportunities.
You have to be able to communicate a lot more than "I got laid off and I am looking for a new job" - make sure you cover: what you do, who you did it for and what you consistently deliver (notice how great recommendations can be funneled into your elevator pitch?)
3) Expand your line of influence
Go beyond family and friends to partnering with other professionals through the Chamber of Commerce, affinity groups, alumni associations, and other industry/professional associations. Hopefully, you have been nurturing those connections and relationships throughout, so that you are not starting from scratch when you need a job.
4) Strengthen your online profile
Whether you like it or not, hiring managers and recruiters will search for you online even after they receive your resume - more importantly, many executive recruiters extensively use social networking tools to advertise their openings and attract qualified candidates.
Have the basics covered with LinkedIn, Twitter, Ziggs, VisualCV.com, Zoominfo, Google, and even Facebook - you have to be in it to be in the know.
5) Market a targeted, branded resume
I recommend that you are clear on your target and your audience before you create an executive resume, so that you can speak directly to their needs and show how your qualifications / experience / expertise can provide value.
There are different schools of thought about whether you should take a brief break after you have been laid off or whether you should jump right into your job search to avoid getting sidetracked or discouraged.
I think that is a personal choice, but you want to be diligent about laying the foundation for a multifaceted, integrated job search campaign by having your right tools/"weapons" in place so you are not left in the dust.