Career Services: Layoff Survival 101

June 22, 2016 / by / 0 Comment

By Aysha Bell
GCU Career Services

In today’s global market, companies suddenly can lose revenue and be subject to swift fluctuations in leadership and organizational structure. Oftentimes, staff suffer the consequences of these changes, one of the most severe being loss of employment. I am well-aware of this phenomenon and have personally been through two layoffs in my own career and know layoffs can be devastating, especially when there is little or no prior notice.

However, a layoff is not career-ending and, with the right attitude and proper course of action, can open doors of opportunity. Below are steps I found helpful when I experienced an unexpected loss of employment.

Connect with others

While it is tempting to isolate yourself and sulk in disappointment after a layoff, resist the urge to do so! Connect with other individuals to avoid pessimistic thoughts. Here are a few great ideas:

  • Volunteer with community and civic organizations
  • Take a class for leisure or to increase skills
  • Join a job club or a local support group

Getting involved and interacting with others is beneficial because it gives you new perspective, allows you to “fill the gap” of employment on your resumé and might help you expand your professional network. I have known quite a few individuals who found employment by getting involved with local organizations after a layoff.

Utilize the ‘BIG 3’ to search for a new position

When you are unemployed, your new job is to find your next career opportunity. As a result, schedule time each day to access the “BIG 3” – traditional job boards, networking sites/events and recruiting agencies.

    • Traditional job boards – GCU has a great resource called Career Connections, where students and alumni can access employment opportunities. Be sure to register for an account to search open positions. If you are not local to Arizona, I recommend only inputting your state in the search parameters so you aren’t missing any postings that may interest you. Also, search other national and local job websites that might have valuable information.
    • Networking sites/events – The rule of thumb is that for each hour you spend on the cold (or traditional) job market, spend at least the same amount of time on the warm market, which is your network. Let people know you’re in a job search and would appreciate any advice or suggestions. Of course, when networking, NEVER blatantly ask or expect someone to get you a job – use diplomacy. Attend networking events and get involved in relevant professional associations. Utilize LinkedIn and other professional social media to their fullest capacity. Personally, networking was critical for me to land positions following the two layoffs I experienced.
    • Recruiting agencies –If you need income during your layoff, reach out to recruiting agencies, headhunters and placement firms. These companies often specialize in interim and/or temporary positions but might have permanent placement options as well. Many have exclusive relationships with various employers and can help you find an ideal position.

Build a support system and remain positive

There will be moments when you feel overwhelmed and frustrated while seeking your next opportunity. Surround yourself with people who can support you during those times. Also, relax and take time to have fun and engage in hobbies or activities you enjoy.

Career Services offers assistance with researching career options, building a resumé, conducting mock interviews and more. Call us at 602-639-6606, email us at or check out our website to utilize any of our online tools, which are free to you for a lifetime!

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