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Questions to ask yourself after a layoff

Getting laid off means something different for everyone who experiences it. For some, losing a job is as devastating as heartbreak, and for others it is an escape from a hated profession. No matter the circumstance, weigh your options and decide what to do next. Ask yourself these questions to help determine your options.

Do you want to go back to work?

Some people see this as an opportunity to go back to school, spend more time with family or partake in an activity there wasn't time for previously. Evaluate your finances and your feelings, and choose accordingly.

If you're starting a job search, make it your new full-time job. "You have to think of this process as you are now 'Me Inc.' and it's the first day and your new job is to find a job," says Nancy Collamer, author of The Layoff Survival Guide. Create a daily schedule to re-create the structure you had at work, mark a calendar with appointments and get to work.

Set realistic goals for yourself. Aim to send out 10 jobs applications and schedule one interview each week. Set the bar high, but make sure your goals are achievable.

Do you want to change professions?

Career coach Daisy Swan suggests making a career wish list to identify what you're looking for. Ask yourself what special skills you have and what you would enjoy doing on a daily basis. Collamer also advises making a list of your skills, and then searching for opportunities in the job market. Even if you want to start a new career, you should have realistic prospects to ensure success.

Once you've homed in on what you want to try next, find industries where your skills are needed. Target industries that are doing well and are looking to hire.

Talk to professionals in your field of interest. Research the specific job you desire and arrange interviews with people who have extensive experience. The more you learn about the profession, the more able you will be to decide whether it is truly worth trying.

Do you need job retraining?

Many people are asked to learn to use new technology or be replaced. Career coach Daisy Swan stresses to her clients that "if you're not interested in staying up-to-date, then you'll get left behind."

Look to these resources for inexpensive re-training options:

• Community college courses

• An unemployment office

• Technical schools

• Books or software to use on your own

Enroll in courses, attend seminars, workshops and conferences and start learning.

Questions to ask yourself after a layoff 05/18/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 19, 2009 10:59am]
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