Yesterday we had another round of layoffs at work (a cyclical occurrence at the company I work for). I feel bad for those who were cut. (I was laid off by the same company three or four years ago and hired back six months later.) But people laid off today have ninety-nine weeks of unemployment to fall back on, so if you're going to lose your job, then now is the time to do it.
I do hope my former co-workers find work quickly however, because I know that it's easy to start feeling down and like you're not contributing to society if you don't have a job for a long period of time. I have a few pointers gained from my experience with being laid off.
First of all, shine up that resume. Make sure it's up to date and everything is spelled properly. Have it proofread or edited by someone else. But seriously, it's a very good idea. We can read something a hundred times and miss something someone else will see after reading it just once. A resume must be perfect.
Next, sign up for LinkedIn, a professional networking website and connect with all your former co-workers and friends. The more contacts you have on there the better the chance you will have of finding work. Get some referrals from them while you're still fresh in their minds. Sign up on and search Careerbuilder.com, Monster.com, and Hotjobs.com. And don't fall for the "make 1000 dollars a week on your computer" scam postings. Also use craigslist.org to search for jobs. There are plenty of legitimate job listings on the site along with the scams. You'll just have to learn to discern between the two. And if you're serious about finding work, put in your status on Facebook that you're looking for work. It can't hurt.
What I also suggest to my former office mates and what I will do myself next time I find myself in that position is to, yes, spend time looking for work every day, but not eight hours a day. You need to spend time advancing any entrepreneurial or freelance projects you may have been thinking of. This is the perfect time to nurture those ideas you may have had to be your own boss.
In my case, I would have spent more time writing and getting things sent out to publishers. But you may want to start a business, and so should put aside some time each day toward reaching that goal. Write a business plan, create some artwork for your portfolio, sell some Avon, take a course in Real Estate. Anything, as long as it is helping you advance your career goals and dreams in some way. It doesn't have to be Careerbuilder, Monster, and resumes all day long.
And after eight hours on the job hunt and the personal career development hunt, "Go home", as usual and do your normal after work routine. Exercise, cook, help your kids with their homework, go bowling. Operating in this way will help to keep you sane and calm in a distressing time.
Good luck on your future my friends. I hope it is full of success and happiness. It was a pleasure working with you.