In an ideal world, layoffs are performed as part of a large-scale plan to eliminate the dead weight and retain top talent. As we saw too often during 2008 and countless times during mergers, corporate takeovers, and again with COVID-19, this doesn’t happen.
Instead, due to the pressures of having to make decisions rapidly and under stress, and because payroll and benefits account for a company’s largest expense, the majority of those laid off were doing their best work at the time they received their pink slip.
While there is strong reason to be hopeful that many of the jobs will return, whether you’ve lost your job or are preparing just in case, below are 6 things you can do NOW to survive and come out on the other end:
#1 Don’t Ignore PJLD
If you’ve just found out your role has been eliminated, the first piece of advice I can offer is the analogy of what you might do on a flight when the plane loses pressure . . . put on your oxygen mask.
This means it’s OK to catch your breath and let the run of emotions and shock run through it. Post job loss disorder or PJLD may not be an official diagnosis, but anyone who’s been through it knows it’s 100% real.
While after the first 48 to 72 hours it will be time to forge a plan for your next move, don’t beat yourself up if you have a rough day.
If you haven’t lost your job but are constantly worried – that’s OK too – those feelings are equally valid and require oxygen masks from time to time as well.
#2 Take a Look at the Money
As soon as you are no longer employed, file for unemployment immediately and see if you qualify for any part of a government stimulus package. The Department of Labor’s Career One Stop can get you to your state’s site and contains additional job search research.
Next, create a budget that encompasses all your finances – including the must-haves and the nice-to-haves. Figure out what can be paid for in installments, what can be put on credit, and what can be cut out ASAP until cash starts coming in again.
#3 Get Your Career Marketing Collateral Ready to Roll
Make sure your resume and your LinkedIn profile are current in content and fresh in format.
If you haven’t needed to job search in the past 5-7 years, it’s important to note that while networking remains key, you’ll need to make sure both your resume can be read by Applicant Tracking Software or ATS and that your LinkedIn is rich in keywords. The platform is a go-to site for hiring managers and recruiters searching for talent like you.
When it comes to resumes, check out a relevant earlier post detailing 5 critical sections to focus on when writing a healthcare sales resume. For LinkedIn, my post on how to how to hack the LinkedIn algorithm and bubble to the top of medical sales recruiter searches.
#4 Figure Out Who is Hiring
In the world of Medical Sales, there are several pharma and device companies that have had to ramp up their hiring to support those hardest hit by the virus. While networking still reigns as the best way to land fast, job boards like Medreps and LinkedInJobs can give you a solid idea of who has hiring needs.
Another great resource was created by Candor’s founder. This 100% user-generated list contains names of companies hiring by sector. As you can see, healthcare has a strong green bar which means hiring.
#5 Re-Engage Your Network
Once you know who’s hiring, the next step is to figure out who you know, and who you need to know who works there.
At this point, if you’ve been slack about getting in touch with people, don’t beat yourself up or be embarrassed about connecting. People get it – and may welcome the opportunity to talk and commiserate.
Now is the time to reconnect and get conversations going.
#6 Make Sure You Are Ready for A Screen Debut
As you’ve no doubt heard – Zoom has become a part of our everyday vernacular thanks to COVID-19.
While many large companies had embraced video interviewing as part of the hiring process, thanks to the virus, video, and phone interviewing have replaced ALL of it at startups and established companies alike.
Make sure you’re ready for your screen debut by practicing. The good news is that practicing on these sites (Zoom, Skype, UberConference, FreeConferenceCall) is free – which means you can record and see how you look and sound, and play with lighting to help you put your best foot (and face) forward.
# # #
– By Virginia Franco, NCRW, CPRW