Why layoffs are a jobseekers best friend

I feel a poem coming on.

Layoffs suck.
I hate ’em.
I know you do too.
Economy sucks.
The End.

(Insert the sound of fingers snapping here)

Okay, besides the sentiment of my poem, what else do layoffs make you think about? Is there anyway a layoff can be a good thing? Well, actually, yes they can be… for the unemployed. How? Consider this, one way to get ahead in business (or the job market for that matter) is to be connected to the right people. If you wanted to connect with say… a VP of Engineering working in the Semiconductor industry and you did not know anyone that could introduce you, how much luck would you have getting past an Admin who is screening his (or her) calls? Probably, not much, especially if you are trying to position yourself for a job. However, how much would your chances improve if the person you wanted to talk to was just laid off? (Don’t answer. It was a rhetorical question.)

Layoffs (and a down economy) are good for at least one thing – future business opportunities. Why? People are more open to talking to you now because possibly / maybe you might be able to help them down the road. And the longer they have been out of work, the more open they are to networking. I suggest that you take advantage of this now because as bad as things are now, they will not always be. When the job market returns and business returns to “normal” everyone will have less time to deal with your request for job opportunities and simply refer you to a recruiter who will refer you to a blackhole of resumes and you may never be seen or heard from again. Make sense?

Nowadays, I hear a lot about layoffs, but they do not all interest me. Nor, should they interest you. What should pique your interest are layoffs in your industry. If, say… Xerox was laying off people left and right and your skills would be a good match for that company, connect with their employees. Even if they are not working now, they will be eventually and most likely it will be for a competitor where your skills are still valued. Make sense?

Let’s imagine that you are looking for networking connections in the finance arena. Sure, there are a lot of Wallstreet companies you can pursue, but who would be more open to talking to you? Let’s do a search on Google and see.

I look for companies that are announcing a hiring freeze and see that Morgan Stanley has announced a hiring freeze and people are concerned about layoffs. Yikes! Well, now may be a good time to reach out to Morgan Stanley employees and say that you would like to network with them. Perhaps in the near-future you may be able to refer job leads to them and vice-versa. Get it?

If you like the direction this is going in, here are a few more searches to get your brain in motion. Of course, you may want to change the keywords to fit the industry you serve. (Smile)

Happy Hunting!

Jim

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