Don't Get Caught Off Guard by a Layoff

I talk to human resources departments every day, and in many cases, they warn me that their situations change even from week to week. One day, their bosses feel the company can ride out this downturn. The next week, they are asked to draw up a list of employees who would be the first to go. So, this is a constantly changing landscape.

Explaining a layoff.

When you're looking for a new job, don't be shy about how to address the fact that you were laid off. As much as it may sting personally, there isn't much of a stigma to being laid off in the current economic conditions. Anyone who watches the news knows people are being laid off every day.

Try to emphasize the big picture. For example, be clear that your entire department was laid off or that half the team lost jobs. Take the focus off you and make it clear you were not let go because of your performance. Stress that you're proud of your record and get a reference from your former employer to back this up.

And no matter how bitter you are about being laid off, do not bad mouth your former employer. Being laid off today is, in many cases, not personal, and so, you should not take it that way. Don't risk coming across as a disgruntled person to future potential employers.

Tory Johnson is the Workplace Contributor on ABC's "Good Morning America" and the CEO of Women For Hire. Visit her Web site at www.womenforhire.com.

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