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Coping with a layoff? Prepare for Career 2.0

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By J. Thompson
Online Career Tips Staff

Being on the receiving end of a layoff can feel like your career is derailed. Combine that with financial strains and norms associated with unemployment, and you could be feeling added stress. There’s hope on the horizon. The forecast calls for a decline in unemployment rates, but the amount of new jobs may seem to be only a trickle. One way to cope is to take charge by planning your next iteration. Call it, Career 2.0. Here are three simple steps to get going.

1. Don’t just dust off your resume—make it shine.

 Print your resume. Now, tear it up. It’s not only liberating, it’s a sign you’re ready to reinvent yourself. Luckily, you have an electronic version saved. Now, give it the overhaul it needs. A simple trick is to remove any passive voice by using only active verbs. Hiring managers and recruiters will thank you for it. They’re buried under resumes stuck in the past (tense). Make sure you also link your previous job duties to the bottom line. In short, use metrics if you can. Lots of candidates promise results—only quantified examples prove it.  

Don’t worry if you have a few gaps in your experience. It’s perfectly normal in this day and age. If you do have gaps, just be sure you show that you’ve been keeping busy. For example, if you went back to school, then say so, even if you haven’t graduated. It’s a great way to demonstrate that you’re serious about bolstering your knowledge. Oh, and don’t forget to proofread your resume. Nothing says sloppy like a bad typo.

2. Incorporate yourself.

While you’re waiting for opportunity to call, consider joining the expanding community of motivated professionals who gig. Many professionals are between jobs and use freelance work to keep their momentum. If you do take gigs, think about the advantages of incorporating. It may allow you to maximize your earnings by fully deducting costly work-related expenses. Every state has a Small Business Administration with helpful people to guide you through every aspect of building a solid business plan to getting funding. If you want to keep it a small limited liability corporation (LLC), your state’s corporate commission website is easily searchable and provides easy steps on how to register a business. Of course, talk to a tax professional to see what works best for your situation.  

Many people prefer taking contract work over the traditional job search, because it allows them to build their professional network and try a variety of jobs they may not have considered previously. Simultaneously, organizations sometime use this opportunity to assess potential talent and may later bring consultants onboard as full-time employees.

3. Consider education.

[If you’re looking to get started on a quality online degree take a look at 140 different programs offered at APU.]

Although getting a degree does not guarantee a job or career, some view a layoff as time to explore new fields of study or to enhance their skillsets. However, affordability, flexibility and the quality of a program are major factors to consider. Over 80,000 students are part of a community of learners at American Public University (APU). Many chose APU because it is a member of the regionally accredited American Public University System, and it provides affordable options and the convenience of online learning.

J. Thompson is the Vice President of the Content team at American Public University. He earned an M.F.A in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles and performed his undergraduate studies in English literature, political science and business management between the University of New Mexico and East Carolina University. His career insights draw upon experience as a communications vice president supporting learning management, applicant tracking, and talent and leadership development for Bank of America and other Fortune 500 firms.

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