April 16, 2014 — While hiring has improved, the number of layoffs in recent months has been higher than a year ago, and it isn’t getting much easier for those who have been laid off to find new employment, according to OI Global Partners.
“People who have been laid off recently, or are concerned about losing their jobs, need to learn what job-search tactics and strategies are working best in this job market,” said Patty Prosser, chair of OI Global Partners, a leading human resources consulting firm that specializes in career transition, executive coaching, leadership consulting and other workforce solutions.
Layoffs and discharges during the three most recent months for which there are government statistics (December 2013-February 2014) are a little higher than their year-ago levels. There were 5.28 million layoffs and discharges during the three months vs. 5.07 million in the same period a year ago, according to the Labor Department’s most recent job openings and labor turnover survey.
“Although there are more jobs and the unemployment rate is lower, many of the jobs being created are part-time positions and there hasn’t been much improvement in the number of long-term unemployed or under-employed,” added Prosser.
“A number of employers are hiring workers at the same time as they are cutting some employees who do not have the skills they need. It remains a very challenging job market and it may be even more difficult to find a job today because employers are demanding a higher level of skills,” Prosser said.
Consultants at OI Global Partners recommend these strategies for those who have recently been laid off:
- Devote more effort to networking and less time to searching for jobs online. “Too many people are spending too much time applying for jobs online and are not spending enough time networking. That is how most job leads are uncovered and most people are hired,” said Prosser.
- Increase your personal contact. “Have more face-to-face meetings with networking contacts and recruiters – rather than only over the phone or via e-mail – to learn more about potential opportunities and make a good impression,” said Prosser.
- Take advantage of career counseling. Utilize outplacement career counseling assistance you are given and request it if it isn’t part of your severance package. Laid-off employees reported significantly improving their job search skills after receiving outplacement counseling, according to a survey by OI Global Partners.
- Update and focus your LinkedIn profile. “Make certain your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and aligns with what you want to do. Choose a headline for your profile that showcases your range of capabilities rather than only stating your job title. Employers are more often searching LinkedIn for qualified candidates and you want to be included in searches that match your full set of skills,” said Prosser.
- Expand your career possibilities. Explore whether you can work for your former employer as a contract or freelance employee and seek other contract assignments. Consider relocating at your own expense. Fewer employers are paying to relocate workers. Those who are willing to do this on their own can have more job opportunities.
- Determine demand for your skills. Study job postings for occupations in which you already have the necessary experience and education to gauge the marketplace for your skills.
- Transfer your experience to another industry or change careers. “You may able to transfer your experience to growing industries such as health care and information technology. Analyze job openings for new careers you are considering and ascertain how strong the demand is for these occupations. Gain knowledge of your desired industry or new career and broaden your network to include people from your newly chosen field,” said Prosser.
- Seek out specialized websites. Employers are increasingly using specialized websites geared toward specific professions to post jobs, rather than on more general job boards.
- Get an “in” to targeted companies. Build a rapport via LinkedIn with appropriate contacts in targeted employers and seek referrals from current and past employees of those companies.
- Explore government help. Identify what government services may be available to you, at no charge, for training/re-training and job placement assistance.