The fourth quarter of the year is the most common time for employees to get laid off. One mistake many people make is that they leave themselves vulnerable by not being prepared for year-end changes in their work situation. If you (or anyone you know) were unfortunate enough to “get the pink slip” in December, the following six steps will help you re-gain control of your career and prepare for a successful transition:

1. Perform an honest assessment of the situation and of yourself. Although most layoffs have nothing to do with individual performance, you should still determine if you could have done anything differently to hold onto your job. This may help you avoid the same fate next time.

2. Take a short mental vacation. Take off a few days to a week, to take stock of your career situation, clear your mind and consider your options. Only then should you begin planning your next career moves.

3. Research the market. Spend time researching the employment trends in your industry and geographic area. This will help you to identify the best companies to work for in your field – which companies are growing and which are contracting.

4. Update your “Career Tool Kit.” Finding a new job is easier when you have the right tools! Now is the time to develop some new “Accomplishment Stories” about achievements you feel proud of. Polish-up that “30-second commercial” (a short verbal presentation about who you are professionally); and bring your résumé and all your other job-seeking documents up-to-date.

5. Reach out and network. Did you know that your network – personal and professional contacts – is your most valuable career asset? Why not leverage this resource by scheduling professional networking activities and appointments? Make contact with new people, and let everyone know that you are always interested in hearing about new opportunities.

6. Practice your interviewing and negotiating skills. It’s a fact: better interviews get better offers! Take the time to prepare questions in advance to ask the interviewer; even role play with a friend to get comfortable answering tough interview questions. In addition, devote time to performing diligent salary research. Make it a point to know what you’re really worth – so that when you reach the salary negotiation stage, you’ll be well-prepared and ready to win!

It’s always best to “stay ahead of the game” – making sure all your career documents and job search skills are up to date – just in case that pink slip finds its way onto your desk at the end of NEXT year!

Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: Reprinted by permission of Ford R. Myers, a nationally-known Career Expert and author of “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring.” For information about career services and products, visit and

Author's Bio: 

Ford R. Myers is President of Career Potential, LLC. Since 1992, he has been providing professional services in career consulting and executive coaching. His firm helps executives and professionals to take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! Career Potential also offers a leading training and certification opportunity called “Ultimate Career Consultants” (

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