The end of the year not only brings about a stressful holiday season, it's also the time when underperforming companies complete layoffs and corporate restructurings. When large companies like GE announce plans to let 12,000 employees go, it becomes clear that nobody's safe - and every job is temporary.

If you find yourself out of a job during the holidays, here are six tips to help you move forward.

1) Don't delay the job search. As stressful as the season is, and given many employers admittedly slow down hiring during the holidays, you might think it's the perfect time to put the job search on hold and just enjoy yourself. But, you should think twice about doing this. Especially, if it's been some time since you looked for work. The average job search these days is 6-9 months. Resume and cover letter formats have changed, LinkedIn profiles now play a significant role in getting noticed by recruiters, and the process for applying online can be a big black hole if done incorrectly. For many, learning the right way to look for work should be a top priority in order to get hired faster.

2) Start exercising daily. It's normal to go through a grieving process when we lose a job. The fear, anger, doubt, denial, etc. It's important to allow yourself to process your feelings, but don't let it take too long. The sooner you can see the possibility of landing a new, more interesting job, the sooner you'll be in the right state of mind to network, interview, and land a new position. One of the best ways to cope is to exercise. The endorphins will give you a mental and physical boost. You'll need your strength. Plus, exercising will be a stress reliever, a confidence builder, and a mood enhancer. 

3) Get someone to keep you focused. Identify someone you can partner with to help you be accountable and stay positive. Being in isolation, or with other layoff victims will not help your job search. You need a coach who will tell you what you need to hear. A person that knows how to keep you motivated and engaged. Someone who won't let the negative self-talk overtake you and slow down your search. You need a person who will keep you in the proper mindset and push you to be proactive so you can show up every day to move the needle on your job search.

4) Become 100% clear on your specialty. Employers hire the aspirin to their pain. While you might be a diversely skilled, jack-of-all-trades, you can't market yourself that way. Saying you can do everything sounds unfocused and desperate. You need to know what your special problem-solving, pain-relieving expertise is. Then, you need to market it accordingly.

5) Optimize the your sales tools for your business-of-one. Your resume and LinkedIn profile must be set up to showcase your specialty quickly - and with as much impact as possible. Keyword optimization is vital. Knowing what recruiters are looking for when it comes to your skill set and showcasing it in the proper format will dramatically increase the amount of activity you get on your candidacy.

6) Create an interview bucket list. The fastest way to find job opportunities is to build a bucket list of companies you want to work for and network your way into the process. The majority of jobs gotten today are done so via referral. Creating a target list of employers and working a strategy to build relationships with them is the smartest way to land a job with a company you admire and respect. Especially, when you may be competing against lots of other ex-employees for positions.

The potential 'silver lining' to losing your job is...

While it's a much better time to be getting laid-off than in 2009 (during the peak of the recession), that's not the silver lining. The real potential advantage is the chance to up your skills and pivot your career in a new direction.Taking control and putting your career on a different path is one of the most liberating and empowering things we can do. It makes us stronger as a professional. It increases the power of our business-of-one. It's hard, no doubt. But, that also makes the success so much sweeter too.

Published on: Dec 12, 2017