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  • Preparing for a Layoff, Hostess Style

    By now you’ve probably heard about Hostess’ liquidation, as many are mourning over the apparent “death” of their beloved Twinkies and Wonder Bread. Although we may yet see our favorite indestructible snacks find a home with a new company, what will become of Hostess’ workers?

    Most of Hostess’ 18,500 employees have lost their jobs, throwing many people back into the job search. Even if you aren’t a Hostess employee, it’s important to be prepared for a layoff, which happens all too often in today’s particularly shaky economy.

    If you think your company may be looking to lay off workers, you don’t need to go into freak-out mode. There are plenty of steps you can take to prepare yourself for a potential layoff, and most of it simply requires rebranding yourself for a new career. Read on for a few tips on how you can prepare for a layoff:

    Set aside money. Before a layoff, it’s important to have your finances in order. Create a safety net for yourself, and try to save money for basic living expenses for the next three to six months–the average length of a job search. If you haven’t already been doing so, begin living within your means and cut unnecessary expenses.

    Revamp your image. Start re-branding your professional image to cater to the position or industry you’re looking to jump in on. Rework your resume to ensure it’s up to date, and cater it to your new potential employer or industry. Think carefully about your past experiences and abilities, and consider how they apply to the new position you seek. Read all job descriptions carefully, and cater each cover letter and resume to each individual employer. Cookie-cutter resumes are easy to spot, so don’t get lazy!

    Find new opportunities. There are tons of places you can receive career training and other resources for your job search, largely for free. Sign up for e-newsletters on job searching, and follow job search blogs to gather insight. Compile a list of target companies and connect with them on LinkedIn. Many colleges offer former students career services even after they’ve graduated, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with them or your local community college to see if they can help you with networking and career opportunities.

    Network. In Utah, Hostess employees have been invited to attend a career fair where they can network with new employers. They’re also being provided with job search training in many areas. While your former employer may not provide these services for you, you can still reach out to your network of contacts to get insight on any leads. Invite former colleagues or an employee at your target company to an informational interview. Don’t neglect social media as a key way to gather leads on new opportunities and network with those in your industry–just make sure your online presence is clean and reflects your career goals.

    Although the situation can be scary, being laid off isn’t the end of the world, and it certainly doesn’t reflect on your professional abilities. If you’re well-prepared and know how to get started conducting a new job search, being laid off can be seen as an opportunity to explore new career paths. Good luck!

    Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president ​of Come Recommended, a career and workplace education and consulting firm specializing in young professionals. She is also the author of#ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), national entry-level careers columnist forExaminer.com and blogs about career advice at HeatherHuhman.com.

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