In these tough economic times, layoffs are inevitable but how do you move forward after a job loss?

Mike Gooley, branch manager for the Toronto operations of Robert Half International offers some tips on what to do following a layoff. “The first thing is to evaluate your circumstances and take care of practical things like health insurance and reduce expenses,” said Gooley, in a telephone interview with Suite “It’s okay to take a few days or weeks to mourn the loss of your job but you should make the routine of job hunting as a job in of itself.” He added once people assess their financial situation, it gives them an idea of what they need to make ends meet and how selective they can be in their employment search.

The Successful Job Hunt

One of the keys to a successful job hunt is networking, said Gooley. “There is a lot of competition for jobs and networking allows you to meet people, find jobs not advertised and is an important part of any employment search,” he explained in a telephone interview. Gooley added that there are a lot more networking options now then there were five years ago.

“There is much more networking opportunities online. There are networking groups to a person’s functional role or groups for industries or those that have been laid off to share ideas and best practices. The Internet has changed networking,” he explained. For example, Gooley cited social networking site LinkedIn as being used for job searches. Also, Gooley suggested that job seekers work with a staffing agency or a recruiter to learn about job openings not advertised. A staffing agency can also be useful if people are looking for training courses or project work.

Other tips to enhance your job hunt include re-doing your resume to make sure that it highlights accomplishments and achievements and also Gooley advised people to have a good elevator speech to bring to interviews that says who they are, what they are looking for and the skills sets they offer. “It is about what makes you a great addition to a company and you need to be able to verbalize that succinctly,” he said.

More for Less

However, Gooley said that you should prepare yourself for the reality of taking a lower paying job in this economy, especially if you want to move into a different career or area. “If you want to add more experience to your resume or life experience, it may require a lower paying salary. It’s the practicality of making ends,” he added. “Treat this as an opportunity for career advancement and as a potential to grow to earn more down the road.”

Other Ways to Enhance Your Job Search

Step outside your comfort zone. Avoid limiting your search to your current industry or field. Identify your transferable skills and experiences, and communicate them to prospective employers. Cast a wide ‘net.’ General job boards can be useful, but don’t forget industry and trade association websites, which may have more targeted career opportunities. Customize. Tailor your resume and cover letter for each opportunity. Employers want to see why you’re the right person for their job.

Enhance your marketability. Find out what skills are most in-demand and take courses to give you an edge in these areas. Focus on sharpening both your functional and interpersonal skills.