Airplanerecent report from CNBC reveals that there has been a surge in layoffs in the U.S. In fact, there was a 43 percent increase in job cuts in September (58,877) from August (41,000).

Thankfully, there don’t seem to be any signs of an impending economic downturn. Even so, a significant number of Americans — perhaps more than half a million every year — will at some point find themselves out on the pavement without a job. The effects of such layoffs can be devastating for workers, especially for those who have been taken by surprise.

With job prospects remaining good overall, however, a positive attitude and strong job-search technique will ensure that most workers can get back on track within a few months. In this relatively buoyant economy, there are lots of exciting options open to laid-off workers. The sky is truly the limit.

Don’t believe me? Here are some and ways that laid-off workers can reinvigorate their careers:

Personal Contacts Can Catapult You to New Levels of Success

Start by utilizing your contacts, as they will supercharge your career. For example:

- Surveys suggests that most jobs are filled via referrals and word of mouth.

Referred candidates are twice as likely to be interviewed and have a 40 percent higher chance of being hired than non-referred candidates.

85 percent of small business clients are found via world of mouth.

One of your first priorities after hearing of your impending layoff should be to work your contacts. Some of your best contacts will be in your current/former company, and that’s why it’s important to spend your final days/weeks chatting extensively with your internal contacts.

Make a list of all your key contacts, whether internal or external, and work through it. The goal should be to get as many of the following as possible from each contact:

  1. LinkedIn recommendations
  2. LinkedIn skill endorsements
  3. A named referral in another business who could help you get a new job
  4. A promise of a glowing reference
  5. An opportunity for you to sell your services back to the company on a freelance or B2B basis

Now Is the Best Time Ever to Go Freelance

SkyIn the current economy, an appropriately qualified applicant can probably expect to be at work again in just about five weeks, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

That being said, going straight back into permanent employment is not your only option. With so many global freelance marketplaces in existence, going freelance is not such a big gamble any more. Anyone can do it. You don’t need a preexisting book of leads and contacts. Just join a freelancing site and update your profile, and you’ll be able to bid on, win, and be paid for projects within hours.

Of course, it’s not quite that easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it. There is a barrier that keeps many people from going freelance: You might not be paid great rates in the early days. You may need to adopt a loss-leading strategy as you learn how to market yourself well, spot good clients, and win great jobs. Over time, though, you’ll be able to generate a bank of well-paying clients.

Consumers Love Small Businesses

There has been a gradual erosion of trust in big brands over the years as a result of high-level financial mismanagement and corruption, large-scale ecological disasters, emissions scandals, and so on.

Consumers are turning towards the little guys in business, whom they feel they can trust more than the corporate bigwigs. There has never been a better time to start a small, ethical, customer-orientated small business. There are plenty of alternative funding sources, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, to help you get on your feet, too.

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Losing your job can be difficult, but the reality is there has probably never been a better time to be laid-off. We are in a healthy economy, meaning the continuation of your existing career path is a viable option. Also, the barrier to entry to the freelance world has been removed, making it easy for anyone to launch an exciting freelance career. The ground is also very fertile for starting a new business.

With grit, bravery, and a little inspiration, the sky really is the limit for the laid-off worker.



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