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Talent Talk: What to Do If You Got Laid Off or Furloughed

To modify an old saying, the best time to start networking was 10 years ago; the second-best time is today.

Coronavirus-related unemployment claims in the United States are approaching 40 million. Our plastics industry has been more fortunate than many, but there are still quite a few of our brothers and sisters who became a statistic. This week’s blog is for those people, many of whom I have spoken to or exchanged notes with over the past few weeks.

Image: Jirapong/Adobe Stock

First, keep in mind this is not your fault. There is a stigma associated with “getting let go,” but if your company is in markets that have slowed significantly, history will not judge you. If you lost your job and have been beating yourself up, stop, and start taking some positive actions.

To modify an old saying, the best time to start networking was 10 years ago; the second-best time is today. There are companies hiring right now. There are other forums for networking, like our industry associations, but let us start with LinkedIn. It is really a monopoly for professional social media. Now is a good time to check your profile and make sure it is best in class, with a great picture and background.

Include a note that you are available for new opportunities. There is a place to add your contact information: Make sure you include your personal e-mail at a minimum. If you are no longer with your most recent employer, a company or recruiter needs to be able to reach you easily. I recommend including your cell number, also.

You can also include your full resume, but whether you do or do not, make sure your profile reads like a resume, emphasizing achievements. There is a section for recommendations, which is a great place to have a public endorsement from an old supervisor, or higher level.

Once you feel good about your profile, start sending requests to people in the industry. Include a note — keep it brief and to the point. It is okay to let people know you are looking for a new opportunity, but do not come across as desperate. Some of the best notes I’ve seen read something like this: “Hi Paul, I’m guessing that your company is not adding to its sales staff right now, but I am looking for a new opportunity within polymer additive sales and hope you will keep me in mind should you have any needs in that area.”

Remember, companies are hiring. My estimate is about 15% of our normal client base, so it is a small minority, but if you are looking for a job, you need to do the work to find them. In addition to those hiring now, a great many have indicated to me they will resume hiring in Q3, so your networking today will bear fruit soon.

About the author

Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at paul@klaindustries.com.

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