No matter how many stories you hear about downsizing and layoffs, you're never quite prepared when you're the one losing a job. There's nothing wrong with being shaken and shocked by the initial blow -- it's all about how you get back on your feet that will make the difference in your career's trajectory.
Before you start feverishly editing your résumé and obsessing over job sites, take some time to process what happened. Ricky Cohen, author of "Risk to Succeed," suggests taking three weeks before making any big moves. "During the first week a person should mourn his or her loss," explains Cohen. "The second week should be dedicated to an objective evaluation of where he stands, the lessons learned and the future opportunities. The third week should be one where a plan is developed with the components to ensure the greatest possibility of success."
During this time of reflection, it's a good idea to think about what excites you. If you're going to redirect the path of your career, now is a great time to do so. "Ask yourself what you really want to do," says Josh Tolan, CEO of Spark Hire. "Have you just stayed at your job because it was a steady paycheck or because you really loved what you were doing day in and day out? If you were unhappy even before the pink slip, use this as an opportunity to refocus your energies."
When the time comes for you to start applying for a new position, try to remain positive. "Attitude is everything during the job search," says Amit De, CEO and co-founder of Careerleaf. "An unexpected layoff is certain to start a job search off in a less-than-positive direction. As a job seeker, it's important to remain positive, confident and prepared."