I need to preface my comments by acknowledging that getting laid off is not an enjoyable thing for anyone.  Although we don’t have control over being laid off, we do have control over the ensuing job hunt.

The following is a partial list of layoffs that took place last Thursday and Friday around the country:

Northrup Grumman laid off 173 in Virginia, Rockwell Automation laid off 150 in Milwaukee, WI, Price Waterhouse Coopers laid off 500 in Tampa, FL, San Jose CA layed off 50 Firefighters, Whole Foods Markets Inc. laid off 59.

Even people who give their best to a company for many years and perform at a high level can still be susceptible to layoffs.

In my situation, getting laid off turned out to be an opportunity to reach out to many people in my network as a way to connect to as many potential employers as possible. It also gave me the time to expand my network outside of the one I already had established. My expanded network can only help me in the future.

It also forced me to utilize my resources to gain recommendations for networking groups, recruiters, and any other vehicles to explore potential contacts and job opportunities.

Some of the lessons I learned as a result of my own networking initiatives were:

1) Most people are generally kind hearted and willing to help those in need, especially given the current economic times. However, you have to have realistic expectations of them and be prepared to abide by their timeline and busy schedule.

2) If I was respectful of the people, their time, and schedules. They were more than willing to help me connect with people in their networks and/or hiring managers they knew.

3) As stated in Harvey Mackay’s latest book “Use Your Head To Get Your Foot In The Door“. “Getting a job is not a 9 to 5 job. It’s a sixteen-hour-a-day proposition, from the moment you get up until the moment you go to sleep”. The bottom line is that only you know the level of commitment you are giving to your job search. If you don’t like the results, change the approach.

4) Find the expertise that will make your job search and networking more efficient.  This expertise can come from a variety of different sources to include industry professionals, recruiters, HR professionals, neighbors, networking group members, sports teammates, online resources, religious friends and acquaintances, former colleagues, former classmates etc.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, networking is an ongoing daily process.  You never know who you will meet that can help you to find your next career opportunity.

In my case, it allowed me to land a job with a company that I am truly excited to be a part of, and my first day with them is today.