NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- These are troubling times for the worker. According to Gallup, only 42% of U.S. adults work full time, which the polling firm defines as Americans 18 or older working more than 30 hours per week.
If you've been laid off recently and want to get right back on the job track, you're going to need a plan.
We'll get to that job search blueprint in a moment. The first move to make, experts say, is to not blame your previous employer for your predicament, and to keep things positive.
"People lose their jobs for many reasons," says Kathy Harris, a managing partner at Harris Allied, a New York City executive recruiting firm. "Maybe their company has decided to outsource or sell a division; it's purely a financial decision; or the nature of the work or business has changed. Even in cases when you're fired for poor performance, it's important to leave that embarrassment at the door and put the past behind you so you can look forward."
Instead, put some positive energy into these steps from Harris that will hike your odds of landing a good job in quick fashion.
Start from scratch with a fresh resume. A common mistake among recently laid-off job searchers is to update an existing resume. Instead, craft a brand-new one, Harris says, elevating factors that weren't relevant five years ago but are today.
Play the "dating" game. Leave the months of previous job spans off your resume -- just list years. Harris says it's unnecessary to list months on a resume. Doing so risks getting the dates wrong, and an employer will view that as a negative.Explain your "interruption." Be upfront and honest on why you were laid off, since hiring managers will check your references and look to corroborate your story. Always keep your layoff story as positive as possible. A "bitter" explanation will hurt you with potential employers.
Link Up. When looking for a job, make sure to freshen up your LinkedIn page. List professional credentials or accreditations and make sure you "purge" your Facebook and Twitter accounts of any comments or images that will reflect poorly on you with new employers.
Always be making connections. Every day, make sure you're networking on- and offline. Ask old contacts out for coffee or lunch, and aim to establish new contacts. Use LinkedIn to connect with those contacts and keep all conversations positive and upbeat.
Also, apply some useful "distractions" such as volunteering or mentoring a younger friend, family member or professional contact. That will make you feel better about yourself and possibly land you some useful connections in the process.
Yes, finding a job is often an uphill climb. Make that climb easier to manage by planning out your job search to the letter and keeping that job search as fresh and positive as possible.