Press Release: Sharon Armstrong featured in Washington Business Journal article: Bounce back from a layoff

Contact: Hope Katz Gibbs
Inkandescent Public Relations / 703 346-6975

WASHINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL, March 13, 2009 — Layoffs are never pleasant and often scary, but if you stay upbeat, make a plan and get busy, this seismic shift could help push your career in a better direction, human resources training and consulting expert Sharon Armstrong explained to Washington Business Journal reporter Jennifer Nycz-Conner that appeared today on pages 26-27.

Following are tips that Armstrong offered to help you bounce back:

Immediately after getting laid off

Listen. This will be a challenge because you experience a cacophony of emotions. But the information coming at you about severance packages, benefit continuation, the 401(k) plan and outplacement services offered by the company will be important survival tools in the coming weeks. Take notes and get as many details as possible.

• Start making lists of what you need to finish, what you need to hand off and what you need to pass on.

• Ask the human resources department questions. What are you allowed to take with you? Are you under any non-compete rules? Even if you’re angry, “you need to be careful and professional.”

Your first week

• *Get moving. You might not have a job, but you still have plenty to do. Learn about filing for unemployment and note that within 60 days after the layoff you must accept or decline continuation of your health care coverage through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA.

• *Get social. Social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook are free and great ways to see who knows whom. Sign up, if you haven’t already, and spend the first week watching how people interact. Lurk before leaping, however. Blasting everyone you know with “I need a job!” is not the way to engage a social network.

• *Update your resume. Reach out to friends to get copies of their resumes or others they have seen and liked (Armstrong says this doubles as a networking entree).

Weeks two, three and four

• *Make a schedule. People discover that, ironically, with too much time on their hands they get nothing done, Armstrong says. List the things you want to accomplish each week, whether it’s making five new contacts or sending five targeted cover letters.

• *Examine your finances. Look carefully at your living expenses, benefits and investments. Make sure you know what you need, where everything is and where your money is going. 

• *Rethink your network. Your network is everyone you come into contact with, not just former supervisors and colleagues. It’s “family, friends, family of friends and friends of family,” Armstrong says. Want proof? She recently had two clients get leads from their dentists.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO ONE MONTH OUT — and then when you land that next job? Read the entire article on Armstrong’s website: Armstrong also recently appeared on WUSA News Channel 9 to talk about looking for a new job:

*FOR MORE INFORMATION: To set up an interview with Sharon Armstrong, contact Hope Katz Gibbs, Inkandescent Public Relations, 703 346-6975 / Additional information can also be found on her websites: and

*ABOUT SHARON ARMSTRONG: Sharon Armstrong began her career in human resources in 1985 as a recruiter/trainer in a large Manhattan law firm. She took over as Director of HR at the DC firm Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge in 1991, and in 1994 became the Director of HR and Administration at the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. In 2000, she opened her own firm, Sharon Armstrong & Associates, and since has consulted with many large corporations and small businesses. She has facilitated training, completed HR projects and provided career transition services for a wide variety of clients in the profit and non-profit sectors. Her firm also serves as a brokerage house for other HR professionals.

In 1998, she wrote a humor book about her dog Scooter, Healing the Canine Within: A Dog’s Self-Help Companion. Career Press published her next book in 2003: Stress-Free Performance Appraisals: Turn Your Most Painful Management Duty into a Powerful Motivational Tool. In 2008 Career Press also published her latest book, which she co-authored with HR executive Barbara Mitchell, The Essential HR Handbook – A Quick and Handy Guide for Any Manager or HR Professional.

Sharon received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Southern Maine and her Masters Degree in Counseling from George Washington University. She is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR).