News came out just this morning that Target would be shutting down their Canadian operations and laying off their entire staff of over 17,000 people. That followed news from yesterday that Suncor would be cutting 1,000 jobs as the low oil prices have energy companies slowing production and delaying projects.

Well, that’s less than ideal. A job loss is a setback, certainly, but it doesn’t have to derail your career. The most important thing to do is think positive and look for new opportunities.

Don’t let cutbacks, layoffs or the doom and gloom employment headlines discourage you. Unemployment in Canada has been steadily ticking downward since the end of the recession, and we’re still heading in the right direction. Online job postings have been increasing month over month across regions and industries for over a year now.

What to do when you’re let go:

    Exit gracefully: Remember that you may work with your manager or coworkers again in a different company. Don’t do anything rash or unprofessional out of anger. You want to protect your own professional reputation.

    Negotiate: Also, companies want to protect their brands, even in hard times – so they’re going to want to look after the employees they’re laying off as much as they can. See if you can negotiate your severance, including how long your benefits will extend beyond your employment date and if they offer any outplacement services.

    Secure a reference: Make sure that you keep in touch with a manager who can speak highly of your work ethic and abilities for future references. Having positive references and connections who will recommend you to others are some of your most valuable career assets.

    Let your network know that you’ll be looking for new opportunities. Word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful ways to find job opportunities.

    Update your resume, and online profiles – focus on recent accomplishments and transferable skills. We have employers searching our resume database 16,000 times a day for candidates – online job postings have been up month-over-month in all regions for much of the past year. So hiring is happening in Canada. (And for retail workers, your industry is one of the sectors with the highest turnover rate – so positions open all the time.)

    (And clean up your social media profiles. If you haven’t had to look for work in a while, you may not be aware of how most employers screen candidates on their social networks.)

    If you’re in a tight spot, be willing to relocate to where the jobs are, and apply your abilities to where there’s a need. For a long time, the Canadian job market has been affected by areas of labour shortage at the same time as pockets of high unemployment.

There are always jobs available for people willing and able to go to where the need is greatest. Our recent Thinkopolis research report showed that people who relocate for work rise through the ranks faster and achieve much higher levels of career success than those who don’t.

Healthcare; and Processing, Manufacturing, Utilities, Natural Resources & Agriculture are the top growing occupation classes nationally – followed by Sales & Service, Retail and Hospitality, and Business, Finance and Administrative Services. Job postings are up across regions, but the largest spike in growth is in Ontario.

Here are the 10 most in-demand job titles in Canada right now, and what each pays. In good news for the laid off Target workers, both retail sales people and retail managers are among the most sought-after candidates.

Visit the Workopolis Retail Career Centre for great gigs in the retail trade.

Peter Harris
Peter Harris on Twitter


Follow Workopolis