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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

May 5, 2009 at 2:46 PM

Advice from Microsoft worker laid off in January on how to find next job

So you’ve been laid off from Microsoft and you’re wondering what you’re going to do next. I just spoke to Noel Paterson, a program manager who was laid off from Microsoft’s Games group in January after three years at the company.

Paterson said that on Jan. 22 he was pulled into a conference room with about 15 people and told they were all being let go. His director talked, then the human resources people gave each a packet of information about a severance package and career assistance. Then they told him to go home and talk to family, and he came back the next day to pick up his stuff and tie up any loose ends.

Paterson started the Facebook group The Microsoft 1400 to support other people who were laid off in January. He has since found a new job at GameHouse Studios. Here’s his advice on how to get on with your life and find a new job:

Be with your friends and family.

Paterson went home and created the Facebook group but he remembers people looking shell shocked by the news. He had been through a layoff before in 2004 during the dot-com bust. “I would recommend surrounding yourself with friends and family for sure as much as possible,” he said.

Remember you’re not alone.

“There’s 4,000 people that are in the same kind of boat, that’s just in this area, let alone all the other industries. That can help a little bit, to realize you just got caught in the bad side of a wave,” he said.

Don’t wait too long to start job searching.

Paterson said he gave himself a couple days, then started searching for a new job.

Use the career services Microsoft is offering.

Microsoft has set up a place on campus where laid-off employees can take classes on resume writing and building connections with other employers and recruiters in the area. It’s especially useful if you haven’t job searched in a while, Paterson said.

Network, network, network.

“It’s a lot of networking,” Paterson said. “I would rely on the people you know. Maybe meet your friends for lunch who might have jobs at other companies, maybe go to social networking events.”

Paterson recommends Social Media Club, which has an event on May 13, and Seattle Job Social, which has an event coming upon May 19.

“You would have better luck than just by applying to a job on the Web,” he said.

Networking was how Paterson found his new job — through a friend.

Use online resources like Facebook and Twitter.

Paterson pointed to another Facebook group, Help Microsoft Friends Find a Job.

He also began following recruiters and career experts on Twitter, such as Fishdogs and CincyRecruiter.

Consider going back to school.

If you have considered this possibility but just haven’t had the time, Paterson suggests looking at City University, which has scholarships for people who have been laid off.

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