Layoffs and downsizings are never pleasant, but asking people to reapply for their own jobs has got to be the worst way to do it.
First, there is the not-so-subtle implication that everybody in the group that is asked to reapply isn't somehow up to snuff professionally or that the new people who are coming in are smarter or better. The reapplying approach ensures that everyone feels angry and upset with the new management.
Second, this approach pits colleagues who may have worked together for years against one another. Usually, when a work unit as a whole is laid off they can share leads and references, even coach each other. Not in these circumstances. Let the political games begin!
Here are some survival tips:
First, don't let the negativity get to you. This is the most important piece of advice I can give you. Unfortunately, this kind of layoff is more common in the Information Technology world, especially when an IT function is outsourced. It is hard if you are affected to maintain your own sense of who you are and what you need to do, when everyone around you is acting in a completely me-first and panicky way. Don't join in. Stay cool, and think through your options. This is an important career decision point for you.
Second, check into the benefits you would get if you were laid off. It can make a huge difference in what you decide to do. If you are going to get a reasonable amount of severance, you might want to get that advanced certification you've been thinking about, or move back to Colorado, or go into business with that friend who is always asking you to join her. Many people use severance to make a career transition.
Think it through. Does your severance allow you to take some time in the job search, or should you get moving right away? Or, is this the time to add to your nest egg by getting a job as soon as possible and banking that severance pay, if you can? Knowing your benefits will help your decision-making.
Update your resume with a big focus on what you have accomplished already in the job you are about to reapply for. Check out my slide show on this site for resume pointers. Start as soon as you can putting your feelers out to see what the market is like for your skills.
Consider joining "them." Don't discount the advantages of going with the acquiring or outsourcing company. It might put the name of a well-known company on your work history. Big companies put a premium on up-to-the-minute skills. They will offer you continuous training and will finance your learning in a way that many other employers cannot match. In return, they will have high expectations of you.
Finally, if you really want it, pull out all the stops, and go for it. That means going to your customers and clients and asking them to put in a good word for you, a very important thing to do if IT is being outsourced. Make a feature of all your outside credentials and associations in your resume, in your elevator speech, and in your interviews. They add credibility to you from an acquirer's standpoint. On the other hand, 20 years in your current company may not. Focus on your interest in learning new programs, new applications, new products. Prove your interest by talking about what's new in your particular field.
And, don't forget; stay positive, active, and focused. Don't let the negativity get to you.
Now that you know what you want to do, click through to page two for specific tips to make your resume shine.