You don't want to burn any bridges here, so again keep your messaging upbeat and when people ask, be prepared to articulate a solid answer. "People take job loss personally and because of this they speak poorly about their past employer, manager and/or co-workers. It is crucial to remain professional throughout the process. If you maintain a neutral relationship with your previous employer, this can provide the opportunity for a potential reference in the future," says Sampson.
Step 8: Use tradeshows, groups, projects and user groups to network
IT pros can also reach out to the LinkedIn groups they participate in and any relevant developer groups that they are a member of. If possible, attend any relevant trade shows that are in your area.
Step 9: Create an elevator pitch
The other thing you want to work on, according to Ripaldi, is your elevator pitch -- a short, well-articulated story that highlights what separates you from all the other people out there doing the same job. "When you tell people that story, they should know what you do and, if it's done the right way, they should remember you," says Ripaldi.
Step 10: Consider contract work
As an IT pro, taking a contract position can be a way to build new skills or fill the financial gap that losing your job causes. "You've got to pay your bills, but experts warn that the stopgap measure that gets the funds rolling in oftentimes turns into a situation where a year later you're asking yourself, "How did I get here?"
"You've got to ask yourself, what do I want to do moving forward?'" says Van Vreede. Remember taking a contract position is a stopgap measure unless you plan on remaining independent indefinitely; you still need to devote the proper amount of time to finding a new position that matches your skillset and needs.
Step 11: Use the right email address
A lot of job searching happens online so make sure you are using an appropriate email address to conduct your job hunting. "Always use a personal email address for your job search. Ensure that the address is professional -- for example, firstname.lastname@example.org. Another affordable option is to purchase a personalized domain from a domain registry, such as www.godaddy.com for as little as $6/year. This ensures privacy, provides customization and separates work from personal emails," says Sampson.
Step 12: Speak with HR
Make sure you take the time to find out from HR how to apply for Cobra health benefits. Alternately, if you have a spouse you could get put on his or her policy.
Depending on how many people are being terminated, outplacement services such job search and resume help may be available.
Step 13: Don't be too hard on yourself
Losing a job is difficult, but it's important to remain positive and focused on the task at hand. If you just sit back and listen to yourself that's when doubt sets in and that will make your transition more difficult. Try to not listen to yourself; you'll be focusing on the challenges a little too much. This may put you in a negative frame of mind. Try giving yourself words of encouragement and go over your plan. Tell yourself: "Here's what I'm going to do, these are the companies I'm going to target, these are the companies that I could be of value to, here is my plan for this week." Give yourself the opportunity to get through this period of transition.
Read more about careers in CIO's Careers Drilldown.