When a Layoff Leads to a Better Life

Multiple layoffs lead to better jobs and more income for one national sales manager.


Lynn Hancock has developed a resilient coat of armor. Early last year she found herself out of a job for the third time since 2001, when she was informed that her position at a privately held consumer electronics firm would be relocated. Hancock – a Virginia native who resides in Mechanicsville, Va. – was by then a seasoned and savvy job hunter. She knew how to launch a full-scale campaign to find not only alternative work but an ideal position with the highest base salary and earning potential she has had to date.

“It has been my experience that if you are good at what you do and you believe in yourself and your skills, and can adapt easily, there is always something out there,” said Hancock, “and in many cases, it may take a while but it can turn out to be something that can be better. Progressively, my positions have been better opportunities for me.”

Unable to relocate; a virtual search

A principal mandate for Hancock was to find a job in Virginia. Relocation was not an option. For that reason, when she signed up on Ladders, she conducted her search in the “virtual/travel” option. This enabled her to secure a home-based position, something that she has enjoyed in her previous jobs since 1991. “I just wanted to maintain that continuity. I was able to achieve that by looking for virtual/travel positions through Ladders – which was very important to me.”

She lost no time getting her search underway. Job opportunities, Hancock said, should be pursued the day they are advertised because first respondents receive the quickest recognition. Only the positions she responded to on the same day they had been posted proved to be the most promising. She received a response within 48 hours and in every case was called in for an eventual interview.

A pre-emptive approach also served Hancock well. She began her search as soon as she “caught wind that something might be happening” within her organization. As a supplemental action in her job-search strategy, Hancock joined SalesLadder before her last day in her previous company on the recommendation from a co-worker. When she was laid off, her approach to finding work was already in place and multipronged. Hancock began researching firms she thought might be a potential fit, identifying companies where she might be able to create a position for herself and working with an outplacement service from her severance package.

The general perception, she recalled, was that networking was the key element in the job search. So when she received a standard form letter by e-mail thanking her for her resume and interest with the distant promise that the company would be in touch, her next step in those cases was to network among colleagues and friends to see if they knew anyone who worked in those companies. “But I was able to overcome the perception [that solely networking – not online listings] were effective, and got three interviews off Ladders. One was the job that I received.”

A narrow focus on customer electronics

Hancock began working in technology in her first position out of school in the late ‘80s: an information-systems coordinator in a savings and loan. She has been involved in tech ever since. With an undergraduate degree in marketing from Virginia Tech and a Masters in Business Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), she remained focused on identifying a job in the consumer-electronics industry. It was only later that she added sales to her repertoire.

While working in the merchandising department of a computer firm, buying software, peripherals and accessories, Hancock realized her personality was better-suited to sales, and she went to work for one of her company’s suppliers, a hardware and software distributor. Based out of her home office in Virginia, she covered retail accounts for all of the East Coast and has been working in sales from home ever since.

She had previously worked for a company that produced media-player and laptop accessories. So when she learned of the role of national sales manager for Internet business and sourcing network sales at Pandigital, Hancock knew the position would be a great match for her experience and skills.

Based in Dublin, Calif., Pandigital boasts of a position the market-share leader in the production of digital picture frames, with more than 1 million units sold.

But it was not only the fact that Pandigital is the manufacturer of a globally distributed consumer-electronics product that attracted Hancock to the position.

Between 2002 and 2004, Hancock had worked at Digital River, where she led a sales force that focused on channel building e-commerce stores for online retailers. The job at Pandigital lets her exercise her digital expertise with a consumer-electronics product that is available online as well as retail outlets.. “I have a lot of experience managing products and building Internet businesses. I was looking for something that might also tie into that.” Hancock was brought on board at Pandigital to expand the company’s Internet presence: “Typically, Pandigital has not sold on the Internet in the past except through their major retailers. We have a strong belief that in slower economic times [consumers] tend to gravitate toward the internet for a lot of their purchases because of the perceived value that you get.”

For others in the job market, she is confident that there are still positions in sales up for grabs: “It is a tough time out there. But I am still getting my base Ladders e-mails, and there are still plenty of positions. So, they’re out there and you just have to know what you want to do and really go out after it.” But job seekers, she says, need to self-analyze, look into their career backgrounds and identify their transferable skills. “If I am in sales in the financial-services industry,” she said hypothetically, “I am still in sales. And I have been in business, and I understand business, and I am a consumer. I have a great interest in technology, and I keep up with technology. You really have to sell the fact that you can sell and have great account-management skills. A proven success record is what people are looking for. You really have to call that out. My advice is if you applying to these ads, [your pitch] can’t be ‘Dear Sir, Here’s my resume. I am interested.’ It has to be ‘I am the person you are looking for. I can do this. I have done it. I will do it.’”