A collection of the best career advice for Lehman and Merrill employees (and anyone else worried your job on Wall Street)

How bad is the situation on Wall Street right now?

“It’s very, very, bad, and things may deteriorate further. This is as bad as anyone alive has ever seen it. Wall Street is broken.”

That’s the assessment from Dealbreaker‘s John Carney in a recent interview with Fishbowl NY. This is a scary situation for everyone, most of all for people who were make their living at Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch.

While events haven’t totally shaken out yet and some jobs may be saved, it’s likely that thousands of Lehman and Merrill employees will be out of jobs. What can they do to move on and start new positions as quickly as possible?

Here are 5 suggestions, and this advice is only the tip of the iceberg. Readers: If you have additional advice (especially if you have Wall Street experience), please share in the Comments section. Thanks!

1. Create a search strategy. This tip comes from Toddi Gutner’s recent Wall Street Journal blog post, “Dealing with a Job Search When You Least Expect It”: “Despite the need to mobilize a quick job search, ‘you don’t want to send out a bunch of things into the marketplace without any thought behind it,’ says Mr. [Doug] Matthews [CEO of Right Management Consultants]. Take some time to create a thoughtful and measured approach to your job hunt. Be specific about the position you want and target the companies where you want to work.”

2. Have a plan B, C and D. This advice comed from LaVern Chapman, an MBA career services professional I spoke with this morning. If you’ve been working in a certain area of high-level finance, you’ll probably need to consider other areas of finance, smaller or more specialized firms, corporate finance or something altogether different. If you’ve been thinking about a career change anyway, now might be the right time to make the switch.

3. Spread the word far and wide that you’re looking for new opportunities. Don’t assume that people will know you’re looking for a job or what kinds of jobs you want. Call, email and set up meetings/chats with friends, former colleagues and other connections. The more people you talk to, the more eyes will be on the lookout for openings that fit your criteria.

4. Increase your social networking activity. Many companies and headhunters, especially smaller ones, are now recruiting solely through LinkedIn, so make sure you are making the most of this medium. For tips on how to stand out and get a job through social networking, check out my post on making the most of LinkedIn.

5. Get emotional support. Losing a job can be very emotional, especially when it happens suddenly. “Enlist the help of a friend, spouse, coach, colleague, etc. Someone who will listen and support you through this transitional period in your life,” advises Deborah Brown-Volkman on Eve Tahmincioglu’s Career Diva Blog . “Looking for a job can be frustrating, time consuming, and disappointing. Remember that you do not have to do it alone.”

Please share and read more tips in the Comments below!

Photo credit: New York Daily News

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Lindsey is a globally recognized career and workplace expert and the leading voice on generational diversity. She has spoken for more than 300 audiences including Google, Goldman Sachs, Estee Lauder, Stanford and Wharton. Lindsey is the author of four career and workplace advice books, and her insights have appeared in media outlets including The TODAY Show, CNBC, NPR, the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal.


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