After layoff, how to compete against thousands

News of layoffs is happening daily, with the latest being Citigroup announcing 53,000 more job cuts and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. saying it will lay off thousands more. They join the 10.1 million Americans already unemployed, a 6.5% unemployment rate. At least they're getting a little notice before Christmas arrives.

Even if they saw it coming, getting laid off is a jolt. It not only means losing an income, but can also be at least a temporary loss of self-esteem. I was laid off on June 27 at a newspaper in the San Francisco Bay Area -- a paper where I had been an editor for 13 years, so I know first-hand what it's like to lose a job. It was the first time in my career that I had been without work.

While the shock and sleepless nights ended after a few weeks, it took a little longer for the sick feeling in my gut to go away. It was the feeling and constant worry about how to pay the bills and ensure my family can stay afloat and in our home. Some days I still have those fears, although a few part-time jobs have helped ease my mind as I look for full-time work.