So you've been laid off…what now?
Your story isn't over yet
If you've never been laid off then you probably haven’t worked very long. Getting laid off is part of having a career. Companies change, markets change, and the employees that are needed to run those businesses can change. So as painful as it is to hear, get used to it.
It's not about you
The first days after company layoff you go through a lot of different emotions. You ask yourself a ton of questions; why me, why now, what did I do wrong to get caught up with this. In 99% of the cases during a layoff, there is nothing you could have done any differently to change the outcome. This is generally not about your personal performance, but rather the performance or strategic changes of the company overall.
The first thing you need to remember is to not panic. Losing a job is not the end of the world. Is it painful? Yes. Is it inconvenient? Absolutely. But you won't die from losing a job. So grab perspective with both hands I get a plan together to secure your next job.
Figure out what you're looking for in a new job
This is probably one of the most important areas when you are looking for a new position. Take the time to decompress a bit after the emotional roller coaster of the layoff. Think about what you really liked and did not like about your past role. Figure out what you were good at and things you needed to work on. This makes it much easier to find a new job that you will truly enjoy and thrive in. Knowing what you want also helps you, recruiters, and hiring managers quickly determined if you're a good fit for an opening. This also helps you refine your online searching to focus on specific opportunities rather than blasting your resume at every job posting you see, aka “shotgun approach”.
Clean up your resume and LinkedIn profile
Dig out that old resume you have stored away, and update it with your most recent job. Focus on the role you had and what you were you able to accomplish. There are ample resume-writing tips online, but keep things simple and avoid any “secret tricks” that some might promote.
LinkedIn is one of the largest business oriented social media platforms of the internet, so it has the attention of recruiters and businesses alike. If you are looking for a new job, you first need to update your profile. If you don't have one yet, this is the perfect time to do so! Update your job history, any certifications you've picked up in your current job, and be sure to flag yourself is open for work. During this process LinkedIn will also ask you what you're looking for in a new job.This will get the attention of recruiters it'll allow them to match you up with positions align with your needs.
If you already have connections, you can reach out to them for any insight on companies hiring or industry trends that you're not aware of. Also don’t be shy about asking for LinkedIn recommendations from former coworkers.
Find other social media platforms for your niche
If you're in a technology field there are hundreds of platforms dedicated for the sharing of technical trends, tips and tools, and job opportunities. For example, https://dev.to is it platform catering to software developers both experienced and new. People publish articles a technical topics, but also topics related to career planning and job opportunities. These sites could be a great source for both finding positions and identifying tech areas that are growing.
Find your local users groups of you aren't already a member
If you aren't already a member of a local user group for a technology that you use regularly, this is a great time to find one and get involved. Take the experience you've gained from your most recent job and offer to present at the user group. This both gives you practice at presenting but also provides you visibility within the group about your technical expertise. Recruiters often turn to these groups when looking for specific types of skills to fill open positions, so involvement can often lead to additional opportunities. https://www.meetup.com/ is still a great way to locate user groups near you. If you can find one, start one!
Use the extra time productively
There are only so many hours in a day that you can post resumes. Use the extra time to work on that personal project you've been thinking about for a while, take a course, or get a new certification you’ve been putting off. Not only does this make you feel better, it’s is a great way to build up your GitHub portfolio. A GitHub portfolio or personal blog is another source that recruiters and hiring managers will look to in assessing your skills.
Lead with your strengths
We're preparing for interviews and filling out job applications it can be uncomfortable for those who are not used to speaking to their strengths or touting their accomplishments. Be proud of what you've been able to create in the past but not to the point of sounding cocky. Bring humble is a strong trait, but it doesn’t mean you can't be proud of what you've accomplished. This confidence is a huge factor in how you come across to potential employers.
Organize a plan to track job applications
Once you've updated your resume in any social media profiles you'll start getting flooded with emails and messages of opportunities with things like “urgent need” and the like. Before you take the knee jerk reaction and start sending a resume to everyone, get together a way to track who you've sent your resume to, the job you applied for, when to follow up, and any other pertinent information like the job posting link. You can use a spreadsheet, database or whatever to you like to organize this, but be intentional and consistent and how you track it. Finding a job IS your new job.
You'll find that many jobs you apply to may not respond for weeks. Having a master list of all your applications and their status is a great way to stay on top of things and be responsive. For companies that do not use recruiters, an overwhelmed hiring manager may just have missed your message, so following up is a great way to show initiative. Just don’t be pushy — that will not be to your benefit.
Tech recruiters can get a bad rap in this process. However, the true professionals know the pulse of the industry they represent and can give you great feedback on where the opportunities are, and how to find them. They can help advocate on your behalf to ensure your resume gets moved forward and not locked in some inbox folder. Have them explain their process for handling your resume and presenting you to their clients. One thing you do not want to do is to double-apply, that is directly apply for a job online, then have a recruiter present your resume for the same position. This just causes confusion.
You’ll get through this
Know that you will get through this. It could be an emotional ride going through the process but focusing on what you want and being flexible on how you get there we'll give you something to focus on that will help take the edge off. It takes time, persistence, and faith in yourself.
Change is constant…learn to embrace it.