A guide to getting back on your feet after being laid off.
Congratulations, you are now jobless. Whether it be “poor performance” or like many others, a result of the widespread corporate panic that is taking place in the form of layoffs. Either way, being jobless sucks. Being in the staffing industry I’ve had many talented people reaching out to us at EPG recently trying to help them get new jobs. I’ve also seen good friends affected and so I wanted to put together a guide to help people get back on their feet. Many of these suggestions might seem obvious but they are tried and true and you would be amazed at how many Ph.D. wiz kids I see that ignore the obvious. Here it goes:
Chill out, relax, decompress… what have you. If you are fortunate enough, take some time off. Decompress. Sleep in. Do that thing you’ve always wanted to do at 10:00 am on a Tuesday. For me, that’d be enjoying a trafficless I-70 and no lines on the ski slopes but to each their own. Depending on bank account sizes and anxiety levels this can last one day to a few months.
This could be a blessing in disguise. Are you in the right field? Are you maximizing your talent? Were you happy before? These are all important questions to ask yourself at this time. Use this as an opportunity to find the career that makes you happy. As a wise man once told me “find a job that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”.
On the flip side of chilling out is to start working. Treat unemployment like a full-time job. Set your alarm, go through your morning routine, and hit the job search trail Monday to Friday 8 to 5 as if your life depends on it. I had a friend that did this when he was laid off a few years ago and he ended up with multiple job offers and is still happily employed at the company he chose.
Refresh your resume with the new skills and experiences that you’ve gotten. Create a master copy then for each individual company and position widdle it down to the most relevant information. Update it with your skills and experience and focus on keywords and if possible, data-driven validation i.e. increased sales 60% YOY. Add in keywords and experiences based on the job description, company mission, and company services/product. People are busy so keep it clear and concise. Brevity is your friend.
Find a company and/or product that you are passionate about. It’ll show in interviews. Companies want to hire people that are bought into what they are doing or trying to do. You can only fake excitement for so long, your true passion will show.
Use LinkedIn, duh. First, update it using the information from your resume and have past colleagues or bosses write recommendations. Recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates every day so make sure your profile is set to “Open to Work” and has keywords sprinkled throughout. To be proactive, find the people in the positions/companies that you want to be in and connect with them. Ask them for a call to learn about their journey. This will get you a foot in the door and help you learn what made them successful in the application and interview process.
“Easy for you to say!” Yeah I know I own and operate a recruiting firm but I promise you we are here to help. Most people have had a bad experience with a recruiter but don’t let that deter you. A good recruiter will help you update your resume, prep you for interviews, and be a sounding board from day 1 through offer acceptance, start date, and beyond. They’ll provide you with feedback from the interviewers and help you reach your maximum potential. Find a recruiter or firm in your industry and reach out to them, at the very least they should be able to point you in the right direction.
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop
If you are excited about a particular position then be relentless in following up. Keep bugging HR and hiring managers until they give you an interview. This goes back to passion, following up shows you are serious. I’ve hired people both internally and via placement with our clients simply as a result of them following up with me.
Search the 100 most asked interview questions and take the time to write out the best answer you can think of for your situation. Create examples of your skills and experience as it relates to the job description, company mission, and company services/product. Research, research, research. Read through the company website, review the interviewer’s LinkedIn profiles, watch relevant Youtube videos, etc. Use this info to come up with intelligent questions and to create a sales pitch for yourself. When I hire people internally at EPG the first question I ask them is “what do you know about EPG and what we do?” If they didn’t take the 3 minutes to read our website then I know they aren’t going to be a good fit for what we are building.
Write a few sentences after each interview and share them with the interviewer thanking them for their time. Tell them thanks for your time, ask them follow-up questions, or whatever feels right for you. If you’re neck and neck with another candidate in the interview process this could be the detail that tips the scale in your favor.
Adapt. React. Readapt. Apt.
In the wise words of Michael Scott “Adapt. React. Readapt. Apt.”. I think what the world-renowned businessman was trying to say to fire guy, I mean Ryan, was to never be content and to always keep improving. Or at least that’s how I interpret it. When you complete an interview, evaluate what you did right and what you did wrong then adapt and react based on this. If you’re working with a recruiter see what type of feedback they can get for you from the interviewer. Continue to craft your sales pitch and hone in on what makes you the best candidate. Self-reflection is important.
As with many things in life, simply persevering will get you far. Job hunting is going to be a roller coaster, you aren’t going to get every job that you want, and there will be bad days. Keep that chin up and ask yourself “what do I need to do today to get where I want to be?”.