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Getting Laid Off

First and foremost, remember that layoffs are not generally a result of a personal shortcoming, so try not to take it personally. Don’t look at the event as a failure, but rather as an opportunity to reinvent yourself.

Instinct will tell you to jump back into the job search immediately, but I suggest you take some time to research the competitive career landscape and understand the current market and economy. While there is no exact science to guaranteeing job security, if you understand the industries that are thriving and those that are struggling you can help avoid being in this situation again.

If you do find yourself jobless in the near future, here are the first 6 things you should do:

1. Take advantage of outplacement services

Following lay offs, many companies will provide outplacement services which offer career counseling and job placement assistance to employees. Normally (and hopefully) this offering is part of a larger severance package, but keep in mind that the program will not be available indefinitely. If you plan explore this option, get in touch with the provider as soon as possible to take full advantage.

2. Visit your financial planner

Depending on your situation, being let go may or may not come as a complete surprise. Either way, your financial stability is probably a considerable concern. Chances are, if you knew layoffs were imminent, you’ve already consulted your planner and figured out how long you can realistically be without a job. Knowing how long you can manage should guide your job search timeline. Set goals and benchmarks for how many applications you submit, hours you spend researching and recruiters you speak to. You may also want to consider how you can cut back your spending during this time to increase your financial buffer.

3. Update your resume

Your resume should theoretically always be up-to-date, but many people get comfortable in their job and put this chore on the “I’ll get to it someday” list. When you’re in a role on a daily basis, it’s easier to document your responsibilities and successes rather than trying to think them through just after you’ve been let go. If you reach out to a staffing agency during your search, ask the recruiter to take a look at your resume and suggest any additional improvements. 

4. Update your LinkedIn profile

Re-read tip #3. No, but seriously, your LinkedIn profile is your public, searchable resume. Be sure it includes all of your skills, any awards you’ve received and all of your quantifiable successes. Think about the keywords that a recruiter or HR professional would you use to search for someone with your qualifications and skillset and add them to your profile. Don’t hurry to add an end date to your current position. For whatever reason, LinkedIn will drop your search ranking ever so slightly if you do not have a current role listed.

Additionally, many employers search for candidates using the “Current Job Title” filter and if you do not have one listed, you will not show up in search results. Never use the word “unemployed” or “laid off” in your Experience or Headline. These descriptors don’t add any value to an employer who is looking for reasons why they should hire you. If this all sounds a bit overwhelming to you, here are a few more tips on how to navigate a LinkedIn profile update.

5. Put the word out

I’m not asking you to take an ad out during the Superbowl announcing your unemployment but think about your network. Who is the most connected? Who works for a company that you admire or could see yourself fitting into? Reach out to those connections and plan to meet for coffee or lunch. It might be best to avoid meeting for drinks if you are feeling at all emotional after your departure. You want to appear 100% professional, collected and ready for a new challenge.

6. Take some time for yourself

If you can financially afford to get in a week or two of relaxation during this potentially stressful time, good for you. Don’t feel bad about pushing the start date at your new job an extra week so you can collect your thoughts and arrive refreshed to your new role. Use this downtime to reflect on your past accomplishments and create goals for what you want to achieve next!

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Allie Basilica
Allie Basilica

Allie Basilica is the Director of Integrations at Atrium. She also has a passion for helping candidates navigate the social media space and uncover new ways for them to connect with potential employers and professional communities.