It’s a quiet afternoon in the office when all of a sudden you’re delivered terrible news: There have been budget cuts and unfortunately you’re being let go. For the first few hours you’re in shock: This can’t really be happening; There has to be a mistake. Then as you talk through the process with HR and start to pack up your desk, it all becomes much more real. As you make your way past denial, right into anger, resentment and sadness, you’re also faced with the prospect of throwing yourself back into the job hunt. While for some, hunting for a new job is second nature (if they have a habit of bouncing around from gig to gig), for others who have spent a decade or more at a company, the process can be much more difficult. MadameNoire has some tips and advice for successfully re-immersing yourself into the job hunt.
As much as you might want to have a meltdown the minute you’re out of the office and in your safe space at home, don’t. Being laid off from work isn’t the time to panic. Freaking out about your next move isn’t going to make the situation any better and will honestly make your impending job hunt seem just that much more daunting. So resist the urge to lose it and channel that energy into finding your next gig.
Update Your Resume And Get A Friend To Review
First and foremost, make sure your resume is up-to-date and follows some tried and true rules:
- Lead with your experience first, education second (unless pertinent to your career)
- Keep your resume to only one page
- Be sure your contact information is included
- For each stop on your career journey, make sure to highlight skills and accomplishments that could easily be transferred to a new gig
Once you’re feeling good about where your resume is, have a friend you trust give it a look. And ask them to be brutal. You’d much rather edits come from your girl than be swirling around in the head of a hiring manager who is on the fence about whether or not to bring you in for an interview.
Beef Up Your LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a wonderful resource for job hunters and HR personnel alike. Just as you’d update your resume, be sure to do the same with LinkedIn. Also, we strongly suggest exploring some of the features that LinkedIn has to offer that aren’t available with a typical one-page resume: Attach samples of your work, get short recommendations/endorsements from friends and former coworkers and include an extensive skills list. Even if you don’t opt for the apply via LinkedIn option on a job application, that doesn’t mean a hiring manager won’t do a little online stalking to dig up your profile. This leads us to …
Give Your Social Handles A Gander
Particularly if you’ve been out of the job hunt game for a minute, we can’t emphasize reviewing your social media footprint enough. While we’re sure that you don’t have anything too scandalous on there, it’s still important to give it an extra close look. You probably got somewhat comfortable in your last job and given that everyone knew you, they weren’t going to be but so judgmental on the adventures chronicled on your Instagram from this past weekend. But a fresh set of eyes, people who don’t know a thing about you might not be able to put your booty-shaking antics from your friend’s bach in the context. When in doubt, pull it out.
Re-evaluate Your Career Choice
As difficult as it might be to admit, sometimes lay-offs can be a blessing in disguise. It’s so easy to get stuck in a complacent rhythm at work. You’re so use to clocking in and clocking out at a job that you start losing that fire to progress in your career. You stop striving for better, sacrificing that drive for something that feels comfortable and reliable. Lay-offs can be the jolt you need to re-evaluate what it is that can truly make you happy in your work life and perhaps gives you the incentive to chase after that.
Reach Out To Valuable Contacts
We’ve all been on the receiving end here. Someone that you may or may not have heard from in a while reaches out for career advice, an HR contact or simply a good word to a hiring manager. But when you’re facing a job hunt, it is important to swallow any pride you might have, and be that person who reaches out. At the end of the day, everyone knows what the professional landscape is like these days. Getting laid off is hard and finding a job can be even harder. Your contacts, provided you approach them in an honest and straightforward way, will want to do what they can to help. Not to mention, many employers offer a finder’s fee for good talent if you reference the contact who helped you out. It’s a win-win situation!
Learn Something New
Face it, if you’re out of a job then you’ve got a decent amount of time on your hands. Sure you can use the time to knock out errands or tackle that home improvement project you’ve been flirting with for the past few months, but why not consider learning a new skill that could be helpful in your job hunt? OK, this might be easier said than done if the struggle is real financially, but if you’ve got a little money tucked away for a rainy day, use a small portion of it to take an online or in-person course that will allow you to boost your resume while filling your days with something that feels more substantial than just running errands.
Be Strategic With Your Cover Letter
The dreaded cover letter. You’re not alone if you cringe a little every time you see a job application request a cover letter. While the rationale behind them is totally legit (hiring managers want to see you demonstrate your writing skills and ability to think critically), that doesn’t make cover letters any less tricky to tackle. Everyone will serve up their own advice on what makes the best cover letter: Short and to the point vs. longer and more engaging, flowery vs. straightforward, etc. But we have just one nugget of advice: Be honest. We’ve read and written our fair share of cover letters and the ones that seem to stick out the most are those that are really honest. Be honest about your goals, be honest about what you have to offer, be honest almost to a fault. Many hiring managers will appreciate candidates who lay all their cards out on the table in a smart, well-intentioned way.
Give Yourself A Break
We’ve covered a lot of ground so far, but one of the most important pieces of advice is to cut yourself some slack and not get overwhelmed. Hunting for a new job — especially if you were forced into the search by a lay-off — isn’t easy. But it’s important to understand that you’re not the only one whose been in this position before and it’s not your fault. Don’t drive yourself nuts combing through every detail, every interaction, every misstep at your previous job. Lay-offs happen and sometimes your number just comes up — regardless of your performance. So keep your head up and on the task at hand.
Above all else, let it sink in that hunting for a job isn’t an overnight operation. It takes time and persistence and you shouldn’t feel dissuaded if it takes weeks or even months to key-in on a role that you’re a good fit for. Keep your head up and just know that better days are ahead.