These days you can’t scroll through LinkedIn without reading about another layoff. But what do you do when it happens to you? While layoffs are more common than ever before, trying to figure out how to bounce back after a layoff can feel like an uphill battle. Here’s some practical and maybe unconventional advice on […]
These days you can’t scroll through LinkedIn without reading about another layoff. But what do you do when it happens to you? While layoffs are more common than ever before, trying to figure out how to bounce back after a layoff can feel like an uphill battle.
Here’s some practical and maybe unconventional advice on what to do after you’ve experienced a layoff.
Grieve the loss of your role
Whether you just started your role at the company a few months ago or have been there for over a decade, getting laid off stings. Even if you were already certain it was time to move on to a better opportunity, the news that you no longer have a choice is painful. Brushing that feeling off and jumping into applying for new jobs will only be a disservice to you and to the recruiters and interviewers who will experience you before you’ve had a chance to come to terms with what has happened.
So, instead of immediately plowing through job applications, take a moment to grieve the loss of your position. Even if you just need 24 hours or a few days, you’ll be in a better place to think clearly about your next steps once you’ve taken the time to process the sudden and possibly unexpected news. Grieving could look like venting to a trusted loved one, journaling your thoughts, or giving yourself permission to have a do-nothing day, even if you don't feel like you deserve one.
Strategize your next career move
Once you’ve taken the time to grieve and accept your current circumstances, you can now make better decisions about the future of your career. While getting laid off can be disorienting, it can also be an opportunity to pursue the things that are most important to you now. For example, I once had a client who had been dreaming of transitioning careers for more than four years, but it wasn’t until he was laid off that he found the courage to pursue his desired career change.
However, maybe you don’t want a career change. Maybe, you’d just love to have a salary that matches your experience level. Or maybe, you’d like to finally move into a leadership role that allows you to make a tangible impact. Whatever the case is, now is the time to strategize the right type of opportunity for you and your career. Doing so will boost your focus and will help you have a targeted approach once you start your job search so that you’re not aimlessly sifting through job boards, waiting for roles to jump out at you.
Don’t discount your experience
Once you’re clear on your next career move, you might feel inspired to kick your job search into full gear. But, before you start putting yourself out there, get clear on the experience you bring to the table so that you can avoid selling yourself short or diminishing your value. While getting laid off might be a tough pill to swallow, you shouldn’t allow it to belittle your accomplishments or track record of excellence.
Take some time to consider all the results you brought to your previous company and jot down the accomplishments you want to highlight as you aim towards your next role. If you were laid off from a new role you recently started, think back to the accomplishments and stories you shared that helped you land the position in the first place. You might find that highlighting these same stories could be beneficial as you pursue your next job. Discounting your experience will only make you a less desirable candidate and, as a result, could cause you to land fewer interviews or call backs for roles you’re qualified to do, so taking the time to do this will pay off in the long run.
Pace yourself while job searching
While it can be tempting to fill up your free time by applying to new positions every hour, repeatedly tweaking your resume and constantly refreshing your inbox for responses, doing this is a sure way to lose your sanity and burn yourself out. Instead, it’s better to pace yourself. Rather than making it a goal to apply to as many jobs as possible, make it a goal to only apply to jobs you’re most interested in, with the best application possible. Focusing on quality versus quantity will help you avoid wasting time on jobs you don’t want and will improve your chances of hearing back for opportunities you truly want.
On top of that, sitting in front of a computer and submitting applications through the ATS system is not the only way to get hired. Dare I say: it's not the best way, either. Getting out of your comfort zone to connect with old contacts, industry friends, past managers and co-workers could also be a way to speed up your job search without applying to dozens of jobs each week. However, it’s important to note that you should be specific about your desires for your next role and the value you can add to the next company, if you want to make it easy for others to help you. This is why it’s crucial to strategize your next career move before starting your job search.
Enjoy your life
There’s no doubt that getting laid off can create anxiety in all areas of your life. It can make you wonder, “What do I say when people ask about my job? Do I really deserve to go out to eat and celebrate my friend’s birthday? Maybe I should just avoid everyone until I land a new job?”
But, please remember, getting laid off is a reflection of your previous company and its business decisions; it’s not a reflection of your value, skillset, brilliance or worth. You are still worthy of enjoying your life regardless of your employment status. And, besides, this might be the only time in a long time that you get to make time for yourself and your loved ones without your inbox pinging with a bunch of to-dos. So, while you prioritize landing a new job, be sure to also prioritize enjoying the other aspects of your life in the meantime, too. To start, make a list of the top five qualities of your life that are important to you outside of work. Then, find ways to infuse those things or people into your weekly agenda. Not to mention, intentionally enjoying your life will help you show up more positively and confidently in your job search and interviews.
All in all, whether you were expecting it or not, getting laid off can cause you to feel like you’ve lost your sense of direction. Still, by being strategic and intentional about your next steps and the future of your career, you can take control of your circumstances and turn a frustrating and traumatic experience into a blessing in disguise.
Mr. Lynch, a member of the legendary two-time Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame Award winning Lynch Family.
Mr. Lynch is a nationally recognized urban media executive with over 20+ years of diversity recruitment and serial entrepreneur with numerous multi-million dollar exits.