How to Rebound After a Layoff
Last month, US-based employers announced 76,835 job cuts in November of 2022—compared to 33,835 in October. While the pandemic created a rise in furloughs and temporary layoffs, in 2022 several large companies including Meta and Amazon had mass layoffs—a workforce reduction of 500 or more within a 30-day period.
While these facts can be nerve-wracking, they do not mean you should live in fear of losing your job without notice. They do, however, suggest it is a good idea to have a plan should your position with your current employer be eliminated.
Here are some strategies and action plans to help you get back on your feet should you experience a layoff.
Take a mental health hiatus
You may feel like the first step is to get your resume out there and find a new position as soon as possible, but before you do, take a mental health break. Depending on the circumstances, after a layoff you can experience a range of emotions, from anger to anxiety—even grief, if you’ve lost a job that gave you a lot of fulfillment or was a position you’d held for a long time with colleagues you respected and liked.
Allow yourself to work through these feelings before launching your job search. Depending on your financial situation and other factors, it will benefit you in the long run to take as much time as you can to regroup before you apply for new jobs. Potential employers and recruiters will be able to sense if you are feeling desperate, resentful, or simply not quite ready. Once you’ve made peace with the situation, you can regain your confidence and take action.
Form your layoff narrative
While layoffs can occur for myriad reasons, framing your experience into a solid, concise story is key before you begin contacting your network or applying for a new position. The story should be positive and delivered with confidence: “My position has been eliminated due to a restructuring, and I’m taking the opportunity to explore new directions in my career” is a forward-thinking approach that hints at no resentment or desperation.
The narrative should include what you are specifically looking for in the organizations or individuals you are considering approaching. For example, “What I’m looking for now is x, y, z, and I’m interested in your organization because x, y, z.”
At the same time, refine your resume and LinkedIn profile (or other job-seeking portals) to include skills and experience you’ve gained since the last time you were on a job hunt. Who you are now is not who you were then, and it is important that these professional summaries of you reflect how you’ve grown and where you want to go next.
Connect with your network—both professional and personal
Although your confidence may be at an all-time low, understand experiencing a layoff is not a failure and nothing to feel shy about sharing. The best way to find the right next job for you is to let everyone in your network know you are looking, and what you are looking for. Who do you know who does the type of work or is with an organization you are interested in pursuing?
Make a list of individuals who may be helpful in your search. Ask if you can meet with them to discuss your experiences and your vision for the next step in your career trajectory. Do research and come with specific questions and reasons for the conversation rather than put the onus on them to advise you in your next steps.
Focus on upskilling
A layoff can be an opportunity to focus on gaining new skills or enhance existing ones. Do a self-evaluation to identify in which areas you want to improve or which new skills you want to develop. There are several approaches to upskilling: You can take online or night classes, attend seminars, or participate in other professional training. Doing so will not only build your skillset but expand your network and show recruiters and hiring managers that you are committed to growing in your career.
Consider which skill are most sought after in your industry, and which are most valued in the specific next step you want to take in your career. A career coach can guide you in this process as well, helping you refine your goals and plot a path to upskill your way to achieving them.
When ready, launch your search
Layoffs can feel like rejections or setbacks, but if you take the time to recover from the loss, reevaluate your career path, strengthen your network, and upskill to make you an even more qualified and strong candidate, you will come out of it stronger.
You can then approach recruiters with a refreshed confidence and sense of who you are and where you want to grow professionally, and that confidence and self-awareness will serve you in your search. Ready to get started? Take a look at our open positions, or get in touch with a recruiter.