Layoffs Happen. Here’s What to Do When it Happens to You.

Layoffs Happen. Here’s What to Do When it Happens to You.

You’ve been a loyal employee in the tech industry for more than a decade, and you’ve just gotten laid off. While still in shock, you feel both relieved and stressed at the same time. You’re not sure what you want to do next, but know the clock is ticking.

After spending many years heads down focused on your job responsibilities, you’re not exactly up to date on today’s job market. You have a boring, outdated resume; a sparse, generic LinkedIn profile; and a seldom-used Twitter account.

It’s a common situation, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

What do you do? More importantly, what should you do FIRST?

Part I. Logistics

  1. SHARE – Tell immediate family members, close friends and impacted coworkers as soon as possible. They will look to you to determine how to act. Be positive. No drama. No wallowing.
  2. PAPERWORK – If you received a large package filled with legalese, be sure to review this info in detail within 24 hours. You’ll likely have to sign a number of documents in order to receive severance and may discover certain benefits are available to you. There are forms galore to ensure your healthcare coverage continues, get paid for unused vacation days, etc. Get the paperwork taken care of immediately. Identify all deadlines and key dates. pink-slip-termination-notice-wib-56aa16155f9b58b7d000ca6c
  3. EMAIL – If you don’t already have a separate non-work-related professional email account, get one ASAP, preferably with your proper name, e.g. jordanwhite@gmail.com (partygrrl75 isn’t going to cut it). Change all of your logins to personal email accounts, especially LinkedIn. Nothing should still use your corporate email address. You don’t want to get locked out of your account. LastPass is a great application to store all of your passwords in one place, regardless of platform. It also can serve as a reminder of which sites you use regularly if you’re still employed but only use a work email address.
  4. CELL PHONE – If you were using a corporate phone, arrange to switch to a personal account.
  5. COMPUTER – It helps to have a laptop comparable to whatever you were using at work. You’ll be surprised at how different your daily life becomes without the tools, applications and technologies you were used to. You can get a nice laptop for a reasonable price. I purchased a fast laptop with an i7 processor at Costco. They have a 90-day return policy on computers and no restocking fee.
  6. COMPUTER – It helps to have a laptop comparable to whatever you were using at work. You’ll be surprised at how different your daily life becomes without the tools, applications and technologies you were used to. You can get a nice laptop for a reasonable price. I purchased a fast laptop with an i7 processor at Costco. They have a 90-day return policy on computers and no restocking fee.
  7. DATA – Many people have personal data on a work laptop. Be sure to copy your files to an external hard drive, thumb drive and/or cloud storage before turning it in (if you have that option).
  8. APPS – It’s helpful to take a photo of the list of apps on your work computer and/or phone that you’ll want to consider replacing. It’s difficult to remember which ones to reinstall until you suddenly need them. Many apps are free or have free equivalents (e.g. Google Docs).
  9. BUSINESS CARDS – Yes, good old-fashioned business cards can come in handy for networking. You can include a QR (quick response) code that others can scan to input your contact info directly into their phones. VistaPrint usually offers cards for less than $10.
  10. RECEIPTS – Save (or scan) your receipts. You can write-off all job-hunting-related expenses (laptop, mileage, training, resume prep costs, etc.) on your taxes next year.
  11. BUDGET – Review your current spending habits and assess whether you can live without–or limit–items such as Starbucks, dining out, Whole Foods, a new SUV, Amazon, pay-per-view and shoe shopping. Pay down any credit card debt before you’re tempted to do otherwise.
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Part II. Career Planning

  1. NETWORK – Set up phone calls or meet for coffee/lunch to check in with contacts. Make sure to schedule some networking opportunities every day. There are many networking groups in every city. Eventbrite and Google can help you find them. Be up front about your job hunt. Ask people for advice, then actually listen to their answers. Ask them who else you should speak with about potential job openings. Informational interviews can lead to real interviews.
  2. LINKEDIN – Think of it as your free PR agency. Your profile should show a bit more personality than your resume, and include a compelling, concise elevator pitch of why someone would want to hire you to bring value to their company. Update your profile as needed to make ongoing improvements. You can use this instead of creating a personal website. Connect with every new person you meet to build your contacts and extend your network.linkedin-profile-screen-242x300
  3. 3. GET HELP – If you’re not sure how to start your job hunt or you’re not a strong writer, get help from people with expertise in job hunting, profile writing, resumes, etc. Cary Communications can help update your LinkedIn profile, resume and general job hunting advice. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
    4. ACCOMPLISHMENTS – Make a list of items to brag about from your most recent job(s). Include results and impact, not tasks. Include numbers wherever possible. E.g. Closed first $1M deal in healthcare industry, exceeded sales goals by 17%, developed new process that reduced time to market by 10%, implemented new payroll that saved the company $500K annually, managed 7 developers to deliver new mobile app 3 weeks ahead of schedule and $10K under budget, etc. Include these items on your LinkedIn profile and resume.
    5. RESUME – Find a softcopy of your old resume. You don’t want to create it from scratch. You can also export your LinkedIn content directly into a resume PDF. Once your resume is ready and includes optimal keywords, you should upload it to one or more job sites. Cary Communications can help with your resume…even if you have no idea where to start.
  4. ACCOMPLISHMENTS – Make a list of items to brag about from your most recent job(s). Include results and impact, not tasks. Include numbers wherever possible. E.g. Closed first $1M deal in healthcare industry, exceeded sales goals by 17%, developed new process that reduced time to market by 10%, implemented new payroll that saved the company $500K annually, managed 7 developers to deliver new mobile app 3 weeks ahead of schedule and $10K under budget, etc. Include these items on your LinkedIn profile and resume.
  5. RESUME – Find a softcopy of your old resume. You don’t want to create it from scratch. You can also export your LinkedIn content directly into a resume PDF. Once your resume is ready and includes optimal keywords, you should upload it to one or more job sites. Cary Communications can help with your resume…even if you have no idea where to start.
  6. JOB SEARCHES – Start searching for jobs on LinkedIn, Indeed, SimplyHired, GlassDoor, the Ladders, or anywhere else. Identify specific job titles and functions that appeal to you. Sign up for job alerts. Don’t worry about qualifications…just focus on what you’d enjoy. Identify the themes and pick the top 3 specific titles that appeal to you. Most sites let you save individual jobs. Use Evernote or Microsoft Notes to capture any details.
  7. TRAINING – Now is a great time to take some courses either for fun or to enhance your career (or, hopefully, both). Lynda.com is a great place to start. Every course I’ve taken has been excellent.
  8. COMPANIES – Do the same with companies. Identify your targets on LinkedIn or corporate sites. If someone were to ask you where you work, think about how proud you’d be to say you work for Company X. Don’t worry about locations at this point. See who in your network either works at those companies or knows someone who does.
  9. SMALL JOBS – Check out UpWork, oDesk or Freelancer.com for part-time, project-based work. You’d be surprised how small projects add up. This is a great way to keep yourself busy while looking for a full-time position.
  10. ENTREPRENEURSHIP – If you’re thinking about starting your own business, the Small Business Association is a good resource. The IRS has a brief checklist as well. While job hunting, you can do some consulting work without officially starting a new business. You may be asked to fill out a W-9 form with your social security number for tax purposes. Keep detailed records of invoices sent, payments received and expenses incurred.

Part III. Other Stuff

  1. RELAX, but not too much – Take a vacation, do at least one activity per day that makes you happy. Take advantage of your time off. Just don’t get lazy. Try to maintain (or get) a workout schedule.
  2. COMMUNICATE – Keep your friends and family informed about your day-to-day adventures. Stay engaged with others. Job hunting can feel isolating at times.
  3. BE PATIENT – Realize that it may likely take longer to find a new position than you realize. Set your expectations accordingly, stay positive and don’t give up. Finding the right position is worth the time and effort.road-less-traveled
  4. LEARN – One of the best aspects of not having a full-time job is finally being able to read articles, books and LinkedIn postings; take training courses; experiment with new apps; cook; remodel your home; and just learn something new every day. You can ask more questions because you’ll have time to listen to the answers. Ask Google anything you want, for as long as you want.

Obviously, this isn’t a complete list…just a starting point if you’re frozen in place. Cary Communications can help…even if you have no idea where to start.

Many great things can happen after a layoff. Sometimes being forced to open a new door and inhale the fresh air if exactly what you need. You’ll wonder how long you survived in such stale air.

If you have any questions or need assistance after a layoff, feel free to contact us to learn more about how our career coaching and other services can help you land your next job.

1Comment
  • Ben Freeman
    Posted at 09:48h, 10 April

    Great article with sound advice!