Laid off? What to Do Next
If you’ve recently been laid off, you’re not alone.
Greg found himself unexpectedly on the job hunt after being laid off by his tech employer, along with thousands of other people. More than 94,000 workers in U.S.-based tech companies (or tech companies with a large U.S. workforce) have been laid off so far in 2023, though mass job cuts haven’t been limited to the tech industry.
Getting laid off can feel like a blow, and trying to find a new job when lots of other people are in your position can be daunting. But it can also be a great opportunity to think strategically and take control of your career. So, don’t panic. Here’s what to do next.
Process your emotions.
Getting the news that you will no longer be with the company hits everyone differently. If you've been there for a long time and felt a sense of loyalty, the sense of rejection and hurt can run deep. If you've known the reduction in force has been coming for some time, you may shrug it off as a business reality.
“Regardless of what’s going through your head, it’s important to be introspective and give yourself space to process and deal with those emotions before you start your job search,” says David Meintrup, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance. “Undealt-with feelings of anger, loss, desperation, or resentment can spill over into every subsequent conversation and harm your new job search if you’re not careful.”
Assess your targets.
While a layoff feels like a setback, it can be a great time to intentionally take stock of where you’ve been and where you’re going in your career. Journal or reflect on whether you really enjoyed your last job, if it’s time for a change (beyond the obvious change in employer), and what’s realistically attainable in the current market.
Taking the time to assess your ideal industries, companies, types of job functions, and company culture can shave months off your job search and help you tailor your resumes to each target.
Tailor your materials.
Once your targets are crystallized, it’s absolutely imperative that you customize multiple resumes, your LinkedIn profile, and any cover letters to speak specifically to the job you’re after. Career experts say targeting includes picking the right format, key words, content to include and content to leave out, and including a short summary section that calls attention to a couple of the most important points.
Yes — this is a lot of work, and job hunting often feels like a full-time job. But you can be sure that your top competition will be doing this.
Work with a coach.
It’s important to know what you do and don’t know when it comes to job search. You may have been with one company for a long time, or you may have always looked for a new gig while currently employed.
No matter your circumstances, this is a great time to hire a career coach who can help you with best practices and answer your questions. “A coach can point out factors that you might not even be considering, or confirm that you’re doing great and help you stay on track,” Meintrup says.