Laid Off, What Comes Next?

As recruiters, we are already seeing candidates who have been laid off and are searching for their next role. The fact that these individuals were laid off does not detract from their work experience or the value that they bring. As you prepare for what’s next, make sure to focus on what you can contribute to potential employers.

Review your resume.

Make sure that you are open and honest about the circumstances of your departure. Employers care most about their ability to trust their teams. We have seen candidates lose offers because they were dishonest about the circumstances of their departure. Our client didn’t care that the candidate was laid off, but they lost all trust in the candidate for not being truthful.

Update (or create) your LinkedIn profile.

  • Make sure that your profile represents the skills that you want to take to the next role
  • Notify your network that you are available
  • Start expanding your connections first among the people you already know, and then use those connections to reach individuals who can help with your job search.
  • Try cold outreach
  • Second and third-degree connections can play a critical role in helping you find your next opportunity

Leverage Recruiters, but Wisely

Recruiters work for companies that are looking to fill specific roles. That’s why they do not request (and should not accept) payment from candidates.

If recruiters have a current assignment that fits a candidate’s background, they will likely request a call, meeting, or Zoom. However, if your background generally fits with a recruiter’s practice, they may ask to speak with you so they can keep you in mind for future opportunities. A recruiter may even want to send your resume to a client as a “flyer” to see if there is interest, although the client may not be actively searching to fill a role. That is fine and could work out if the recruiter knows the client well.

Do not let any recruiters send your resume out unless they tell you where the resume is going. Do not give any recruiter free rein to send out your resume. Do not work with a recruiter who is secretive about all their clients’ identities. Sometimes, searches are confidential but find out as much as you can about the role.

While many recruiter assignments are exclusive, some hiring firms will use more than one recruiter. You do not want your resume landing anywhere more than once, and you do not want recruiters duplicating effort with your resume. You will annoy the recruiter and the employer may think that you are desperate and unable to control your own process.

Manage Your Process

Contact your manager and a few co-workers to line up references.

  • Ask if they are comfortable providing a strong and positive reference. If they seem reluctant, do not more forward.
  • If they are prohibited from officially vouching for you, ask them if they will talk to potential employers off the record.
  • Also contact previous employers. If this was your first role after college, you can reach out to internships and professors.

Set up a system for tracking contacts, where you’ve sent your resume, and any follow ups. We share best practices for this process in Layoffs Coming? Prepare Now!

Share information with your former colleagues who are in a similar situation and are willing to reciprocate. A role that’s not a fit for you could be the perfect job for them, and vice versa.

Most importantly, do not panic. Be patient in your search and do not accept a role that will not move your career forward. If money is an issue while you interview, a temp position may bridge your finances until you land in your next full-time role. You are building a career, and this is just a detour along the way. Sometimes, the next role is a better fit and it would not have come your way under other circumstances. Good luck!

Other Resources

For more information, see Layoffs Coming? Prepare Now!

For organization tips, see How to Nail a Video Interview

For interviewing tips: A Guide to Interviewing from a Career Recruiter