It’s perfectly normal to experience overwhelming stress when life deals with unexpected changes. Whether you’ve been laid off, downsized, or seen prospects dry up, losing your employment is one of life’s most traumatic experiences. However, it’s important to remember that a career is not an identity, and that there are actions you can take right away to begin to manage, recover, and discover new opportunities.
Career insecurity has quickly become the top area of concern for job seekers when as many as 1 in 6 American workers are faced with the reality their “old” career may not return. There may be a chance you are lucky enough to get hired back when the economy recovers, but the truth is that many industries will be forever changed by these volatile circumstances. All businesses have discovered, by necessity, how to hire, train and manage remote workforces. Job seekers have this new reality to consider in their search options and criteria.
So, in light of these circumstances, we have created this guide to assist job seekers navigating the new job market and assembled insights we hope will help you on the way to find a joy powered career.
Have You Recently Been Laid Off? Here’s The Steps To Take To Land Your Next Job.
The current job market is challenging and uncertain, with many individuals facing layoffs and job loss due to the impact of the global pandemic and economic uncertainty. The thought of losing a job can be overwhelming and stressful, but it’s essential to take control of the situation and take steps to bounce back quickly.
The job market today is highly competitive, and it’s important for job seekers to be proactive and take advantage of available resources to find new employment opportunities. Being laid off can be a turning point in your career, and it’s essential to approach it with a positive mindset and determination. With the right strategies in place, you can quickly rebound and find a new job that aligns with your skills and career goals.
After a layoff, job seekers must focus on regaining control of their career and take a proactive approach to finding new employment opportunities. This can include updating your resume and LinkedIn profile, networking, and preparing for job interviews. Additionally, it’s important to take advantage of the support and resources available, such as career counseling, job search workshops, and online job boards. With the right mindset and approach, you can quickly find a new job and get back on track.
How to Rebound Quickly After a Layoff
Losing a job can be a difficult and emotional experience, and it’s important to take time to process the loss and grieve. However, it’s also crucial to take a proactive approach to finding new employment opportunities. Most people will deal with a layoff at least once in their life and it’s important to be able to move on quickly and confidently. If you have been laid off recently, here are a few tips you can act on to find your next job position.
Tips For Rebounding Quickly After a Layoff:
Get Your Mind Right
It’s perfectly natural to experience anger, rejection, and even a sense of shame over being laid off or terminated. Try to remember those are just feelings not facts, and those feelings will pass. Most importantly, the last thing you should do is isolate yourself. Surround yourself with loving, supporting people who will listen and give you honest advice. Talking with friends and family often does the trick but it’s important to tell them “how” to support you (and what to avoid doing) in the weeks and months ahead as you look for work.
A great resource for your support team is The Business Journals’ research on How to Support Someone Who Has Been Laid Off. However, if you feel like your mental health needs more than your friends and family, seek help from a trained mental health professional (review a more comprehensive list of signs to see if more professional guidance may be right for you).
Remember the role physical activity and a healthy diet plays in mental health. There are numerous studies showing a good diet and exercise helps your body produce the correct levels of dopamine and serotonin, which are the mood regulating chemicals in the body. Additionally, Health.com provides some wonderful guidance with 33 Simple Diet & Fitness Tips that help you operate at 100%. Remember you are worthy, everyone needs help at different times in their lives. The sooner you reprioritize self-care the faster you will see positive results in your job search efforts.
Get Out There and Network
Reach out to colleagues and industry professionals and build relationships. Attend networking events, join LinkedIn groups, and take advantage of other networking opportunities. Strong networking ability showcases your interest and enthusiasm for the job search process. You never know who you may run into and create a valuable connection that could land your next job!
You may not be a social butterfly and the sound of the word “networking” makes you cringe. Fanning the flames of your network can be less daunting than you might think. People, in general, want to be helpful and if they are able will provide you a connection or provide crucial insider information on who is hiring, if you just ask or reach out.
A simple, “hello, how are you?” goes a long way to reconnect with folks on LinkedIn or connect with people you have not before. People are possibly more active on social media sites than ever before and you can take advantage of “networking” from home. Thought leaders on LinkedIn and companies are hosting roundtables and/or conversations almost every day. Ask people you know to connect you with people they know, you never know when the right person will accept your request.
Give to get, you can always go and ask somebody for something after you have already given to them. And when you do ask, be specific about what you want. Make it easy on them to help you. We recommend creating a one-page career summary that outlines your work history and your new career objectives so your network can easily forward to someone they think might be interested. This one-pager should be designed to drive traffic to your LinkedIn profile and to get requests for a copy of your full resume.
“Your network is your net worth,” the old saying goes, so use these connections to your advantage, but remember to think of networking as a balance of give and take. Share others’ profiles when they are seeking a new career, ask people what you can do for them.
Be thoughtful. Think about what doors you can open for them or what connections you can make that might be helpful. The end goal shouldn’t always be to receive something back but maybe you can connect them with somebody, help them with a project or even do something outside of the business world for them. The butterfly effect can have a huge impact on your long term networking and career path.
Update Your Resume and Cover Letter
Update and polish your resume and cover letter to reflect your current skills and experience. Be sure to highlight your achievements and any relevant training or certifications. An updated resume is extremely important to showcase your value to prospective employers so make sure you are putting your best foot forward.
Pro Tip: Review the job application and only provide related and valuable experiences that the hiring manager will be impressed with. Remember, hiring managers sort through hundreds of job applications at a time. In order to get past the screening process, ensure you are meeting the requirements and adding in key terms the company is looking for within your past experiences.
Writing an effective resume is a crucial component to advancing in the interview process. There are several paths to take when deciding how to get the best resume put together. If writing is not your forté then you may want to consider hiring someone to assist with writing your resume.
Platforms like Fiverr.com and Upwork.com are full of freelancers who do this every day. You can check out examples of their work and hire the best one to shepherd you through the task of writing a persuasive resume and cover letter that align with your career goals. For those of you with proven writing skills, selecting the DIY option may be more economical, but be sure to review your CV with a colleague or friend before sending it out. We recommend studying InDeed’s article on 10 Resume Writing Tips to Land you the Dream Job as a way to get started. But to give you a sneak peek, here are the 10 Tips summarized below:
- Use keywords from the job posting in your resume, show you have read the job description.
- Review resume examples from your industry, not as a copy, but just for ideas.
- Use a professional font, this may go without saying, but “Comic Sans” is not appropriate for resumes.
- Put the most relevant information first, this may change for each job for which you are applying.
- Use active language, instead of saying, “sales increased during…” say “responsible for catapulting sales….”
- Call attention to important achievements that are relevant to the job.
- Be brief, only include sections and subheadings that you need and keep your resume easy to read.
- Choose appropriate margins, usually 1” is recommended.
- Proof read and edit, if spelling errors are present, your resume will likely end up in the trash.
- Decide whether you need a unique resume for different jobs, we recommend tailoring each resume and cover letter to each position for which you apply. This shows your attention to detail and the amount of effort invested into each application.
Update Your Personal Brand With a Professional Headshot
While this might sound simple, it’s an incredibly powerful tool in the digital world we live in. The reality is that the first impression you make (before anyone decides to read your resume or look at your profile) is the picture you use on your social and job seeking profiles.
Within 40 nanoseconds, the human eye reviews a photo and makes a decision on an individual regarding traits like trustworthiness and reliability. You want to be conscious about what people are thinking of your digital reputation. Studies have shown 87% of recruiters visit a candidate’s online profile (LinkedIn) before bringing them in for an interview. The first impression any profile makes is the candidate’s personal photo. Using LinkedIn as an example, we learn that profiles with a professional photo receive 14x more engagement including 36x more messages (LinkedIn).
Having a professional headshot will make you stand out when applying for jobs. It’s also great to have on hand for networking events and online profiles. While a human resources manager reviews your resume, personal website and social media profiles, they are looking to see the professionalism you are able to display from a personal brand perspective. Candidates that showcase they have made an effort to establish a well developed personal brand are more likely to land a job than those who remain stagnant.
Update or Activate Your LinkedIn Profile
According to LinkedIn, it has nearly 875 million users with a new user added every 2 seconds. There are 30M companies represented and 20M open jobs posted on LinkedIn. With 40% of people using LinkedIn daily it has become a clear winner during the COVID -19 global pandemic for gathering industry insights, networking, business development, research and more. Establishing a presence on the platform is a must for all job seekers; however, how far you go with your activities will be based upon the value you feel LinkedIn offers you in return for your time building a presence.
Here are some tips from LinkedIn on branding yourself:
- Step 1: Add A Professional Profile Image:
- Members with a photo get up to: 14x more connection requests, 21x more profile views, 36x more messages
- Step 2: Add Your Industry:
- Members with industry information receive up to 9x more profile views. More than 300k people search by industry on LinkedIn every week
- Step 3: Draft A Compelling Summary:
- Write an “elevator pitch” by focusing on career accomplishments and aspirations including 40+ words
- Step 4: Detail Your Work Experience:
- Members with up-to-date positions receive up to 5x more connection requests, 8x more profile views, 10x more messages
- Step 5: Add Examples of Your Work & A Banner:
- Upload photos, presentations and videos you have created. Give a dynamic, visually appealing representation of your personal story and work product.
- Step 6: Add Volunteer Experience:
- Members who add volunteer experience get up to 6x more profile views than those without.
- Step 7: Add Skills & Get Endorsed:
- Members who add 5 or more skills receive up to 17x more profile views.
- Step 8: Request a Recommendation:
- Recommendations help build you credibility and validate your skills.
- Step 9: Complete Your Profile With:
- Education, certifications, Publications, Accomplishments, Award Location and a Unique Headline.
- Step 10: Customize Your Settings & Privacy
Here are some additional helpful links to help you get the most out of the platform during your job search.
+ LinkedIn Learning Path for Job Searching (13 Courses Unlocked) – (Get Started)
+ How to Let Recruiters Know You Are Open to New Opportunities – (View)
+ Best Practices for Searching Jobs on LinkedIn – (Read More)
+ How to Create Job Alerts on LinkedIn – (Learn More)
Strategize Your Job Search
Looking for work without a strategy and clear set of objectives is a sure fire way to find a “job” rather than a “career”. Being strategic about how much you want to make, what you are willing to do (and not willing to do) are very important items to have predetermined before you start your job search.
What is becoming very clear is that as we deal with the results from the COVID-19 global pandemic, certain premiums can be placed on jobs and industries that are more resilient or to use the current term “essential” in the wake of natural disasters. Additionally, society has almost adapted overnight to conduct the vast majority of business remotely. This new normal will place much less emphasis on your physical location for many positions. Remote or telecommuting is not just reserved for the progressive, tech forward companies/industries, but applies to almost everyone. This change ushers in a very new reality that your ideal career position might not be anywhere near the city you live in and you might not need to be if you are the most qualified candidate for the job.
Physical proximity to the home office matters much less than talent, industry knowledge and position skill set. So, expand your horizons past your physical location, build your virtual meeting skillset and explore openings in a wider area. As the world recovers, we are going to find many industries and positions that place much more emphasis on the positive traits and skills you bring to your company, rather than just what your commute time will be. Before applying at every opening in your local area, try to imagine what the new Zoom meeting world will look like in your industry, prepare yourself to meet a company’s business needs wherever they might be located.
Online Job Boards and Career Service
Utilize online job boards and company career pages to search for open positions. Set up job alerts, and be proactive in your search. Online job boards are a great resource to find positions that you may not have been aware of previously. Also, be sure to review company websites for any job postings as many companies prefer to post open positions on their own sites first.
Whether you are looking for a job as a carpenter or a CEO, there are thousands of job platforms to choose from. Do you need a profile on all of them? No. It’s important to put in the time to research what job platforms will be the most relevant for the position you desire.
For most job seekers, using one of the major job boards like Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Monster, Google, ZipRecruiter, SimplyHired and Robert Half are all great places to start. These job sites not only list profiles that are directly placed on them but also pull in job listings from thousands of other locations around the internet. Click the link to learn more about the pros and cons for the top thiry jobs sites.
If you are looking to further refine your search criteria based on the type of position for which you are uniquely qualified, below are job specific boards for you to explore:
Consider Temporary Employment
Sometimes a paycheck is a paycheck and earning temporary positions as you build interviews is the best direction to take. Finding the job of your dreams takes time. Borrowing money from friends or relatives can stress important relationships and can put behind the eight ball financially.
Here is a list of top companies hiring during the economic downturn:
- Retailers: Wal-Mart, Target, Krogers, Ralphs, Lowes, and Home Depot
- Online Distribution Centers: Wal-mart, Amazon
- Package Delivery: Amazon, UPS, FedEx, USPS
- Food Delivery Services: Postmates, UBEReats, GrubHUB, DoorDash, Instacart and OrderUp
Also consider finding temporary placement through staffing agencies like CareerArc, Kelley Services, Manpower, the Morales Group or Robert Half. These companies can help you quickly find a paycheck while your ideal career search continues.
Keep Your Eyes Out For Job Fairs
Job fairs are a great way to speak with several employers at once and network with hiring managers in your industry. Take the opportunity to make a lasting impression, and bring plenty of copies of your updated resume. Also, take the time to create some follow-up questions that you can ask each employer about their company. This will demonstrate how well you have researched the organization and show enthusiasm for the position.
Prepare for job interviews by researching the company and the role, and practicing answering common interview questions. Taking the time to prepare for your interview can put you in a greater position than applicants that do not. This is going to be your real first impression when talking with the hiring manager. Being able to answer the interview questions effectively is one thing, while most interviewers want to hear what questions you have about the role, company, culture, and more. Take time to research the company and prepare specific questions to ask during the interview.
Pro Tip: Ask questions around what you can do to provide value in the role you are applying for. What did the last person in this position do well at? What did they not do well at? Determining the company’s pain points and providing valuable feedback on how you can help solve these pain points will make you stand out from the rest.
Preparation is crucial for interview success. The more you prepare the less likely you are to be caught off guard. People can only process or handle so many things at once and the more rehearsed you are the less stressed you will be, experts recommend a combination of research and interview simulation to give you the confidence and mental bandwidth to go in calm and prepared.
- Research: Know the job description like the back of your hand, keep in mind:
- What does your position really entail in detail?
- What does the day to day look like?
- What can you bring to the team that they don’t have now?
Seeking to understand the business, as well as the work life, that you are interviewing for helps clarify any vagueness about your potential job, in turn this helps lead to more engaging interviews. It is wise to check out the LinkedIn and Twitter of your interviewer as well, to learn about their interests, and what they are directly responsible for in their role. It’s also critical to understand the company you are applying to, both historically and what public plans have been announced for the future such as:
- Recent structural changes
- Taken a round of funding
- Hired a new executive
- Released their 10K
- Put out new content such as a white paper, case study, or new podcast
Talking about these can show you care about the company and what they are producing. When it comes to the job market we are all salespeople, preparation about people and companies can help you win your next meeting and land the career you want.
- Practice interviewing:
You can have friends or family members ask you questions such as:
- What have you overcome in the past?
- If you could have one thing in the world, what would it be?
- Why are you a good fit for this role?
- What do you like about our company and our culture?
- What have you done previously that will set you up for success here?
- Virtual Interviews are here to stay and you should rehearse virtually before the actual event. Remember to turn on your camera on the video chat when you have a video interview, make sure that you have a clean and pleasant looking environment (background) when you turn on your camera, that you are well dressed and professional looking and of course refrain from any nervous fidgeting. Just take a deep breath, trust your preparation and remember: the right job is out there looking for you too.
(Read More Suggestions From Linkedin)
Understand The Details of Your Severance Package
Knowing exactly what is included in your severance will help you understand how much time you have before new income is necessary to pay your bills. The four major components of a severance package include:
- Your Final Payout: It’s important to understand what pay is included in your severance package as it is taxable income. In many cases your last check will consist of the following:
- Regular pay
- Payment for unused and accrued vacation or PTO time
- Actual post-employment severance
You may consider noting that businesses typically do not have any obligation to offer additional severance pay however in many states they do have a legal obligation to pay you for any unused vacation and/or PTO time which has accrued. For more information about your state we recommend this link to learn more.
- Health Insurance Coverage: Knowing how long you have to get new health insurance is a critical piece in not experiencing risky gaps in coverage. While there are programs like COBRA, you can also look on the insurance marketplace, as COVID-19 is a qualifying life event, if you reside in a state without an insurance marketplace, research insurance alternatives like Christian Health Ministries to make sure you and your family do not go uncovered. You should understand your coverage completion date and what defined next steps will be when it ends. Exchange insurance may be available to help you with insurance post employment as well. If you are wondering, how do I file for Unemployment Insurance, check out the U.S. Department of Labor and what additional benefits you might be able to receive through The CARES ACT at the U.S. Department of Treasury.
- Retirement Rollover Options: When being downsized many people are faced with four options on what they can do with their retirement plan.
- Take No Action: Within 30 to 90 days you will need to decide if you want to keep your money in your former employer’s 401(k) plan. If you have at least $5k in assets they are required to give you this option. That said, beware they may no longer be picking up the fees for the investment products because you are no longer employed there and would be responsible to pay them as part of the plan. If you have less than $5k your employer may elect to have you cash out.
- Rollover to Individual Retirement Account (IRA): Rolling over your retirement account gives you maximum control and flexibility. With a 401(k) program your employer makes the selection of where you can invest your retirement savings. Yet with an IRA you are in the driver’s seat so to speak. There are unique and unconventional ways to use your retirement savings to help you start a business through self directed options. Consult an accountant in your state to explore these options or visit your local bank branch for assistance.
- Rollover To Your New Employer’s 401(k) Plan: Many people, when they start at a new employer, will take part in their 401(k) plan because of fee reduction, matching contributions and more. According toAmeriprise, “Using a direct transfer method, or 401(k) to 401(k) transfer, you can transfer your entire account balance without taxes or penalties. You can work with your new employer’s 401(k) plan administrator to select how to allocate your savings into the new investment options.” Rolling your existing retirement into a future employer is usually pretty easy and the Human Resource department should be equipped to walk you through this process.
- Cash Out: Withdrawing all funds might sound tempting, especially when you might be without work for some time. However, taking money out can lead to additional costs. In addition to paying your current tax rate on money you take out there are additional issues to consider. Since this money will be counted as income, liquidating a large sum could increase your overall tax bracket even if you do not intend to use the funds all at once. Additionally there is a 10% penalty for cashing out a retirement account before its maturity date. So be sure, if you choose this option, you have a well researched plan that suits your needs in order to put your money to work for you.
Outplacement Services: Take full advantage of any outplacement services your former employer is offering, these resources will help support your efforts. The emotional reaction after a layoff may be to pause, which is a good thing. Take time to reset and ready your focus for the task ahead, but do not delay. Outplacement services are usually offered for a limited amount of time and are narrowly focused to help you prepare to look for new work. Typical services employers offer are headshots, resume writing, career counseling, and online job profile building through platforms like Linkedin, Careerbuilder, Monster.com, and InDeed. Particularly if it has been more than two years since any of those items have been updated, taking advantage of free services to bring them up to date will be a great benefit to you as you begin the job search process.
Last But Not Least… CELEBRATE
Bouncing back after a layoff can be challenging, but with the right mindset and approach, you can quickly find a new opportunity.
We will be cheering you on from the sidelines and singing your praises as you succeed at ultimately finding a new job and getting hired. It will take all the things you already possess: courage, dedication, intelligence, and adaptability. Many of us wait until the finish line to let ourselves feel good. Don’t wait for the big win. Bring the goal-posts closer and celebrate every victory.
We hope this guide has been helpful and we can’t wait to see you succeed. Stay positive, keep your chin up and your heart full!
In conclusion, taking a proactive approach by updating your resume and LinkedIn profile, networking, preparing for job interviews, and getting a professional headshot taken can help you rebound quickly after a layoff.
Our virtual headshot photography company is here to support job seekers in their rebound effort by offering professional headshots in the Los Angeles area. A professional headshot can help you make a great first impression with potential employers and set you apart in the job market.
We hope this playbook has provided helpful tips and best practices for rebounding after a layoff. Stay positive, remain proactive, and take advantage of the resources available to you. Good luck in your job search!
If you are in the Los Angeles area and would like to book a professional headshot session with Capturely, get started here!