Just got laid off? Here’s what to do.
It’s the end of March 2020 and layoffs have moved past the restaurant and hospitality industries into industries and companies that rely on that space.
We’re close to 1000 companies who have laid off employees or have instituted a hiring freeze. Unfortunately, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
But as an individual who’s just been laid off, what should you do?
Don’t blame yourself.
There’s no use blaming yourself. This wasn’t one of those things you could have seen coming. You might feel distraught or panicked, but if you’re listening to this you’re already taking action. And you NEED to be in action to land a new job.
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken to who just wait around for something to happen. Even if you’re in a position to have recruiters reach out to you, at least get your resume looked at (we’re offering free feedback right now) or updated.
Finances and Healthcare
The first thing to do is to get your financial and healthcare needs in order. File for unemployment and make sure you have health coverage. As I’m recording this, a historic stimulus package has been passed and it will significantly bolster federal unemployment.
Google your state and unemployment, then follow the steps. Keep in mind there’s often a waiting period, but the government is pretty good at collecting and distributing checks. There will be more information released about federal unemployment, so keep an eye out for how to claim that.
Your employer who just laid you off might be providing resources for you for health insurance. Some will extend health insurance. In other circumstances you’ll need COBRA coverage or to buy it yourself from Healthcare.gov.
Your employer might be offering job search services as well. We offer outplacement services, sometimes called employer-sponsored job search services, and you company might provide that as part of severance.
Take care of yourself financially so you can minimize anything that would keep you from doing an effective job search. I promise you’ll feel a lot more empowered when you’re clear on your financial situation.
Hiring Landscape and Your Next Move
Next, take a moment to look at the hiring landscape and consider what you want next. The companies with the most current job openings (at time of writing), according to LinkedIn, are KPMG, Amazon, Genentech, 7-Eleven, Intuit, and the Army National Guard. Here are some other options to consider.
What do you want to do next? Don’t just go for anything that’s open. Consider what you liked and disliked about your past job. Maybe now is the time to learn a new skill and make that career transition you’ve been thinking about.
Consider where there’s increased competition currently. If you do destination sales for hotels, you’re going to have a hard time finding that same role.
Once you’re clear, get in action on the activities that will land you a job. Here are some of the basics.
Resume and LinkedIn
The most obvious is your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Your resume needs to look clean and the content needs to have the appropriate keywords for what you’re targeting, but in the right context. Don’t just include your job responsibilities; focus resume content on quantifiable accomplishments.
LinkedIn can be a bit less formal, but please don’t just upload your resume to LinkedIn. There’s a better way. Lastly, make sure you use the Open Candidate function to signal to recruiters that you’re interested in new opportunities.
How to land an interview.
Next, there’s how to land the interview itself. I don’t recommend applying online except under very specific circumstances, which I’ll get to.
The most reliable data we have in the hiring world comes from a company’s “source of hire.” Intuitively, you know that you’re much more likely to get an interview if you were referred compared to applying online. We also know you’re significantly more likely to land the job once screened, if you were referred.
Your network wants to help. Tell them you got laid off and ask for their help. For those who want to help, be proactive and search through their LinkedIn contacts to see to whom they could introduce you.
When should you apply online? If a smaller company or start-up just posted an opportunity (less than 72 hours ago) and you don’t have a clear connection, apply online. These companies are unlikely to pay to post a job, often $500 or more per posting on LinkedIn, unless this is how they intend to hire.
Nailing the Interview
Nailing the interview is about more than just the words you say, it’s also about how you say it. Currently, companies are choosing video interviews over in-person interviews and it’s harder for your body language to make an impact over video. More will be missed in communication, so your tone of voice will be important.
When it comes to what you say, focus on telling the stories behind your top accomplishments. Use something like the SOAR framework to keep you on track.
Many companies are prioritizing work-from-home experience and culture fit as well. Your true colors come out when no one is watching, so be ready to speak about your relevant experiences.
Salary: Don’t undercut yourself.
Given the current job market, many professionals are in a spot of desperation and are likely to sell themselves short. You don’t need to.
You’ll set yourself up for success, or failure, with how you answer the question, “what’s your target compensation?” Get it right by following this advice.
Finally, if you want additional support getting that question right or you’re in a position to negotiate a final offer, book a free salary consultation with me here.
Help is available.
If you need help, ask for it. We’re also offering free career consultations for people who are stuck on what to do next, in additional to our paid programs.
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Good luck out there.