Careers & Interviewing
What to do after being laid off and looking to land my next ideal job.
Question from Michelle
What to do after being laid off and looking to land my next ideal job.
Answered by Victoria Young
COO of Outpace

How to position yourself for success after being laid off

Remember being laid off is not a reflection of you, your performance, or your skills. Companies you've worked for have hired you for a reason. This is an opportunity to take your unique blend of superpowers to your next adventure! Let's dive into our five step framework to set yourself up for success after being affected by layoffs:

1. Take a moment to regroup and reflect.

Get clear on the direction you'd like your career to go.

Has there been anything on your mind about how you can make better use of your strengths? What has this recent career experience taught you about yourself and what you'd like out of your next step? Make a list of everything you've learned in this past role. Then, write down what you're looking for in your next role. Give yourself the space to compassionately process all the emotions and thoughts that may have come up from the layoff.

Don't rush to apply, but do search to see what's available.

You can definitely search job boards, but you could also use your LinkedIn network to your advantage. Search "layoffs" / "layoffs + (company doing layoffs)" / "laid off" and filter for posts. There, you'll find in the comments people still hiring, looking to help, and you can directly reach out to those people. You can also search "job lists" to find job lists people have been compiling for those who have been affected by the layoffs. From here, you can compile a list of the jobs that match with what you're looking for in your next role.

2. Be persistent and specific on your "why".

Prepare your resume and interview answers.

Hiring managers are understanding about layoffs, and getting laid off doesn't take away the great achievements you've accomplished. It might feel hard to convince yourself of that right after getting laid off, but updating your resume to show what those wins were is a great starting point.

By being honest in your answers about what you learned from the company you were laid off from, you show your ability as a leader through the depth of your own observations and reflections.

  • Tell me about yourself: Don't shy away from the layoff, but focus on what value you will offer because of everything you learned at the previous company. Only there for a few months? You can still share why you were originally interested in the company and how you approached your role while you were there.
  • Why us: This is another great moment to showcase the depth of research you have. The depth of research will make it clear that you're not just looking for a job because you were laid off, but that you have 2-3 thoughtful and compelling reasons around why this company is a fit.

3. Focus on people who already know you.

Reach out to your network.

It may feel odd reaching out after getting laid off, but remember that when you focus on the value you can create for a company, it's in their best interest to get to know you. If imposter syndrome rears its ugly head, you can remind yourself of your core strengths and learnings from your most recent role. Check your LinkedIn to see if you have any warm intros for the companies you're applying for and if not, jump back to Secret #2 in our guide to getting hired in tech to follow our Warm Connections framework.

Take a moment as well to reach out to recent colleagues you worked with prior to getting laid off and ask them to write you a LinkedIn recommendation. See if they'd be open to be a referral for you as you go through your job interviewing process. Make this easy for them by writing an outline for them of the key projects you worked on together and points they could share about the work you did together.

4. Become so good they can't ignore you.

Reconnect with your passion.

Getting laid off may initially be a blow to your enthusiasm to join another company, but doing research will help you get authentically excited about the role or determine the company actually isn't a good fit for you after all. See if you can pitch the company back to yourself with genuine excitement and confidence (this is a great test)!

The take-home assignment is a very important part of the process, which can often determine whether you do or don't get the job. We hope our take-home assignment checklist in our guide below helps you bring your assignment to the next level and really helps set you apart.

It may be more difficult to get a job when many companies have done layoffs and hiring freezes, but if it's clear that you're going to create incredible amounts of value for the company, it'll be a bad business decision for them not to hire you.

5. Most importantly, take care of yourself

You don't need to rush into the job-hunting process if you don't feel like it's right for you. Listen to yourself and what you need. Get yourself prepared for your ideal next steps so you feel ready and confident in the process.

We, and your community, are here to support you. You've got this! If you have any questions about your career, we're happy to answer them…for free. You can ask our expert coaches here.

If you're looking for top resume, interview, take-home assignment templates & frameworks and more, get our Guide To Getting Hired At The Best Paying Tech Jobs & Mini-Sprint For Nailing Your Interview for free here.

About the author
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Victoria Young
COO of Outpace

Victoria brings years of operational experience from top companies, focusing on research-backed strategies and proven tactics.

Additional Resources
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  • Free Guide To Getting Hired At The Best Paying Tech Jobs & Mini-Sprint For Nailing Your Interview: In an evolving tech landscape, Outpace is on a mission to help give you the same competitive advantage as the world’s top performers.
    We created Secrets To Success: Getting Hired At The Best Paying Tech Jobs by compiling the most cutting-edge knowledge from top leaders, who have landed manager to C-Suite roles at companies like Meta, Netflix, Google, and more. We’ve written out all our secrets to success in this free guide and you can get a taste of the Outpace experience through our mini-sprint, built to help you nail your interview. ⚡

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