How to Recover From a Layoff

March 16, 2023

At a glance

  • The main takeaway: Several of the world’s largest companies have gone through layoffs recently. While the layoffs have left many talented candidates in search of their next opportunity, they have also created opportunities for employers to hire top talent.
  • Impact on the job-seeker: By following six steps, you can bounce back from a layoff stronger than ever and start a new and exciting chapter of your career.
  • Next steps: Consult with Aprio Talent Solutions if you need support, guidance or advice on your job search.

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The full story:

Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Meta are just some of the companies that have made major layoffs in recent months, letting go of more than 150,000 employees between the four of them. The layoffs didn’t discriminate based on longevity; anecdotally, both long-standing and new employees were included in the reshuffling.

A layoff can trigger many different emotions, ranging from shock to sadness to fear. If you have recently gone through a layoff, it’s important to honor those feelings but also remember that as one door closes, another one opens (after all, we are in one of the strongest, employee-driven job markets in recent memory).

Here are six steps that will help you recover from a layoff and start your next professional journey.

1. Obtain a layoff letter

The first step you should take is to request a “layoff letter” from your previous employer. The letter will explain and verify that you were laid off by the company, which can be helpful validation to have when you are searching for a new position. The letter notifies hiring managers that you were not let go by the company for performance- or behavior-related reasons. This is an impactful yet simple task to check off your list while you are mentally recovering from your layoff.

2. Revamp your resume

Ideally, it is a good idea to wait on tackling any tactical tasks until you have given yourself ample time and space to adjust your mindset. Not only are you dealing with the emotional shock of your layoff, but you also may be uncertain about what’s next.

Before you update your resume and professional social profiles, take some time to think about the next phase of your career. Do you want to switch industries? Explore new positions? Plot out your game plan and what you want from your next role before you take the plunge into your search. Revisit your 5–10-year plan and where you want your career to go; it’s a good time to re-evaluate and make calibrations.

Once you have set your path forward, it’s time to update your resume. The cardinal rule of resume writing is to tailor the narrative to the job you want to have. Boilerplate resumes with a chronological list of your job history will not catch a recruiter’s eye, especially in today’s competitive job market. Make sure that your resume, both in its summary and its content, emphasizes the skills, accomplishments and qualifications that are aligned with the job you want. If you are applying to different types of roles or industries, you may find you have a few different versions of your resume.

3. Set a job-search schedule

You may not have a 9-to-5 currently, but you need to wake up every day as if you are going to work — except that your new job is YOU finding a job.

Put yourself on a daily schedule and set realistic milestones and goals. For instance, how many contacts will you make per day? How many emails will you send to recruiters and hiring managers? How many jobs will you apply to? How many interviews will you schedule? Holding yourself accountable and approaching your job search in a methodical, strategic manner will increase your chances of finding your next position quickly.  

4. Keep building your professional expertise

While you are making your way through hiring and interview processes, you should continue to be proactive about honing your craft. You may be tempted to fill your new free time with personal hobbies, and of course, there’s nothing wrong with making time for yourself. However, a six-month gap on your resume that is devoted to activities unrelated to your professional expertise could set the wrong tone with hiring managers and recruiters.

Instead, consider working toward a new professional certification or volunteering your professional services to help a local nonprofit or charitable organization. If you need help finding opportunities to serve, contact your professional colleagues, members of your community or even parents at your kids’ school. You should also stay up on business and applicable industry news and events. Keeping yourself sharp and enhancing and expanding your resume will help put you at the top of the talent pool.

5. Polish your interview skills

In addition to building your professional expertise, you should also use your free time between job searches to improve your interview skills. This is an especially critical task for candidates who have been out of the job market for years or even decades.

When we work with candidates looking for new opportunities, we often recommend that they record themselves in mock interviews, with a friend, colleague or family member serving as the “interviewer.” Refine your answers to standard questions and ask for feedback after an interview so you can make adjustments as needed.

6. Leverage your network

Take advantage of networking opportunities and events that allow you to connect with thought leaders, decision-makers and peers in your professional community. You should also comb through your LinkedIn network and enhance your presence on the platform. While virtual networking is important, it’s essential to find the right face-to-face networking events to attend as well. Speaking of LinkedIn, remember that many recruiters and hiring managers use the platform as a primary resource to scope out top candidates for positions. Review your profile and make sure that your headline clearly emphasizes your professional expertise, credentials and the roles you are searching for. Your job history should be updated, and you should also experiment with posting relevant content to your feed so you can stay top of mind for your connections.

The bottom line

By following these six steps, you can confidently walk through the door your layoff has opened to you and discover a job opportunity that will take your career to new heights. If you need professional guidance and expertise as you restart your job search, don’t hesitate to contact Aprio Talent Solutions. We specialize in connecting top candidates with top job opportunities across the US, Canada and Mexico.

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About the Author

Mitchell Nelson

I provide advisory and digital transformation and IT solutions to businesses of all sizes — from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. I advise C-level executives and key business decision-makers, as well as technology, sales and marketing professionals. My solutions are relevant to any industry, but I primarily focus on the healthcare, financial services, consumer goods, manufacturing and retail sectors.