No matter what your layoff looks like—whether you’ve worked for a company for ten months or ten years, whether you were notified by an impersonal email or with a compassionate sit-down conversation—it stings. For many of us, work is interwoven in our identities and how we contribute to the world, so when a company cuts us off, the questions that fill our heads aren’t just, “What will I do next?” but also, “Who am I?”
There’s a flood of complicated and heavy emotions to parse in the weeks that follow and it’s important to take the time to process them. But it’s also critical to take a few steps early on, ideally within the first 24 hours—because as time ticks, you’re distanced from the people, projects, and data that are invaluable in landing your next role. So you’ll want to do a few things to set yourself up to transition more quickly into an exciting new opportunity.
Emily Stark, a portfolio career coach suggests the following 4 things:
- Collect your docs and data: our computer holds loads of information that can help you build a strong professional brand and present yourself as a promising candidate in the job search. It’s best practice to keep an ongoing “brag file” with key achievements somewhere you’ll always be able to access (i.e., not on a work computer or account). But if you haven’t kept it up, collect what you can now. Here are a few things you should grab ASAP while you still have access to your work accounts:
- Client, boss, senior leader, peer, and any other accolades
- Performance reviews
- Promotional recognition
- Results from impactful projects
- Network contact information
- Create or Join a group with your fellow laid-off coworkers: these networking groups lead to significant increases in LinkedIn connections, endorsements, and recommendations; referrals that accelerate the job search process; exposure to potential companies to add to their target lists; and one-on-one conversations about the culture, work-life balance, and more at prospective companies.
- Share with your Linked-In community: When the only thing you do on LinkedIn after a layoff is toggle your profile to “Open to Work,” you’re not giving your network an opportunity to engage. A post about your recent layoff and hopes for your next career step sets the stage for your LinkedIn network to like, share, and send opportunities. Daniel Roth, LinkedIn’s Editor in Chief, VP, shared a story about an attorney named Catherine Cambridge, for example, who was recently laid off and posted about it on LinkedIn. “I’ve had at least 30 people reach out with potential opportunities and have asked me directly to apply to open positions,” she told Roth. This story is consistent with what I’ve seen with my clients. Those who promptly post about their layoffs have smoother transitions than those who don’t. One client showed me a spreadsheet of opportunities in our first session, all accumulated from one LinkedIn post that likely took her only 20 minutes to write.
- Reach out to a career coach: Meeting with a career coach can help you feel supported and guided in a productive, forward-focused direction. So scour your exit paperwork or specifically ask your HR specialist ASAP if career coaching is part of your severance package. If it is, reach out to your coach to get started sooner rather than later. There are also hundreds of coaches on LinkedIn with varying price ranges and expertise to help you get to your next step with a little more ease.
And of course, reach out to Envision, LLC to help assist you with finding a new career opportunity!