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February 16, 2016
The Top 4 Things To Do Right After You’re Laid Off
 
[Talking on the phone] “And I said, I don’t care if they lay me off either, because I told, I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I’m, I’m quitting, I’m going to quit.
 
“And, and I told Don too, because they’ve moved my desk four times already this year, and I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were merry...”
— Milton Waddams, “Office Space”
 
So this post is a doozy to write. But you can trust me on this subject — because it’s basically autobiographical.
 
I was laid off (“NOT performance-related,” I was told) in mid-January. Luckily(?), I’ve been through this before — several times, in fact.
 
And while it’s never easy or fun, there are two directions you can go if/when this happens:
  1. Sit, pout and cry.
  2. Dust yourself off, grab yourself a snack, and start on the road to your next opportunity.
Here are the four things I did immediately after my layoff — try ’em out:
 
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#1: Sharpen your “tools.”
And by tools, I mean your resume, portfolio/samples, social profiles and references.
 
Update your resume and have it ready to go — wherever you prefer to keep it, so you can email it at a moment’s notice. I’m using Google Docs, but I also have it on my home computer desktop.
 
PRO TIP: If you’ve recently emailed your resume as an attachment, you can just grab it from your Sent Email folder (if you save Sent Emails) and forward it in a new message. Just makes sure to update the subject message and email content.  
 
Take a look at your portfolio/samples, and add anything new that you feel is worthy. Also, consider taking out old stuff that might feel dated or irrelevant.
 
We’ll talk about social media below, but this is the time to update your accounts too. Obviously LinkedIn, but even the job info on Facebook and Twitter (in your bio) should be current.
 
And although references are not as necessary as they used to be, confirm with your trusted colleagues that it’s OK to give out their name and contact info. (Plus, you can prep them to say wonderful things about you.)
 
#2: Make a plan. Or list. Or schedule.
I’m not going to tell you how to actually come up with your plan — since you might prefer a big ol’ “To Do List” or even schedule things out per day/week. (We all work differently.)
 
But however and whenever you do them, you should:
  • Hit the jobsites (I hear that Talent Zoo is good)
  • Visit websites of companies that you’d like to work for
  • Talk to colleagues and friends and see if they have any leads/ideas 
You never know where your next great job will come from — but having a plan means you can start “putting out feelers” and applying right away.
 
#3: Tell the world that you’re available.
I struggled with this one, thinking that people might see that “Seeking My Next Great Opportunity” headline and see desperation.
 
I consulted a handful of recruiters and HR folks, and the majority felt that it’s good to let people know you’re out there and looking and available.
 
Clearly, “going public” and posting about your situation on social media is an important consideration. And how you present yourself is crucial; you don’t want to be the “bitter, recently laid-off” person. It’s much better to go with optimism and enthusiasm, which can go a long way in getting interviews.
 
Write up your tweet, Facebook update, and LinkedIn update (the last two could basically be the same), and hit “Post.” Sure, you’ll get some sympathetic messages from family and friends — but maybe also some good leads on freelance and full-time gigs.
 
#4: Expand your network.
So you’ve posted on social and let people know you’re out there. And you’ve updated your social accounts — and improved them wherever possible.
 
Of course, growing your social network can be a huge help in finding new opportunities. So ask politely to get connected on LinkedIn (give them a reason why!), and even join some Groups based on job role and industry.
 
And look around your community too — there are plenty of local networking groups on LinkedIn, as well as Meetup.com and others. You could even  arrange a Tweetup with cool people in your region. (At the very least, you can have some drinks with some friendly faces.)
 
ONE MORE THING: Take a break.
There’s clearly plenty of stuff to do in order to find your Next Great Job. But it doesn’t all have to happen that first day, or even that first week.
 
Do some of those things you can’t when you’re in a 9–5. Take a nap. Catch up on your DVR watching. (An hour a day won’t kill you.) Be good to yourself, because you deserve some happiness!

Feel free to share your layoff stories — or even better, your tips for brand-new job hunters — in the comments below.

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With 20+ years of experience — both at agencies and "on the client side" — Harley David Rubin has enjoyed many challenges and opportunities in his career. He's currently freelancing, with an eye toward starting his own creative communications company. And he loves to share the stories and "wisdom" he's accumulated over the years. (Because what writer doesn't love talking about himself?) He's truly thankful for the opportunity to write for TalentZoo.com, and he's happy to connect via LinkedIn or even on Twitter at @hdrubin.
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