4 Massachusetts Career Experts Share Advice for Laid Off Employees

February 15, 2023  | 

Throughout the past several weeks, dozens of well-known tech companies have laid off thousands of their employees, with Boston-based Wayfair being one of them. As an employee, it can be nerve-wracking to watch your colleagues get laid off and worry about if you’re next. And if you’ve been laid off yourself, it’s difficult to think about how you can pick up the pieces and move forward, especially if you spent several years at the company.

Are you in this position right now? We have some advice for how you can get started again.

Advice for Laid Off Employees from Massachusetts Career Experts

Remember That You’re Not Alone

Career Coach Aileen Axtmayer encourages any individual who’s been laid off to remember they’re not alone, as, unfortunately, there are many other people in the same boat. Aileen explains, “Being laid off can feel very jarring, and for some people it can take a toll on their confidence even when the decision has nothing to do with the skills or contributions they can provide to an organization. As you enter your job search, this perspective shift can be very helpful.”

When seeking another career, remind yourself that you’re a highly-qualified and talented candidate, and getting laid off is something that’s out of your control.

Additionally, Aileen suggests focusing on quality over quantity. She shares, “When you go into job searching unexpectedly, it can be tempting to apply to anything and everything. I recommend being intentional about what you’re applying to and tailoring your applications for those positions instead of sending out many generic resumes. It may feel like a time suck, but your applications will be much more effective.”

Although you may feel inclined to want to accept any job you see, be strategic about what truly is a good fit for you and narrow your options from there.

Create a Strategic Plan

Some may view getting laid off as an opportunity to pursue something else they feel passionate about, whether it’s an entirely new career or even launching a business. Michelle Keefe, co-founder of MomUp, explains, “This is a great moment to assess what you like about your current career and what you want to change. If you are looking to make a change, research how to best transfer or uplevel your current skills. Then you can update your resume and LinkedIn profile to reflect your most recent role and any new skills and experience you have.”

Once you take a moment to think about your talents, it may surprise you once you realize additional careers you can pursue with those skills. After your LinkedIn profile is updated, it’s the perfect time for you to touch base with any connections who might be able to point you in the right direction. Michelle’s advice: “Utilize your network, both personal and professional, to market yourself and expand your reach.”

As cliche as it may sound, your network is your net worth, and you never know who may be able to present you with the next best opportunity.

Similar to what Aileen suggests, Michelle recommends showing yourself some grace before taking the next steps. She explains, “Being laid off can be challenging for many reasons from the financial stress to the headache of job seeking and everything in between. The most important thing to remember is that a layoff is not a reflection of your value but rather external factors beyond you. The initial instinct can be to immediately jump into a job search but it’s best to take a few days to process what has happened and even seek outside support from family, friends, or a coach. Lastly, try to maintain a positive reframe that this is an opportunity for growth.”

Give yourself time before rushing into your next role.

Expand Your Brand

What’s the best way to find a new opportunity? Market yourself and expand your brand. Simon Jones, founder of Huriot, recommends joining talent marketplaces. He shares, “Sites like Fiverr and Upwork let you market and sell your skills and expertise directly to businesses. Not only can you use these sites to earn income, but working with businesses as a consultant can lead to full time opportunities.”

If you’re struggling to find a full-time position for the time being, gig sites are a great way to earn an income until you find the right fit. In addition to marketplaces, Twitter and LinkedIn help you to build a brand. Simon explains, “Becoming a thought leader on a topic on which you are knowledgeable is a great way to raise your profile with businesses and recruiters. Engage with work related discussions and post thoughtful, well-written opinion pieces, tagging in people who might be interested in your content. Make sure you also indicate you are open to work so people know they can reach out to you about opportunities.”

When you position yourself as a subject matter expert, you’re standing out to potential employers and demonstrating the value you could bring to the table. You can get started with that by making a list of all of the knowledge, skills, and qualities you have. “At Huriot, we are trying to get rid of resumes and break the habit of managers only hiring based on experience. So don’t just think about the experience you have. Think about the skills and knowledge you have, and the personal qualities that you bring. Then demonstrate these in every interaction you have with hiring managers and recruiters,” says Simon.

Building up your professional brand and creating content that reflects your expertise is an excellent way to position yourself as a talented candidate.

Work Towards Your Goals Consistently

Taking one small step every day adds up to big results. Dan Fantasia, President & CEO of Treeline Inc., gives a great analogy: “Consider a job search like trying to lose weight. If your goal is to try and lose 10 pounds this year, it may seem like an overwhelming task. But if you stay positive and focus only on the daily activities that will help you lose 10 pounds in a year, then you will accomplish your goal.”

The same approach can happen with your job search. Dan explains, “Stay positive and set daily activity goals to be successful. For example, identify industries or companies you are interested in. Maybe these companies are the best places to work in your state, or the fastest growing companies in your area, or maybe they are your competition. Whatever your strategy is, now build a daily, weekly, and monthly plan to get in front of these companies.”

What does that plan look like? From Dan’s perspective, he recommends: “Find 5 jobs you are interested in every day. Of those 5 jobs, find the HR person for that company, the person that posted the job, and the hiring manager you think has the job open. Send them a connection request on LinkedIn. Watch to see who views your profile, and by the end of the week, you will have found 25 jobs, sent 75 connections, and likely received correspondence.”

Researching a small amount of jobs each day and building connections leads to a boat load of potential opportunities throughout the next week or even month. Are you worried that you’re not getting the results that you wanted? Dan says, “If you did not receive enough connections or responses, then increase your daily job amount and/or increase your connections to 5 per company. Once people start connecting with you and you have an open dialogue, your pipeline will grow, and by the 4th week, you will have a pipeline of opportunities. Keep this going until you accept an offer.”

The more you put yourself out there, the greater the chance you have to find the right fit. Lastly, Dan emphasizes, “Keep it simple, stay positive, hold yourself accountable to daily activities, and you will find success. Every small win matters.”

In other words, when you focus on the good, the good gets better — so keep going, even when you’re finding it difficult to do so.

Connecting with a Massachusetts Career Expert

Ask for Help When You Need It

It’s easy for your pride to get in the way and make you hesitant about asking for help. Working with a recruiter is a fantastic way to find the right position for you and supplement the effort that you’re already putting into your job search.

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