These days, it seems like a new round of layoffs is being announced almost daily across big media companies. There are a lot of emotions you may be experiencing if you've been impacted, and that's totally normal. But getting laid off doesn't mean your career is over! Here are some steps you can take to make the best of your situation and get back on your feet quickly.
Let your contacts know what happened. There's nothing to be ashamed of if you've been let go -- corporate decisions are about bottom lines, not performance. As soon as you learn about a layoff, you want to tie up loose ends on any current projects and make sure all your contacts know how to reach you. Remember, the relationships you've built through your work are yours to keep even after you've been let go. Most people will be extremely understanding, empathetic, and generous after hearing about a layoff. Send an individual email to every person you had a current project with -- internally and externally -- and let them know that you enjoyed working with them and would love to stay in touch. Next, do the same thing for all contacts you've worked with previously while at the company, your closest industry contacts, and anyone in your network you are hoping to get back in touch with -- a layoff is actually a great opportunity to reignite old relationships! If you already know what you want your next career move to be, include it in the email, so your contacts can keep an eye out. This process can take up to a week to complete, but you’ll be amazed at the generosity you’ll encounter. Expect your calendar to fill up with lunches and coffees very quickly after you send your emails, and try to have your resume ready for anyone who offers to pass it along.
Take some time to relax. If you were working at a company that was forced to cut their staff, it’s likely because things weren’t going well for that company. You probably felt that stress at work on a daily basis, and maybe you were starting to get a bit burned out. Before bouncing back to a job search, it’s a good idea to take a couple of weeks to relax (or more if you got a great severance package) – travel, hike, spend time with your family and friends, catch a middle-of-the-day gym class -- whatever you enjoy that fits your budget. It will help you start to get over any resentment you have about the layoff and let you approach the upcoming job search feeling refreshed.
Set some targets. Without a full-time job to worry about, now is a good time to step back and assess your career. Are you happy with the path you were on, or is it time to try something new? If you’re going to explore a career transition, you’ll need to spend a lot of time doing research on the new path, maybe even working with a career coach to figure out what that path should be. This step could take a couple of days or a couple of months, but you should come out with a very clear direction for yourself. With some targets in mind, you’ll be able to approach the job search much more effectively.
Update your application materials. Though revisiting your accomplishments from your previous role may sound like a surefire way to experience bitterness, try to take a moment to remind yourself, once again, that your layoff is a reflection of the company, not of you. Now is when your work will be freshest in your mind, so it's a good idea to write down all the projects you worked on and any results you were proud of. This exercise will serve as a great basis for your resume, LinkedIn profile, and future job interviews, and the sooner you can complete it, the more detailed it will be. Once you've taken stock of your work and set your sights on what's next, update your LinkedIn profile and resume to align with your goals. We recommend starting with LinkedIn, since it can be used as a networking tool. You’ll want to update your master resume as well, but be ready to make changes to it as you tailor it to each job posting.
Take advantage of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an amazing resource for general job searches and networking, but it really shines as a tool if you've been laid off. While your initial round of emails should have kicked off the networking process for you nicely, announcing your layoff on LinkedIn will generate a bigger response from your wider network. The best version of this LinkedIn post includes the news that you've been impacted by the recent layoff, an acknowledgement of your positive experiences at the company (your team, anything you learned, projects you're really proud of), and a clear call-to-action about what you'd like your next step to be (e.g. "I'd love to continue working in comedy development;" or "My passion lies in helping clients produce compelling marketing content, and I'm excited about the growing opportunities in the metaverse. I'd love to land in a client-facing role at a company looking to expand its VR/AR capabilities."). You'll likely see many likes and comments roll in, all of which will help your visibility to recruiters. Because layoffs are so common these days, you may also see posts in your newsfeed from contacts looking to help people who are affected -- there are even some spreadsheets of recently laid-off workers at some of the larger companies that have circulated across the platform. If someone you know posts a job opening or other offer to help job seekers impacted by layoffs, take them up on it! Additionally, make sure to toggle on the "open to work" setting on your profile so recruiters can find you. As always, you can start to more aggressively pursue informational interviews at companies of interest once you have some clear targets in mind and have an updated profile, and you can use LinkedIn to find the right people to make warm intros. Once you have your network working for you, the rest should start to fall into place. Just make sure you are doing everything possible to get your resume into a real person’s hands when you actually start applying for open roles. And most importantly, don’t get down on yourself about the layoff! It's not your fault and you're not alone in this experience. If you are strategic about pursuing your goals, you’ll be back in the game in no time.
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
Your LinkedIn headline is a really important part of your profile. It's the label that will show up in search results and encourage others to click to see more. Don't skip over this step by assuming you should just use your job title. Rather, you should customize your header based on what you're using the platform for – establishing credibility as a leader in your field, looking for a new job, generating business leads, etc. Here are some tips for writing a strong headline.
First, consider how you want to brand yourself. What’s the most concise way to describe yourself that will help you achieve your goals on LinkedIn? If you're using LinkedIn to generate leads for your current company, it may make sense to lean into your title, and if your company is well-known, including its name can help, especially with search results. If you work in multiple areas, you can use your headline to indicate the different aspects of your professional persona and showcase why your interests complement one another (think: Writer-Producer and Board Member of Non-Profit X / Passionate about Impact Storytelling). If you're openly searching for a job, you can use your headline to indicate the kinds of opportunities you're seeking and use keywords to show why you'd be right for those types of roles (for example: Marketing Producer & Social Media Expert Seeking New Opportunities).
Then, consider what you want to show up in search results. What will the people you want to see your profile be searching for? Who among your peers do you want to show up alongside? Include specific keywords that are going to help the right people find you in a search. Avoid making your headline too long, but make sure the important info is there.
As always, you want your headline to feel authentic to your voice, so do what feels right for you. Look at the headlines of others in your field to get some ideas. What headlines are appealing to you, and what headlines turn you off? That should be the biggest indicator of the right direction for you. After all, this is your profile, and you're in control.
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
LinkedIn is a social media platform, which means that it’s meant to showcase your authentic professional self! When using LinkedIn, you want to write in your own voice, so others can understand what it’s like to do business with you, and ideally, get a little insight into the "why" behind your career choices. Here are a few style tips for crafting an effective profile:
1. Write in first person. On Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and any other social media platform, you're posting as yourself, so why should LinkedIn be any different? It’s best to use complete sentences to describe yourself and your experience on LinkedIn and write in first person. This will allow you to write as if you were speaking to someone directly and sounds the most natural and authentic. Remember, you want to come across as friendly and easy to do business with.
2. Avoid sounding too sales-y. Even though you might use your LinkedIn profile to generate business or catch a recruiter's attention, it’s not meant to be the voice of your business or replicate your resume. Help readers understand why you are passionate about your work and what your main strengths are, and they’ll want to work with you. Don't fill up your profile with marketing copy – save that for your website.
3. Expand beyond what’s on your resume. LinkedIn is the place to dig into your passions and interests and share anecdotes about what you enjoyed about your previous projects. Because you have more space than a one or two line bullet point, you can actually share interesting stories and achievements that wouldn’t make sense on a resume. These can give context to what’s on your resume if you are actively searching for jobs, so you want to make sure this personal branding tool is supplemental to your other documents – not a copy-paste of your resume.
4. Consider your target audience. Who do you hope is clicking on your profile? Write to those people! If you’re applying for jobs, include what the hiring manager wants to hear. If you are seeking new clients or business partners, who do you think they want to work with? Make sure you are covering the appropriate topics and writing in a tone that appeals to those people.
Keep in mind that the amount of detail you go into on LinkedIn is specific to you. Write whatever feels natural to your personality, and you’ll be on the right track!
-- Angela Silak and Cindy Kaplan
What's the deal with LinkedIn messaging?
We get a lot of questions about the LinkedIn messaging feature – when is it ok to send a message, who is it worthwhile to message over LinkedIn, or why does no one respond to my messages? In our experience, to use the LinkedIn messaging feature effectively, you have to be strategic with your outreach -- and sometimes, that means not using the feature at all.
If you’ve recently received a connection request from an old friend or former colleague over LinkedIn, it’s fine to send a quick “Hi! Nice to hear from you!” note. This probably isn’t going to result in any further interaction, but there’s no harm in sending a friendly message to someone you know. However, if you are actually trying to conduct business with someone, it’s better to take the communication off-platform. The same goes for when you're initiating connections with people from your past -- if you like, you can swap out the generic message from LinkedIn for a custom one to be pleasant, but you may not get a response.
Unfortunately, a lot of LinkedIn messages get buried among a sea of messages from random people trying to connect or are lost in the social media tab of the recipient's gmail inbox, so you might get unintentionally ghosted, even by someone you know. Plenty of people have LinkedIn profiles but are not active on the site at all. If you're trying to initiate a conversation that leads to a call or meeting with someone you know, send an email, which will have a better chance of getting read.
If you are trying to connect with someone you don’t know, either to apply for a job, set up an informational interview, or establish a business partnership, LinkedIn is a great tool for identifying targets, but it's still better to get in touch via email, for the reasons outlined above. If possible, try to get someone you know who knows the person to refer you through an introductory email. You can also try a cold email -- it's pretty easy to find someone's work email address, as most companies have a standard format.
If LinkedIn messaging is the absolute only way you can find to get in touch with someone, you’ll want to craft a message carefully. Be really specific about who you are, why you are reaching out, and what you are hoping to get by connecting with this person. If there’s something you have in common with the person (i.e. you went to the same alma mater), call that out in your note. In an ideal world, the person will respond, and you will get a meeting. But don’t be offended or discouraged if you don’t hear back – many people won’t even see the message or are simply too busy to respond.
Also, keep in mind that having a completed profile (with a picture!) is going to encourage people to want to do business with you and may increase your chances of getting a response. So if you haven’t taken the time to build out your profile, now is a good opportunity
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
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