How to reenter the job market after being laid off

Mergers, reorganization, cost cutting, project cancellation, etc., etc., etc.

Organizations lay people off for a variety of reasons, and it’s not always related to performance.

In agriculture, for example, we’re seeing a high rate of movement in the crop protection space that has to do with mergers, regulation and other factors unrelated to employee skill level.

This can be a tough reality to cope with, but there are a few steps you can take immediately after being laid off to ensure you reenter the job market as a competitive candidate.

Update your LinkedIn as soon as possible

It’s Friday morning, and you just received word that your position has been nixed. This surreal moment might feel like the worst time to log into your LinkedIn account, but it’s important to update your career status publicly as soon as you’re able to.

All too often, we see laid-off employees leave their former company on their profile until they’ve secured their next role. This makes it harder for recruiters to update your profile on their own database, and it can leave your network confused about your true status.

It’s normal to take a few days of reflection, but don’t wait until two weeks after being laid off to make it public. Own your narrative from the beginning.

Remain open, honest and candid about your work status

Updating your LinkedIn is a good first step when striving to be transparent about your layoff. Many people also create a post explaining the situation to their network.

If you choose to create a LinkedIn post explaining the layoff, be mindful of sharing any sensitive information. You should strive to be amicable in your departure and maintain any strong relationships you’ve built over the years by keeping the story simple and clean.

If the very nature of the layoff is sensitive or you’ve signed an NDA, you can frame your post to focus on what your next steps will be instead of spending too much time on how you got there.

A public post can also be a good first step back into the world of networking.

Revamp your professional résumé and start networking

Depending on how far you were in your prior tenure, it may be time to update your résumé.

You can find a myriad of resources to help you write a world-class résumé, but one simple first step can be to reconnect with 20 or so business friends or colleagues and share the most recent version.

These individuals can help you objectively evaluate the skills you’ve gained over the years, and their buy in early in your career search will ensure they are invested in helping you later down the road. There’s a good chance they will even have leads on potential opportunities.

Treat your career search as a full-time job

Searching for a new role is not easy, so investing adequate time into the search process is crucial if you want to land a position quickly. We recommend spending 20-30 hours a week solely dedicated to networking with colleagues, researching opportunities and actively reaching out to hiring authorities.

If you’re not completely certain about what next steps you will take in your career, try applying our five-step framework:

  1. Define the scope of opportunities that may interest you
  2. Create an exhaustive list of companies in this scope
  3. Research and prioritize which companies you’re most interested in
  4. Identify and reach out to the appropriate hiring authorities
  5. Express appreciation for anyone who helps you along the way

Read the full framework: Five effective career-search strategies

Invest time into a side hobby or project that keeps you occupied

Being laid off is both mentally and physically exhausting. It’s important to prioritize self-care during this time. One way we recommend decompressing is by finding a hobby or passion project that will keep your mind off the career search in your downtime.

The takeaway:

To recap, layoffs happen for a variety of reasons. If you were recently let go, own the story of how this happened by remaining appropriately transparent on LinkedIn as well as in conversations with colleagues or connections.

Next, revisit your résumé and share it with 20 or so of your closest business friends. These individuals can help you draft a solid career description and introduce you to potential opportunities.

Once you’re officially in the market for a new role, invest 20-30 hours a week in the search. This will ensure you can land a job in a timely fashion.

Finally, enjoy your downtime by focusing on a non-work-related project or hobby. Staying positive and keeping your stress low will help you devote your full attention to the search when needed.

To learn more, contact Eric Spell at (336) 217-9116 or