The tech industry has been seeing a lot of layoffs lately. Amazon layoffs, Microsoft layoffs, Meta layoffs, Google layoffs and more have been the topic of news as of late. If you’ve been laid off recently, here are the top 8 things you should do, to make sure you set yourself up to be in the best position to find a new job and continue on your career path.

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The tech industry has been seeing a lot of layoffs lately.

And according to this CNBC article, over 70k employees have been let go, across more than a dozen different tech companies (Amazon, Microsoft, Meta, Google), in the last 6 months.

If you’ve been affected by these reductions in workforce — first, my sympathies to you. As someone that has been a part of a mass layoff before, I can certainly empathize.

But secondly, I wanted to share with you guys the top 8 things that I’ve done, that have helped me when I was impacted by a layoff— to prepare me to capitalize on my next career opportunity.

1) Know your separation terms

The absolute first thing you should do when you receive the news of your lay off — is to take steps to clearly understand your separation terms.

There is a lot that will go into your termination package and it’s critical that you know all of the parameters within that package. Here are a few things you’ll want to pay attention to.

First, obviously, is your severance — how much is it and exactly what is the date of distribution? Is it one lump sum, is it delivered in whole in your last paycheck, does it include a payout of my PTO time, etc? Those are all things you’ll want to make sure you understand.

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Secondly, you’ll want to ask what the terms of your healthcare benefits are — and understand how long they extend and how to continue your coverage, should you need it, after this initial period is over. 

Most companies provide you a certain duration of COBRA coverage, as part of a separation package, which allows you to continue your employee sponsored health plan, during your severance period. But afterwards, if you needed to continue it on your own, it could be very costly, so make sure you know all the details here — so you can plan ahead for you and you family.

Third, determine if you have a waiver for some of the critical employment terms you signed off on at the beginning of your employment. Things like your non-compete — you’ll need to know whether that is waived so that you can search for a new job at a competitive company immediately.

And if you’re fairly new to your job, you’ll need to know if your sign-on bonus pay-back clause or your relocation benefit pay-back clause is also waived, if you’ve received such benefits when you got hired on.

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In most cases they would be because the language in your original employee contract probably state that these stipulations only apply if you voluntarily leave the company — but it’s always a good idea to get confirmation on these things, so that you don’t get surprised later on.

2) Negotiate your terms, if you can

Depending on the circumstances of your separation, you may have an opportunity to go back to your HR department and negotiate your exit terms.

This is usually a viable option if the layoff involved a small number of employees or was very specific to a particular team, function or group.

When you have a massive RIF, similar to the size and degree of the Microsoft, Amazon or Meta layoffs that happened recently — those packages are usually pretty standardized and there is nearly no capacity for adjustment.

But as the old saying goes, “it never hurts to ask,” so if you get the opportunity to negotiate for a higher severance amount or more of your stock awards to vest, or longer benefits coverage, don’t hesitate to do so.

3) Establish/solidify your connections (thank you notes, Linkedin connections & recommendations, etc)

Next, you’ll want to make sure that you establish/solidify all of your connections as you exit the company.

This means reaching out to your colleagues, both those that are staying and those that were also affected alongside you — and establishing Linkedin connections and exchanging email and other important contact info.

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The most jarring thing about a mass layoff is that from a professional standpoint, you are all of a sudden separated from all of the routine touchpoints you used to have with your colleagues on a daily basis.

But that doesn’t mean the relationships you’ve built with these people and the personal familiarity you have with them, instantly evaporates — the ones that you’ve truly connected with, the ones that really know you and support you, they’ll continue to be your personal advocates long after this parting has happened.

And its important that for those people, you stay connected to them.

4) Give yourself time to process (reflect on your values/path, take a well deserved break)

One of the most important things you can do, in this period in your life, is to give yourself some time to process and self-reflect.

Many people often fall into the trap of starting their job search immediately after a layoff, without giving their bodies, and most importantly, their minds, a chance to rest and rejuvenate.

And as most of you know, job searches can take quite a while and it can be immensely stressful during that time.

So it’s important that you first take a pause & and then reset yourself so that you can mentally & physically prepare for the work that’s to come ahead.

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But even more important than that — is the mindset shift that you can make, to actually think about this point in your career, as a gift of time.

You see, with the confidence of knowing that you are skilled enough, smart enough and diligent enough to find a new job — you have to recognize that your re-employment/re-entry into the workforce is simply a matter of time.

Knowing that and having that confidence, think of this period as a small allowance of time, in which you are free to do whatever you want in your life — whether it’s being more intentional about the time you spend with your friends & family, or learning a new life skill or simply fulfilling your soul with whatever it is you’ve always wanted to do.

Because before you know it, you’ll have found and landed an amazing new job and you’ll be eager and excited to get started and resume your career path again — which is great…

But it may be a long time before you get another chance, another opportunity like this, to slow things down, pop your head up and simply relish in the other aspects of your life.

Trust me — cherishing that time is something I wish I had done more of, when I was in this type of situation a little while back.

5) Determine a timeline for your next job search

Once you’ve had some time to rest and recharge — the next step is to set a plan and a target timeline for your job search.

According to this Top Resume article, the average job search now takes about 5 to 6 months. Take note, that this time duration varies, of course, on the number of applications and resumes you send out and each individual employer’s hiring processes.

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But given that it may take up to half a year to secure a new job, you’ll want to plan out your timeline with the following things in mind.

First, make sure you bake in some time in the beginning, to revamp all of your career and brand artifacts. This includes revising your resume and updating your Linkedin profile and gathering any work samples that you may need for your upcoming interviews.

And realize that this is your opportunity to ensure that your candidate profile reflects exactly what you want in your next role. So be sure you dedicate a decent amount of mind share and effort into setting the narrative of your resume and supporting documents, exactly right.

Then, the next few weeks of your timeline should be focused on active job seeking, which means structuring your work week to spend a portion of your days researching companies and open positions and then the remaining portion of your week thoughtfully submitting your applications — knowing that all of your hard work will start to pay dividends approximately 1–2 weeks after your work is done, when you get contacted by a recruiter.

Afterwards, the next few following weeks, should be filled with interview loops for those positions you applied for earlier in your timeline and one or more of those should (hopefully) result in an offer being made.

But the key here is to structure your weeks and discipline yourself to consistently follow the process you’ve built within this timeline so that you give yourself the best chance to capitalize on these new job prospects.

Remember, job seeking is a job, in and of itself — and you have to consistently work the process if you want to see the results.

6) Optimize your Linkedin Profile

Nowadays, Linkedin is arguably the most important artifact you can maintain as a job seeker — perhaps even more impactful that your resume.

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And that’s because it is the only all-in-one platform that acts as a vehicle to convey your personal brand & career profile, a digital channel in which you can discover and be discovered by recruiters and hiring managers, and a powerful networking tool that allows you to stay connected with former colleagues and companies that you’ve worked for, or admire.

For a job seeker, there are plenty of features on this platform that you can utilize and best practices you can employ to refine your job search and seek out the opportunities your looking for.

So, to that point — here are a few tips on Linkedin, that will help you remain competitive in the candidate pool.

First, when you separate from your former company, don’t change your job title or status away from your current role just yet. Technically speaking, once you change your status or job title to “looking for work” or “seeking for new opportunities”, your searchability within the Linkedin search algorithm loses one key input that would help recruiters find potential candidates in their search results.

Also, according to this Forbes article, certain recruiters may have a preference for contacting potential candidates that are already employed vs. those that are on a career break.

The article states:

[There is a] well known preference for “passive candidates” i.e. those who don’t seem to be actively looking (it’s like playing hard to get). I’ve seen this bias in action when working with recruiters and employers, it’s real.

So for now, keep you title as is, as you’re applying for new roles — and let your resume and your initial conversation with the recruiter, indicate your current status.

Next, make sure you clean up your connections list.

Over the course of your career, you’ll have made a lot of connections with people you’ve just met once or twice on Linkedin. And when you’re not actively searching for a new career, making casual connections is just fine — but when you are actively job seeking, you’ll want to scrub your connections and remove any people that you don’t remember or have only met once at a networking event and have never seen again.

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The reason for this is because as you start an interview process, a hiring manager may look you up on Linkedin and find that you share a connection with a particular person. They may contact that person for references on you and if that person doesn’t remember you or doesn’t have anything impactful to say about you — it may just leave an unhelpful impression.

Long story short, it can only hurt you to have a ineffective or lukewarm connection on Linkedin — and when you are job seeking, you’ll want to eliminate anything that might hurt your chances of succeeding through your next interview loop.

And to be honest, if you weren’t really close to the people you are removing off of your list, those people may not even remember you either — so it’s always a good idea to refine your connections list before you start interviewing for new roles.

Lastly — make sure you collect Linkedin recommendations from those that you’ve worked closely with, in the past.

This is one of those things that really puts polish on your Linkedin profile.

It’s impressive to see a profile that has 10 or more recommendations with glowing endorsements referring to your skills or leadership qualities.

It may not be the key thing that a recruiter or hiring manager looks at before deciding to put you in an interview loop, but it may be one of the factors they revisit later on, in making their hiring decision, if you happen to be neck-and-neck with another candidate for the same job.

7) Establish your physical and mental health

One of the best things you can do in this period — is to make sure you establish & maintain your physical and mental health.

In addition to it extending your life and improving your mood and living quality — firmly establishing your physical and mental health also has a huge impact in your job search process.

One of the most stand out things you need to successfully pass an interview process — is confidence and leadership presence, both of which are affected by your physical & mental strength.

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You can’t convey a sense of strong conviction and fortitude in your abilities… if you’re also battling your self-esteem.

You can’t effectively express enthusiasm and exuberance for the job… if you’re always tired and lethargic.

And you can’t convince a hiring manager that you are the right candidate for their job… if you can’t convince yourself that you deserve this opportunity.

The way you physically & mentally show up and carry yourself, especially in a virtual/hybrid interview process says a lot about you — even more than you might think.

So if you’re not already in the right shape and the right state of mind that you want to be in, make sure you take this time and invest in yourself — both physically and mentally.

8) Have confidence and know your self worth

And finally, the last thing you should do — is never ever let the circumstances of this career gap, affect your self worth.

Remember, no one’s career is exactly linear — every executive / leader / CEO has had their share of set backs. And within the course of your career, sometimes you have to take that one step backwards to take the next two steps forward.

But taking a step back doesn’t mean that you failed in your career, it doesn’t mean that you weren’t deserving of your past position and it certainly doesn’t mean that your skills or background is any less valuable right now and that you don’t deserve to find an even better job in the near future.

All this period means, is that at this current moment in time, you were meant to close this particular chapter in your career, and you’ll soon be ready to start the next one.

In my experience, every door that closed for me — has always led me to something bigger and better. It’s always worked out that way for me — and it’s something that I believe in… for everyone out there.

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Remember, it’s a question of when, not if you’ll find you next great opportunity — so make sure you never ever let this circumstance question your worth or merit. 

What you’ve built up in your career thus far — your skills, experiences & knowledge, that’s all real and it’s all extremely valuable, especially when the right role and company comes along.

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**** Disclaimer *****

The content here is strictly the opinion of Daniel’s Brew and is for entertainment purposes only. It should not be considered professional financial, investment, or career advice. Investing and career decisions are personal choices that each individual must make for themselves in accordance with their situation and long term plans. Daniel’s Brew will not be held liable for any outcome as a result of anyone following the opinions provided in this content.

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