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Being Laid Off? Get Back to Work Fast With These 14 Tips

The key to getting a new job quickly is to stay persistent, organized, and professional. Read on to discover how you can bounce back after being laid off and get the job of your dreams.
Being Laid Off? Get Back to Work Fast With These 14 Tips

In the last two years, thousands of Americans have lost their jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Being laid off can be terrifying, and you may find yourself wondering how you’re going to pay the bills. You need to get a new job right away, but how do you go about doing that?

The key to getting a new job quickly is to stay persistent, organized, and professional. Read on to discover how you can bounce back after being laid off and get the job of your dreams.

1. Set Your Priorities

When you get ready to start applying for jobs, one of the first things you need to do is to set your priorities. When you’re desperate to get a job after being laid off, it can be easy to get into a mindset of accepting anything you can get your hands-on. This could lead to you taking a job that can’t support you or that you’re miserable in.

Decide before you ever put in your first application what you need in a job and what your deal breakers are. Figure out what’s most important to you in your job and what you’re willing to compromise on. Not only will this help you better choose the right job for you, but it will also put you in a better negotiating position during the interview process.

2. Brush Up Your Resume

Of course, your resume will be among the most important tools at your disposal during your job search. Your resume lets potential employers know what you bring to the table and provides that all-important first impression. You need your resume to wow potential employers from the moment it lands in their hands.

Keep your resume concise – include all your relevant experience, but don’t include every accolade from middle school. Make sure you include your contact information at the top of the page. And make sure you pick a format that is clean, easy to read, and visually appealing.

If you need help, we have a free resume library where you can browse templates and get advice on your specific industry.

3. Customize Cover Letters

Although your resume should be strong enough to speak for itself, it’s a good idea to include a cover letter with your job application. Your cover letter is your opportunity to explain why you would be a good fit for the job and to let your future employer get to know you a little better. It can also demonstrate some of the specific relevant skills you’ve discussed in your resume.

Each time you apply for a job, you need to update your cover letter for that job. Of course, this should include changing the person the letter is addressed to and so on. But it’s also a good idea to highlight the skills that are specifically relevant to the job you’re applying to and to include accomplishments that uniquely qualify you for this job.

4. Create a LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great way to both hunt for jobs and to let recruiters know you’re searching. This social network is designed to help professionals form connections and act as something of a digital resume. You can include your education, experience, skills and even a headshot for potential employers to review.

If you don’t already have a LinkedIn, set up a page and be sure to include as much information as you can. Unlike your resume, this is a great place to go deep into your work experience, your skills and your accolades. You can also choose to let recruiters know you’re looking for a job so your resume will show up in relevant candidate pools.

5. Talk to Your Network

In addition to kicking your digital network into high gear, when you’re trying to find a job, it’s a good idea to reach out to your personal network. Oftentimes, getting a job is less about what you know and more about who you know. Getting a recommendation from the right person can help you to find out about new opportunities after being laid off and place you in a better position to take them.

Let your friends, family, and trusted former colleagues know you’re back in the job market. Ask them to let you know about any opportunities they find out about and to spread the word that you’re looking. Be sure to thank these people for any opportunities they do send your way and, if you do get hired for one of those positions, consider sending your referrer a thank you gift.

6. Filter Your Searches

When you’re running searches on job listing sites, the results can get overwhelming in a hurry. There are thousands of positions open all the time, and you don’t have time to sort through them all. Setting up filters for your searches can help you get to the relevant results faster so you can get more applications out there.

Start by filtering job listings by location or remote work opportunities. From there, move on to jobs in your industry that require one or two of your primary skills. If you still have too many listings to handle, consider narrowing it down by education requirements, pay range, and years of previous experience.

(We’ve compiled a list of the 50 Best Job Search Sites to help make the filtering process easier).

7. Set Up Job Alerts

When you’re trying to get back to work after being laid off, you never want to miss a good job opportunity. But more than likely, you aren’t going to be able to sit around all day refreshing search results and sorting through what you’ve already seen. Instead, it’s a good idea to set up job alerts that will let you know when a relevant new listing comes on the market.

Make sure your email address is up to date and set up alerts for jobs that fit the search criteria you used above. You may want to set these alerts up on more than one site so you don’t miss out on an opportunity because one company didn’t list on a specific site. Make sure to follow up on these as soon as possible – in some cases, being the first applicant may work in your favor.

8. Narrow Your Applications

It can be tempting to apply for every single job you can lay hands on. But the truth of the matter is that you don’t need to apply for all the jobs, and doing so can be a big waste of your time. Applying for jobs you don’t want or you aren’t qualified for just consumes time you could spend applying to jobs you might actually take.

Take a look back at the priority list you made after being laid off and rule out any job listings that include your deal breakers or that don’t fit with your top priorities. While you can apply to jobs that you don’t qualify for 100 percent, save these for the end of the day after you’ve submitted applications to the jobs you’re more likely to get. And apply first for the jobs you’re genuinely excited about before moving onto the ones that seem merely tolerable.

9. Stay Organized

When you’re applying to dozens of jobs, it can be difficult to keep all the details straight. You may not remember who you’ve followed up with, which jobs you applied for, and who the hiring manager was for each listing. Once you start going on interviews, you may even have trouble remembering when those appointments are and who you talked to at each.

Set up a calendar and some sort of journal to keep you organized during the job search process. Each time you apply for a new job, jot down a note about it and include the name of the hiring manager and the date you sent in your application. Set reminders in your calendar for when to follow up with different potential employers, as well as for your upcoming interviews.

10. Set SMART Goals After Being Laid Off

In addition to staying organized, you have to stay realistic during your job hunt. It can be easy to go wild and tell yourself you’re going to spend eight hours a day every single day applying for jobs until you get one. But the truth is that this is neither smart, sustainable, nor realistic.

Set SMART goals for yourself during the job hunt process. These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely – for instance, decide how many jobs you want to apply to every day. This goal will be both specific and measurable, it should be something you can reasonably attain every day, and it is both relevant to your goal and timely, given that it’s each day.

11. Do Your Homework

As you start getting interview invitations from different companies, it’s important to prepare for those meetings. Of course, printing out extra copies of your resume to take with you is a good first step. But doing some research on the company you’re interviewing for can help you to stand out from other job candidates.

Research the company and find out what sort of product or service they offer and what their history is. Look up your interviewer’s job position and see if you can find what college they went to on LinkedIn. Casually incorporating this information into conversation during your interview can show your potential employer that you’re interested, engaged and willing to do the leg work to succeed.

12. Dress Well

We probably don’t need to tell you that your first impression during an interview is incredibly important. People do, in fact, judge books by their covers, and you want your cover to look sharp and professional. Wearing a nice outfit to your interview is a great way to show your employers you’re trustworthy, reliable, and invested in this process.

If possible, wear slacks or a skirt and a dress shirt, along with a blazer and dress shoes to your interview. If you don’t have access to these kinds of clothes, a nicer shirt, pants, and shoes will do. You may also be able to get help getting interview clothes from a local charity in your area.

13. Focus on Body Language

While the first impression is important, you also want to make sure you’re giving your employer a good impression throughout the interview. Your body language can make a big difference in how you’re perceived. You want to make sure your body language is open and positive throughout the interview.

Start by practicing good posture – roll your shoulders back and down, lift your chin, and stand up straight. Avoid crossing your arms and legs during the interview, as this can look closed off. Lean forward slightly in your chair to show you’re interested, make eye contact and be sure to smile.

14. Follow Up

Once your interview is over, you may feel like all you have left to do is wait to hear back from the company. But if you really want to get the job, it’s a good idea to follow up with the person who interviewed you. This not only shows that you’re invested in getting this position but also brings you to the forefront of the hiring manager’s mind.

When you get home from the interview, write a quick note or email thanking the interviewer for their time and consideration. Include your contact information in case they have any further questions for you, and let them know you’re excited about the prospect of working with them. If you don’t hear anything back for a week or two after the interview, it may also be appropriate to call and ask if they’ve made a decision and when you can expect to hear back.

Recover From Being Laid Off

Being laid off is hard, but with the right preparation and work, you can get another job relatively quickly. Be sure to set realistic goals for yourself, and do what you can to stay organized. Brush up your resume and cover letter, talk to your network and do everything you can to make a good impression during your interview.
If you’d like to discover more ways to get a job fast, check out the rest of our site at Big Interview. We are a system designed to meet you wherever you are with a proven, step-by-step curriculum. Get started today, ace your interview and win the job!

Pamela Skillings
Pamela is the co-founder of BigInterview and an expert interview coach on a mission to help job seekers get their dream jobs. As an HR authority, she also provides consulting services to companies wishing to streamline their hiring process.

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