It was a Monday evening. I was sitting at my parent’s home, enjoying my vacation.
My colleague sent me a WhatsApp message. It read – “Adarsh, I got laid off.”
Before I could respond, I get another message from my team member mentioning that she too was laid off.
I wanted to know what was happening. I tried to log in to my office email.
“Email not found” message greeted me.
Next, I tried our office communication software, Slack.
Called the HR, no response.
I started panicking.
After some time, the HR called and informed me that the company has decided to close the entire business division. As a result, they are laying off everyone, including me.
Whenever I read about company layoffs, it was just a news item for me. Only after I experienced a layoff did I understand the true impact.
Thankfully, since I had an emergency fund and a supporting family, getting through this phase was not very difficult.
But that might not always be the case. We should always be prepared for a layoff. Here’s how.
#1: Have an emergency fund
I can’t stress this enough. Keep 6-12 months of living expenses in an emergency fund to tide over such unforeseen situations.
While you should actively look for a job after a layoff, having a financial cushion will help you stay calm and focused.
If you don’t have a financial backup, it’s likely that undress pressure, you might end up choosing the first job that comes your way; Even if the job is not something you might enjoy.
While you might think that some job is better than nothing, over the long term, it might negatively impact your career.
An emergency fund gives you the flexibility to spend time looking for the right job opportunity.
Note: Once you land a job, over time bring up your emergency fund balance back to 6-12 months of living expenses.
#2: Always be looking
It doesn’t matter if you are comfortable in your existing job. You should always be passively looking for better opportunities.
No, I do not recommend that you jump companies every month. Instead, keep an eye out for exciting opportunities.
If someone approaches you with an opportunity, speak with the hiring manager to understand what they find interesting in your profile.
Keep the relationship warm with recruiters. If you are not interested in an opportunity presented to you, refer your friends who might fit the requirement.
Pro Tip: The easiest way to help out a recruiter is using LinkedIn. Post the requirements on your LinkedIn feed so that others in your network might benefit.
#3: Expand your network
Most of the senior level jobs get fulfilled through referrals. So it’s essential that you have an extensive network to tap into when looking for career opportunities.
Expand your network by attending local meetups, events, and LinkedIn.
Remember that your network is a win-win proposition. If you are part of a network, you should be willing to help others in the network.
Pro Tip: If you are not the networking type, consider taking an MBA. A premier MBA program often comes with a vast alumni network which you can tap into.
#4: Keep upskilling
If you are in a private job, you are competing with three segments:
- Freshers who are willing to work for a low salary
- Experienced people who are highly skilled
- Software that can potentially automate some or all parts of your work
It’s crucial that you keep upskilling to ensure that your skill set is valuable to your company.
You don’t have to take up expensive certification courses or full-time programs. Identify skills you can expand into and look for free courseware online.
Companies like Udemy and Lynda have an extensive range of courses which you can subscribe to for a small one-time fee.
#5: Don’t hesitate to spend money on a premium subscription
When you apply to a job, you need to stand out.
One of the things you can do is to subscribe to premium offerings from job platforms like LinkedIn or IIMJobs. While a premium subscription does not guarantee jobs, they at least help you stand out.
You should also consider spending some money to get a professional review/rewrite of your resume. As someone who has recruited a lot of people, I can tell you that a visually different resume, stands out and grabs attention.
Pro Tip: Use a free tool like Canva to design a one-page visual resume.
One more thing…
The hardest part of a layoff is not getting a new job; it’s dealing with our emotions.
We are most vulnerable when we are emotionally weak. This is also the time when we tend to make several mistakes. The most common mistake being, out of desperation, accepting the first job we get.
Take this opportunity to reflect on your professional career. Take a small break and do things you have always wanted to, but did not have time for it.
Read a book, go for a short trip, startup, or spend some quality time with your family. Indulge in the experiences that define who we are.
Over To You
Have you been laid off? How did you cope with it? Share with us via the comment section below.
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