How to Move Forward After a Layoff

Lola Oguntokun
7 min readJun 14, 2023

This year has seen around a quarter of a million people being laid off in the Tech space alone. I’ve said this before, I don’t see this trend coming to an end any time soon. I talk more specifically about layoffs in a previous article, ‘When the Bubble Bursts: The Layoffs of 2022’. You can find out more there about my opinion on these layoffs, what is happening, etc.

In this particular article, I want to focus more on the people being impacted by these layoffs. This is particularly rough ride for them. Not only are you having to come to terms with being made redundant but because this is now so common you have company… and yeah, there may be some comfort in that but… you have a lot of company.

If you’re in this position, this article is for you. Here are 6 tips to help you move forward after being made redundant.

1) Take a break

You may be tempted to start looking for a role straight away, don’t do it. Looking for a job before you’ve had the chance to process the shock of the layoff may extend the time it takes you to find something new, and could actually do more damage!

As with any traumatic event, you need time to decompress and deconstruct everything that has taken place. The experience will have likely caused a lot of stress and exhaustion. At such times, it’s best to rest, recuperate, re-energise and gain an objective perspective of what has happened. Basically, you need a hard reset.

If you start applying for roles straight away, the trauma you’ve experienced …. and yes, being laid off is traumatic… the trauma you’ve experienced is still heavy and present and it will impact your job search approach and success. You’ll make desperate and scatty decisions, you’ll perform interviews in a hasty and distant manner, which effectively leads to you not getting an interview or not performing well in interviews, and your confidence then takes more knocks. We don’t want that, so take a break, even if it’s 2 days doing nothing. Take a break.

2) Acclimatise

So ideally, this break we’ve just mentioned will be a minimum of 1 week. If you can afford to wait longer, do that. Use this time to understand what you want to do next and the lay of the land when it comes to the job market.

At the moment, for instance, due to the huge amount of layoffs across many industries, this is an employer-driven market, it is no longer a candidate-driven market.

In case you’re wondering the difference between the two. A candidate-driven market is a job market where candidates drive the market. For instance, there are many roles, and not enough candidates, and this means candidates are able to dictate their value. An employer-driven market is a job market where companies that are hiring have their pick because there are so many candidates in the market. In this scenario, the employer dictates the market and value of candidates.

At this point in time, there are more candidates than usual in the market looking for work. What does this mean for you? Competition is higher than usual, and naturally, this means, the decision-making of companies that are hiring is far more subjective or fickle than usual. This ultimately means it may take longer than you’re used to to find the right opportunity. I’m flagging this because it is very important that you understand, that this is a reflection of the market and not you. Please bear this in mind when job hunting.

3) Network

Network and connect with people. Don’t be afraid to let your LinkedIn network know you are looking for something new… what do you have to lose? This is so common now, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. When sharing that you’re looking for something new, be clear about the type of opportunities you’re looking for.

Reconnect with ex-colleagues to find out if they have anything in their current organisation or if they know anyone else or any other companies that may be hiring.

Leverage your network…. and don’t be afraid to approach people you come across and don’t know. I won’t go into too much detail on approaching people on LinkedIn because I’ve covered this in another article. For more details, please check out ‘How to Approach People on LinkedIn’.

4) Prepare & Research

I remember when the pandemic hit, and we had a huge wave a layoffs, the company I was working for at the time was one of the few companies still recruiting. We were not short of candidates to speak to. However, I saw something had changed in the way candidates were approaching the interviews. It felt like they were just looking for a job, any job. It was so obvious because they didn’t care enough to research the company, they knew nothing about us nor did they bother to spend any time looking into the responsibilities and requirements of the role. There was one occasion where someone was literally making up the details of the role… and it was completely wrong.

During this period, most times, the answers given in interviews were so generic, they could have been for just about any job for any company. Honestly. And I still see a lot of this to date.

Now, I know looking for a job can be a job in itself, and it can be exhausting. Especially, when you have the pressures of needing to earn money to pay your bills and look after your family. But if you’re putting in the effort to apply, you may as well put in the effort to apply properly and to prepare for the interview. Not putting in the fundamental groundwork leads to a disappointing outcome, which you ideally want to limit as best as you can at this time. Not only because you want to be offered a job, but so you do not become disheartened by continued rejection or things not working out.

For anyone job seeking at the moment, as a minimum, you have to prepare and do your research. The market is too competitive for shortcuts.

5) Seek External Validation

This is the one time I would encourage this! 😄 I feel it’s always important to get someone else to look over your CV. You can review your own CV a trillion times and think it’s the best thing since sliced bread, then you hand it over to someone who notices all the basic mistakes on your CV that your mind ignored because it knows your intention. Getting this outside perspective is so important, because it is objective. The person doesn’t need to know or understand your role or industry, a recruiter rarely does, but your CV should be digestible and it should educate the reader about you as a professional. So get fresh eyes on your CV!

Also, try to do mock interviews with someone, and get feedback on how you’re delivering your answers. Are your answers making sense? Are you answering the questions at all? Are your answers succinct enough or do you waffle? This exercise helps you build your interview skills and ability to communicate confidently about yourself.

6) Persevere

As mentioned many times throughout this article, this is a highly competitive market, which means you cannot let negative outcomes effect you. This is just the nature of the job market now, you will likely receive more Nos than Yeses. Again, this is not a reflection of you. Learn what you can from the experience to be better prepared for the next, shake it off (and I mean this literally, I’ve heard this works!), and keep pushing forward. Be persistent, be consistent and persevere.

I wish anyone looking for work right now the best of luck, I truly do.

If you need help with any of these elements, please reach out to me, my consulting services supports people with all the areas covered above. You can reach me on LinkedIn or email me, lola@ahumanperspective.com.

--

--

Lola Oguntokun

I help build, shape and champion innovative companies and culture.