If you’ve recently lost your job, you’re not alone. And please know that there’s nothing to be ashamed of. We recently posted about several things you can do after you’ve been laid off, and one of the key takeaways is that getting laid off is not the stigma many people think it is.
Another takeaway from that post was that this is a great time to up your professional networking game. We’re going to expand upon that here. There’s more than one way to activate your professional network in the wake of a layoff – even when physical networking events are off the table thanks to the pesky little global pandemic we’re all dealing with.
Lots of talented, recently laid-off professionals are working with Betts to find their next opportunity. Get in touch and be one of them.
Here are some things you can do.
1. Pull out the old Rolodex
It’s the digital era, and keeping in touch has never been easier. Take a moment to take stock of the people in your professional network. You may find your network is bigger than you realize. These people can be old managers, colleagues, or people you met at a professional networking event and have never actually worked with. It doesn’t matter if you know them from the last company you worked at, or from years ago at your first job. As long as you were on good terms last time you spoke, professional connections don’t really expire.
“Take a moment to take stock of the people in your professional network. It doesn’t matter if you know them from the last company you worked at, or from years ago at your first job. As long as you were on good terms last time you spoke, professional connections don’t really expire.”
So where can you find these people? The obvious answer is your LinkedIn connections list. But there are probably valuable connections lying dormant in other places as well. We’d wager there are more business cards in your wallet, and numbers in your phone, than you realize. You may find solid people there, too.
2. Start reaching out!
Once you know who you want to reach out to, start thinking about what that outreach should look like. After getting laid off, your instinct may be to hard-sell yourself as a candidate for any jobs they might have or know about. You may feel scared, and want to scream “I need a job!” in your first post-layoff email to an old connection. But you’d be wise to rethink this approach – at least at first. Start slow, and make it about them. Ask your connections what they’re up to, and how they’re dealing with the craziness (after all, the current economic situation is affecting pretty much all of us).
“You may not even need to be aggressive in order to find a new job through a professional connection. They’ll appreciate just that you took the initiative to reach out. Then, if they do have a role they’re looking to fill, this good will can put you on the top of their list.”
There’s nothing wrong with eventually making it known that you’re on the job market, as long as you’re tactful about it. And you may not even need to be aggressive in order to find a new job through a professional connection. They’ll appreciate just that you took the initiative to reach out. Then, if they do have a role they’re looking to fill, this good will can put you on the top of their list.
3. Think outside the box
There are more ways forward than immediately replacing one nine-to-five with another. Are you a copywriter or designer? There might be lots of people in your professional network who need a freelancer, or who know someone who does. Are you a more senior professional with some real expertise under your belt? There are lots of companies right now who could use a consultant to advise them on the best way forward through today’s uncertainty.
Be open to providing these services. Promote yourself to your professional network not just as someone in the market for a full-time job, but as a resource for contract work as well.
4. Make your mark in online professional networking circles
Don’t forget: LinkedIn isn’t just a place to find job opportunities. It’s also a place to build your professional brand. If you’ve got a unique perspective – and you probably do, if you think about it – about the state of your industry or profession or even the economy in general, start making your voice heard. Write articles. Post relevant news items and add your own commentary. Solicit comments, and add lots of your own comments to other people’s posts. Jump into the fray!
“Social selling isn’t just a technique you can use to pitch software. You can also use it to sell your own value as a candidate for a new role or freelance project.”
After all, social selling isn’t just a technique you can use to pitch software. You can also use it to sell your own value as a candidate for a new role or freelance project. The conversations you have on LinkedIn are a great starting point that can lead to these opportunities.
You don’t have to see your professional networking opportunities dry up after getting laid off. To the contrary, now is a better time than ever to dust off your contacts and your networking chops and get back out there.