Over 200,000 people have been laid off from tech companies in the last year. Dozens of major tech companies have fired thousands of employees, including Amazon (18,000), Meta (11,000), Microsoft (10,000), Salesforce (8,000), and Twitter (4,000). Smaller tech companies followed suit, and now, thousands of people are looking for new jobs.
If you’re a salesperson affected by these layoffs, you’re probably scared of what the future will look like for you career-wise. And that’s okay. Despite how dreadful and anxiety-inducing layoffs are, there are steps you can take to move forward and revive your career.
In this article, you’ll get some tips from peers who’ve been laid off in the past on how to rebound your career after a layoff.
Rebounding After a Layoff
1. Take care of your mental health and well-being.
Losing your job unexpectedly can be traumatic. Not only is there a loss of income, but getting laid off also comes with a loss of identity (within your career), a feeling of not being good enough, and fear of what to do next.
If you feel angry, resentful, and hurt, that’s okay. If you feel anxious and depressed, that’s normal and valid, too. And that’s why it’s not a good idea to jump into looking for a job right away. Instead, take a few days to process your emotions and take care of your mental health.
Will Yang, the head of growth at Instrumental, knows how important this is.
“In the immediate aftermath of being laid off, it’s easy to feel like you have all the time in the world to deal with your emotions, but you don’t,” Yang says. “You’re still running on adrenaline and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be so focused on finding a new job that it won’t hit you until later that this is actually a really traumatic event. So take some time every day — even if it’s just 10 minutes — to do something for yourself. It could be as simple as getting outside and walking around the block or going for a run at lunchtime; whatever works for you.”
2. Negotiate your severance package.
Mark Woodbury, a co-founder at Minerva Equity, was a laid-off salesperson a couple of years back, and he says that negotiating his severance package helped him bounce back in his career.
“What most laid-off employees don’t realize is that employers are likely willing to negotiate as a gesture of goodwill, especially if you’ve been an asset to the company. For example, you can ask if they can add a couple more weeks of salary to the package or if they can extend your benefits,” he says.
What you ask for, however, depends on how many people the company is laying off and how long you’ve worked there.
For example, if you work for a large company laying off 25% of its workforce, you might be unable to negotiate. They’ve likely streamlined the severance packages to suit everyone they’re letting go. But if the layoff happens at a 50-person company, there’ll likely be more wiggle room.
So if you’re offered a severance package of six weeks’ salary, you could ask for eight weeks instead. You could also ask if they could extend your benefits or help you get a new job through retraining or counseling. You could even negotiate a shift in roles if you were part of an ongoing project at the time of the layoff.
In Woodbury’s words, doing this will help you handle a big chunk of worry from being laid off and allow you to transition better.
3. Polish your resume.
When you feel more mentally and emotionally stable, you can start looking for a job. But don’t jump straight into sending application letters. Focus on polishing your resume first.
Think about what you want for your career and the kind of role that will help you get there. Then, refine your resume to include skills that reflect just how competent and qualified you are for that role.
After he was laid off from his previous sales job, the CMO of Freelance Writing Jobs, Milo Cruz, took a year to build his career brand. But first, he brushed up his resume to attract better opportunities.
“Create a result- or skills-based resume and emphasize your achievements with your old employers,” says Cruz. “If you previously received the best sales employee award, include it in your resume and all other accomplishments that contribute to the company’s success.”
On building a career brand, Cruz advises, “Display a genuine and compelling persona in your career brand by listing all your soft skills, values, and relevant experiences. That way, it will be easier for future employers to recognize your worth as a reliable salesperson, which ultimately convinces them to hire you and offer you one more shot in the sales industry.”
4. Leverage your business network.
Once you’ve fixed up your resume and are ready to job hunt, talk to people in your business network — including former colleagues and bosses — and let them know you’re available for a new opportunity. This way, they’ll watch for job postings that might be a great fit for you.
You could also use LinkedIn to find new opportunities — and build a solid network if you haven’t already. With over 850 million members and 57 million companies worldwide, LinkedIn is a goldmine for business professionals in terms of job opportunities and access to other professionals. The platform can also serve as your virtual resume.
“Use online platforms such as LinkedIn or Twitter to connect with industry contacts who might have insights into potential job opportunities,” says Lisa Dietrich, a partner at Girokonto.io. “Don’t forget the power of face-to-face networking either. Attending industry events or trade shows can be beneficial in helping you land a new role quicker…”
To increase your chances of getting a job through LinkedIn, do the following:
- Update your profile to ensure that all information is relevant and up-to-date.
- Craft a comprehensive “About” section about your abilities, expertise, and achievements in your last role.
- Connect and interact with others in your industry or desired roles/companies.
- Publish posts that display your industry expertise.
- Set your profile as “Open to Work” so hiring managers and recruiters can find you and reach out with open roles.
- Publish a post that lets people know you’ve been laid off and are open to new opportunities. The response you get may surprise you.
5. Keep your skills up-to-date.
It’s easy to get absorbed with crafting cover letters and filling out job applications right after you’re laid off. However, you should take some time to keep your skills up-to-date and learn new things that can give you an edge in your job search.
Riva Jeane May Caburog, a PR/media coordinator at Nadrich & Cohen Accident Injury Lawyers, used to work as a sales specialist for an ecommerce brand. But when the business had to cut down on its operational and labor costs, her employer laid her off.
After finding it difficult to get a new sales job, she decided to upskill. “I took courses related to public relations, a discipline that complements well with sales,” Caburog recounts. “That was the best decision I made because my newly-acquired expertise in PR helped me land a job in a law firm. Now, I am trusted to craft effective strategies for the firm’s sales team, which allows me to use my previous experience while earning more.”
Garrett Smith, the head of local SEO at GMB Gorilla, echoes Caburog’s sentiments.
Speaking from his experience of being laid off from his sales job, Smith says, “Take this opportunity to gain experience and skills for a different industry you’ve been wanting to pursue. Not only will this make you attractive to employers, but it will also give you confidence and momentum in what can otherwise be a discouraging situation.”
6. Invest in a career coach.
Working with a career coach who has tons of experience in the sales industry can help you in your search for a new, better-paying job. Not only do they bring their knowledge to the table, but they also bring their business network to help you find job opportunities.
Allan Stolc, the founder and CEO of Bankly, used to handle a sales team in a medium-sized tech company before he was laid off due to the pandemic. In 2020, he was able to bounce back and start his own fintech business with the help of a career coach.
“If you’re struggling to get back to sales, a career coach with decades of experience in the industry can provide you with the right tools, valuable insights, and reliable resources,” says Stolc. “You don’t need to exert time and effort researching what’s best for you because you’ll be presented with all the available options based on what suits your personality, as objectively assessed by your chosen career coach.”
Career coaches are worth your money because they make you a better salesperson. And if you choose a well-connected coach, they’ll refer you to companies they have affiliations with and vouch for you.
If you plan to start your own business like Allan Stolc, career coaching helps you learn important business management skills that’ll come in handy when you launch.
7. Try freelancing.
If you don’t want to get a full-time job right after the layoff, you can go the freelancing route. Lisa Dietrich of Gironkonto.io recommends it.
“Doing some freelance work may not only help tide you over financially until you find something more permanent, but it could also open up further employment opportunities as it will help broaden your skill set and add more diverse experience to your CV.,” she says.
And she’s right. Freelancing allows you to earn some money and improve your portfolio of work done for clients. It can also boost your experience level and make potential employers see you as competent, capable of working alone and with a team.
Adrienne Couch, a human resources analyst at LLC.Services, also likes the idea of freelancing.
“The job market is constantly changing, and it’s important to be open-minded about different types of work arrangements,” says Couch. “The gig economy is growing, and more and more companies are hiring independent contractors and freelancers, so don’t limit yourself to just traditional job openings.”
8. Stay positive.
As you learn new skills and apply for jobs, you’ll get interview offers. When you do, go into the interviews with a positive mindset. Sure, some interviews might go the way you expect, but you have to move forward and keep trying till you get one.
Cole Gordon, sales trainer and founder of Closers.io, knows how important it is to be positive when searching for new jobs.
“The job search process can be frustrating, but it’s important to stay positive. Remember that rejection is just a part of the process, and that you’ll land a new sales gig eventually. Stay motivated and continue to put yourself out there.”
If you’re finding it difficult to stay positive, consider taking a break from job hunting to spend quality time with loved ones and do things that make you happy.
Be gracious to yourself after a layoff.
After getting laid off, the most important thing to remember as you look for another job is to be kind to yourself. Try not to spend all your time wondering where you went wrong or what you could have done better. The truth is: many layoffs are not personal. So you can be excellent at your job and still get laid off.
During your free time, try to do things that will nourish your spirit and keep you happy. Hang out with friends, eat well, exercise, engage in hobbies, and have fun. In the future, you’ll be happy you did.