Things I’m trying, results I’m seeing, and tricks of the job search trade
Jump to How-To’s for: Laid Off Announcement Post | Calendly link | Create your own webpage | LinkedIn Job Seeker | Apply to Jobs | Using DMs | Social Networking | Handling Rejections | Interview Prep | Show Work |
First thing’s first: how are you doing? If you’re reading this, you’re probably on the job hunt and looking for something – anything – that can help you get hired. Which, let’s be honest, SUCKS. It’s a constant mind f*ck of staying motivated, trying not to get your hopes up too much (except you do), plummeting once you get a rejection or ghosted, and hey let’s keep doing this every day on repeat.
I am with you. Job hunting is like battling a game boss, finally wearing them down to a cut scene that indicates victory (even though your health bar is now a sliver)… except suddenly they are reborn and you get to do it all over again.
But we have to keep at it. As you can tell, I’m a gamer so as I’m unemployed it’s truly tempting to fire up the console and lose myself in hours of Witcher 3. However, to give ourselves the best chance of finding that new place to call home-work, we have to approach our job search as if it’s our new fulltime J-O-B.
What I am doing and trying to find a job
What I’m about to share below is what is working for me (so far; I’ll be updating with more results as I see them). That doesn’t mean it’ll be the perfect or even mediocre playbook for you, but if any of the guidance below helps you at all through the shit show of job searching, we both win. For me, I knew immediately that I needed to treat #RachelForHire like its own job where I get up each morning, get ready for a day which might include video interviews, and plan tasks for each day to accomplish by the time I’m ready to sign off and eat dinner. Thus the playbook below is listed out by Day One, Day Two, and so on.
After getting laid off on January 18, I did what comes naturally to me as a marketer: I planned a campaign. I also did what comes naturally to me personally as a form of therapy: I started creating content.
Now, if you’re reading this neither of these may come naturally to you, and that’s OK. What I hope this blog helps with is to give you some ideas, instruction, and help with your own job search. Whether you do the whole #RachelForHire or something else, do what makes the most sense for you to shoot your shot.
Here’s what my Day One of I Just Got Laid Off looked like. This first day has a lot to it, but if your new full-time job is now finding a new full-time job, here’s how you can get and feel busy with efforts that can lead to real results.
The Announcement Post “I’ve Just Been Laid Off”
Like it or not, layoffs are trending. Not just in business circumstances, but also on the internet, social media, and more importantly in SEO terms. Once you are laid off, and once you’re sure you can go public with the news without jeopardizing how you’re exiting from the company that’s dropping you, that first social media post on any channel is essentially the launch of your own marketing or messaging campaign and your quest to get hired.
As such, you want that first post to have the most immediate impact possible so that people see it, react to it, and reshare it to their networks. There are a few things to consider as you plan that first post to your feed, story, or reel:
- Show yourself. Literally, if you can include a selfie image or video in this first post, you dramatically increase your chances of being seen and shared. Not only are selfies like candy for any social media app, but they also can give a potential interviewer or hiring manager an immediate sense of you. Considering that most interviews occur via video or in-person, you’re moving the process along already by showing your face in your announcement post.
- Lead with the layoff. As mentioned above, layoffs are a hot topic and internet trend. If the first few words tell the reader up front that you just joined this unfortunate club, you’re more likely to have them hooked for the rest of your caption and post. Plus good old SEO will help bring all sorts of eyeballs to your post: hiring managers, recruiters, business leaders, and even journalists.
- Use hiring hashtags. This is pretty easy to include but very easy to forget. Based on which social app you announce on, you can easily check out which hashtags get the most views by searching for them on the app. On LinkedIn, for example, the #OpenToWork hashtag is already featured prominently on the free, optional “OpenToWork” green banner you can apply to your profile image. Other hashtags you may want to include are #NeedAJob, #JobSearch, and/or create your own hashtag that you can use on any of your job-search-related social posts across the platforms.
- Someone else should comment first. LinkedIn’s algorithm – that thing which decides what posts bubble up to the top of your timeline – looks down on posts where the author is the first person commenting. Enlist a buddy or colleague to comment first if no one has commented in the first half hour after you publish the post. If you have supporting links to share, it’s still worth waiting until that first comment to then drop those in your own comment.
- Make your post accessible. Whether you’re planning an image or video, make sure to use the alt text or caption features the app of your choice provides. You want your message to be seen and understood by everyone possible, right? That includes viewers who rely on screen readers or captions to comprehend your message.
- Choose your time wisely. You will want to post after you have all of the official instructions and caveats from your now-former employer. For instance, if you had in mind to publish a scathing perspective about your company, you could jeopardize any severance or additional perks they offer the team members they’re letting go. You will also want to post when the people you most want to see and share are awake and likely checking out the social feeds. For instance, if you really want connections in the United Kingdom to see your post, don’t publish at 6pm U.S. time when those audiences are probably asleep.
- Choose your tone carefully. This is a tough one since you’re naturally having all the legit feels: anger, betrayal, grief, hopelessness (just to name a few). You would like to tell the world exactly what you think and feel. And you should do that… though considering this post may be a potential employer’s first glance at you and what you can bring to their company, seething vitriol and rage may not be what you have in mind if they wind up wanting to interview you. For your true feelings, I recommend using a safe, private community or chat to let loose as needed.
Those are all of my suggestions for how to make this first big reveal count in all the ways that matter. For my primary announcement post, I published to LinkedIn on Wednesday, January 18.
My “I’ve Just Been Laid Off” Post
In the hours after learning I would be laid off, I began to plan this post by asking, “How do I share this news while also demonstrating what I can bring to the next company?”
For me, the answer was fairly simple since my expertise is in marketing and content creation: I would make a short video, along with a relevant caption and hashtags, and post during the best times when my target network would be awake and active on the social app I would post to, LinkedIn.
Using a simple selfie video, CapCut for editing, Giphy and YouTube for pop culture clips, a USB thumb drive with a PowerPoint-created thumbnail that says #RachelForHire, and a good hair/makeup routine, I created this video and accompanying caption and published it on the morning the layoffs at my company were official and after my mandated call with my boss.
And then I let LinkedIn do its thing for most of the day.
Links That Make Things Easy on Hiring Managers
Let’s assume you already have an updated resume as this “just laid off” thing launches. Your contact info is certainly included – a preferred phone number and email address – but you’re not exactly publishing your resume with that announcement social post. Even your LinkedIn profile, while handy to give someone an overview of your experience and capabilities, is not a traditional resume or portfolio. It’s also not an instant way for people to get time with you to talk about an opportunity that’s immediately available.
What you want to do is make things as easy as possible for that hiring manager by providing a few links.
Calendly link for scheduling a chat
You just got laid off. Urgency is the theme of every day you aren’t employed. You’ll be applying to job after job after job after job after — you get it. If you have a way to reduce the amount of back and forth it takes to arrange a time to chat with a hiring manager or recruiter, use it. And that means creating yourself a Calendly event + link.
It’s super simple and free. Simply go to Calendly.com, sign up with an email address, and create an event. You’ll also want to integrate your own online calendar (Google Calendar, Outlook, or iCalendar) with Calendly so new appointments show up automatically on your daily schedule.
Here are ways you can customize your Calendly event to work perfectly with your job searching schedule:
- Account Settings. Here you can upload a photo, set your preferred time zone, and even customize your Calendly URL.
- Event Details. Name your event (“Meeting with <Your Name Here>”), provide a location for each event (Google Meet, Zoom, Phone Call, etc.), and even further customize the scheduling URL with something specific like “30min”.
- Event Times. Specify how far in advance people can schedule time with you, custom hours during each day of the week when this event is available to be booked, padding between events (give yourself time for bio breaks or a breather), and even how many events of that type you want scheduled on the same day.
- Invitee Questions. In addition to the standard Name and Email fields, you can also require people to provide their phone number, the name of their company, and anything else you’d like to know as they request a spot on your calendar.
- Workflows and Notifications. For each time someone uses the link to schedule time on your calendar, you can activate and customize confirmations, reminders, and follow-ups to occur automatically. You can even provide a custom link that people can be directed to before or after their time slot.
Remember, this is all completely free to set up in Calendly. There are certainly premium features you can upgrade to, but I’ve never found the need to for personal scheduling needs. Here is my own #RachelForHire Calendly link which has already come in handy in this first full week of my laid off status.
Also, make sure to add this link to your email signature as well as any links you can add to social media bios.
A #ForHire Webpage Link
You have a resume, you can whip up a cover letter, and you may even have a portfolio ready to share. But what if you had all of that available in one easy link?
Whether you already have your own domain or need to use something like Substack or Medium, you can fairly easily create your own landing page that contains all of the assets and information a hiring manager or recruiter will find helpful.
Things to include on your #YourNameForHire webpage:
- Your resume. You can embed a visual or upload a file of your resume onto the landing page for easy viewing or downloading. You can even sign up for issuu.com and create a page-turning PDF of your resume.
- Your portfolio or samples of work. This is where keeping all the receipts at your prior jobs comes into play (if you haven’t been doing this already, start now). Upload or insert screenshots of stats, results, testimonials, shout-outs, or anything else that demonstrates that you aren’t the only one who knows you’re awesome at what you do.
- Contact info. You really can’t share this enough. Add your preferred number, email, and that lovely Calendly link you just created on the webpage.
Once you have this webpage up and running, add the link to your resume, cover letters, and to any contact links on social apps and bios you need to update now that you’re #OpenToWork. Also add this link to the signature of your dedicated email for your job search.
Engage with Your Announcement Post
Now that your big “hey world, guess what” post has been published for a while, go back to it and make sure you’re reacting and responding to each and every comment. For reshares, go and react to those posts as well and leave a comment to thank the poster.
This is not overkill. By demonstrating responsiveness on your own post, you accomplish a few things: you bring the original commenter back to your post to see what you wrote, which adds another view and increases favor with the algorithm gods; you take the time to show true appreciation for something that is truly important to your livelihood and success; you demonstrate to anyone seeing this post that you’re committed to this effort.
And, of course,
Sign up for LinkedIn Job Seeker’s free trial
LinkedIn has a premium tier that is specifically designed for job seekers, and the benefits are decent considering you can use it for 30 days free (though you’ll need to set a reminder to cancel since they require that you enter a credit card).
- Five (5) free InMails per month. You can use these to message job posters directly whether or not you’re connected.
- View everyone who is looking at your profile. While some users may lurk in private mode, you’ll be able to see if recruiters or hiring managers at companies you’re applying to have checked you out. Use that information to reach out to them as needed.
- See insights into employers. If you’re curious (and you should be) about hiring trends, company growth, and company alumni, you can use this feature to visit Company Pages on LinkedIn and check for any red flags or positive indicators.
- Compare yourself to other applicants. In each LinkedIn job listing, scroll down to see other applicants’ skills, seniority level, location, education, and location.
- “Top Applicant” alerts. As you scroll through jobs, LinkedIn will use your profile information to mark some jobs where you’d be a “top applicant.”
- LinkedIn Learning access. With the free 30-day trial (or more if you wish to subscribe beyond the first month), you get access to courses in LinkedIn. These include interview guidance, resume writing, networking, and skills you want to build for the particular roles you’re searching for.
Apply to Jobs
Welcome to the most tedious part of your job search.
Seeing potential jobs in your #ForHire quest is a mind f&ck no matter how you slice it. For this reason, I’m going to advise you strongly to turn into Terminator (or your favorite sci-fi machine of choice) and approach the job application process as if you manning a conveyor belt at a factory. Try the following approach.
- Prep your materials. Have the following tabs or documents open and ready:
- your resume (editable document),
- a cover letter (editable document),
- ChatGPT tab (AI chatbot waiting for a prompt),
- link to your #ForHire webpage that has any work samples and contact info you’ve included on it
- a document with three (3) of your references and their contact information ready to copy/paste
- Create a filtered search on the job board. Assuming you’re using LinkedIn, you have several ways to narrow down your results to meet your criteria. You can filter by Experience level, Type, Location, Focus area or expertise, Salary, and more.
- Save jobs that meet your basic criteria. Think about your must-haves: location, title, type (full-time, etc.), salary range, industry, etc. Don’t dig any deeper than that just yet; you’re merely narrowing the full search results into a short list you can peruse through and apply to in the next step.
- Apply to or unsave jobs in your short list. One by one, go through each job you have saved and either apply or unsave it based on a deeper look at the role. I recommend that, especially if you’re currently unemployed and really need to land somewhere sooner than later, you stay in that machine mentality and apply to any job that doesn’t include a dealbreaker in the listing. As you apply to jobs, you can get into a pretty regular cadence for churning out these applications:
- Click on Apply or “Easy Apply” (in LinkedIn)
- Easy Apply will keep you in the LinkedIn app and walk you through a few pop-up windows that let you fill in the questions/prompts that the job poster has set up. From the first time you fill these in, LinkedIn will remember your answers and default to those for future “Easy Apply” prompts.
- Apply will take you to the company’s web or job site online to complete your application. This is where those docs and tabs you prepared earlier will come in handy:
- Upload your resume. Use your resume PDF or Word doc to upload into the application when prompted. Most ATS (applicant tracking systems) will parse the information from your resume into the fields of the application form.
- “Write” a cover letter. Go to your ChatGPT tab and type in the following prompt: “write a cover letter for a <job title> role”. The AI writer will generate a pretty damn good cover letter that’s at least 2-3 paragraphs long. You’ll absolutely want to review and tweak as needed, but you won’t have to write the whole thing from scratch. ChatGPT will save each result in your dashboard along the left side, plus – if you’re inclined – you can ask it to write your cover letter in a specific tone or style. I often add “witty” to my prompt to get a less formal result. Once your cover letter is ready, you should be able to either copy/paste it into a form field or paste it into your cover letter document and upload into the form.
- Review/update form fields. Check each field to ensure it’s correctly filled in and update as necessary. You can copy/paste directly from your resume document into these fields if they aren’t parsed in correctly from the upload. Even for optional fields, I recommend that you complete those so you give yourself every advantage as the ATS pre-screens candidates for the humans to look at later.
- ⭐️ Bonus tip: You’ll find that you run into the same form fields as you apply to different jobs. Have an open doc ready where, once you type a response to a prompt like “Why do you want to work for <company name>?”, you can copy/paste that into your own doc to reuse/repurpose when you run into that prompt for another company.
- Answer the demographic questions. This goes without saying, but each application form has a series of questions they are legally required to ask for demographic data. You won’t be able to proceed with the application without responding to these prompts.
- Hit Submit. Send that sucker on its merry way through the process.
- Tell LinkedIn that Yes, you applied. When you go back to your LinkedIn tab, you’ll see that it’s asking you if you applied to the job (because it noticed you left LinkedIn to go to the job poster’s website). Mark “Yes”, and LinkedIn will mark that job as “Applied” in your My Saved Jobs list. Plus, as many times the same job is listed more than once by the job poster for visibility, you’ll have some record that no, you’re not crazy and yes, you did already apply for that role.
- Click on Apply or “Easy Apply” (in LinkedIn)
Whether you did all of the above in the first day or over the course of the first few days of being laid off (and I say this with my whole chest):
Give yourself a break.
I told you earlier to be a Terminator, a machine, as you get your applications going. But the fact is that you are not a machine; you are completely human and as such you cannot be at your best if you don’t take care of yourself. Job searching is a soul-sucking rollercoaster that brings you highs of excitement, lows of rejection, twists of anxiety, and turns of fortune. When you’re pouring so much of yourself into the effort, you need to reclaim your time to refill the glass.
Plan times on your calendar to come away from the laptop and the job boards and the email messages to do something that you love. Whether it’s playing Witcher 3 (that’s my current jam) or baking or crocheting or reading or exercising or running like Phoebe through your local park, taking the breaks you need can make your job search a bit less frenetic than it has to be.
While there are certainly other activities you can and should be trying on Day One of being laid off, this is a great way to get the public effort started. Now on to what’s next…
From here on out, the goal is to keep momentum going on your #YourNameForHire effort by building off of that Day One post. Yet my first directive for this day may be surprising…
Do not search for jobs today
Wait, what? Am I really saying that I shouldn’t be going into every job board I know today and diving into search results and applying like I did on Day One?
That’s exactly what I’m saying, and here’s why. You did a LOT in that first phase of Just Been Laid Off. This next day will entail results from that first day’s work and is likely enough to keep you active with responses, checking out jobs people in your network are referring you to (vs. you finding them in a job search), and even refining your applying process based on things you noticed on Day One.
Also, there’s nothing wrong with giving the job boards a chance to bring in new results as new roles are posted. If you’re checking for new jobs every day (or even more frequently), are you really investing that time wisely? Instead you could just mark “save” on that job and know that in the next day or two you’ll be back in applying mode and that job will be there.
What if I see a job I’m really excited about? Of course, go ahead and apply. Excitement in this search is one of the best aspects of it, and there’s always that strike-while-the-iron-is-hot reality. However, the more you can bucket your efforts into specific days and times, the more you can keep yourself in a healthy headspace of balanced expectation and effort.
Check Your Calendar
By now, you may start seeing that Calendly link or your network generating time slots on your daily calendar that represent next steps in your quest. Just as you would (and probably still do) on any normal day, getting your eyeballs on your schedule for today and the upcoming days should be first on your list.
Stick with one dedicated calendar for your #ForHire efforts.
Ever find yourself trying to find the invitation or meeting link for an interview just two minutes before it’s supposed to start? If you’re like me and wield more than two calendars at a time, there are some tactics you can try to keep all of the details sorted.
- One calendar to rule them all. Use a single Outlook, Google, or Apple calendar for all of your job search related appointments. If you’re using the same email address consistently for your job applications and connections, this should happen naturally as people send you calendar invitations to that email.
- Share other calendars to your job search calendar. If you have a work calendar (this is for if you’re transitioning out of or still working at a job while you search), a family calendar, or any other relevant calendar that tracks your time commitments, you can share those calendar to your job search calendar. This will make any other commitments when you know you aren’t available show up on your job search calendar so you don’t double-book yourself. Also, if you did set up a Calendly link that is connected to your job search calendar, Calendly will be able to avoid letting people book times with you when you’re committed elsewhere.
Set up meetings from emails and DMs.
Even though you may be using that Calendly link and receiving bookings by way of your dedicated job search email, by now you may start seeing people asking in DMs or over email to set up a time for a meeting. Respond to these requests as soon as possible; you can even offer them your Calendly link for their convenience or ask what method they’d prefer to use to set up a time that works for both of you.
(Note: I’ve seen a handful of folks on social media complain about how Calendly links are too impersonal and they prefer to just go back and forth with the person to find availability. I do not get this. Why would I want to do emails back and forth with “oops, I have a doc appointment right then, how about here?” and “bummer, that’s during my performance appraisal, can we make this work?” when I can click a link, pick a time, and merrily get back to what I was doing? Anyway, I guess keep this in mind; it’s why I offer the Calendly link as an option but not the only one.)
Be open to all the meetings.
When you’re laid off, you have a brand new calendar that looks pretty empty. Your goal is to be hired to a new work calendar that is full of cool stuff you’re doing for a great paycheck. As such, I recommend being open to just about any discussion anyone wants to set up with you. Even for jobs where you aren’t sure if they’ll let you work remotely or be exactly what you’re qualified for, that meeting is an opportunity for you to practice interviewing, make a new network connection, and even pick up insights that can help you perfect your job search approach.
Keeping that calendar as busy as possible will also really help you with any feelings of “I feel useless” or “I apparently can’t do anything.” Yes, you can. Yes, you obviously can. Yes, your calendar says you can. You’ve got this.
Publish the “Just Laid Off” Update to a Different Social App
Using the same selfie image or video, publish your announcement to an alternate social app (maybe your next most used app aside from where you posted first). All the same rules apply as with the first post from Day One, except now you’re reaching a somewhat unique audience who may not have seen your news on the other social app.
You also have links ready from Day One to update in your bio and share in this latest post. This is what we marketers like to call “repurposed content” (with some “omnichannel” thrown in for good measure).
Pin or Feature your announcement posts
Just about every social app gives you the option to make one single post you’ve published appear prominently on your profile. For instance, LinkedIn lets you turn a post into a “featured post” that will show up as the top activity when someone visits your profile. Twitter, on the other hand, let’s you pin a tweet that will appear at the top of your timeline of tweets for your profile. Thus your “Just Got Laid Off” posts that tell the world you’re #OpenToWork will now be the first thing visitors see when they check you out on that social app.
Share to a Group or Community
There’s public social feeds and then there are communities. You’re probably in at least one group text, group Slack, group WhatsApp, Facebook Group, or some other focused community of friends, peers, family, or even coworkers (a covert off-the-company group where you talk trash or commiserate). This group may certainly have seen one of your social posts by now, but if you can get a focused collective on your side in your #ForHire search, that’s extra fuel to fire up some results.
Post to just one community today.
Pace yourself here. Your goal is to keep a consistent momentum going for your network to help you find your new gig. Get started with this particular effort in your favorite, closest, or most active group where you engage regularly.
You can decide how you want to share the news. You have links ready, but based on the tone and members of the group, drop your announcement in a way that comes naturally there. Your people will show up and start mobilizing to help you, and that’s when your social posts and handy links will come in… handy.
Dive into DMs
Day One was about putting your announcement into the public sphere. Now that it’s been rolling around in the algorithm a bit (and will continue to indefinitely), you want to start leaning on your social network to give the movement even more gas.
Choose your supporters.
Select 10-20 people who you’re connected to in the social app where you first posted your announcement. And these aren’t just any connections; your criteria for these folks should check a few boxes.
- You’ve engaged with them at least once in the last year, whether on social or via other professional or personal channels.
- They’re at least somewhat active on the social app you’re using to reach out.
- They are not, to your knowledge, in their own personal or professional dilemma (i.e. health issue, financial issue,) that would make your outreach seem insensitive to their own plight.
(Of course, if you know in your mind and heart someone will be receptive to your DM even if they don’t meet these criteria, go for it! You know your network best.)
Send a short message.
For your DM, keep it short, authentic, and direct. Something like this:
Hi <name>, Rachel here. Hope you’re doing well!
I’m reaching out to a few of my connections as I’ve just been laid off and am actively pursuing whatever is next for me. I know you’re busy and my request is a small one: if you can please keep me in mind in case you learn of an opportunity I might be a fit for, I would really appreciate it. Thank you in advance and please let me know if there’s any way I can support you as well.
Have a great rest of your day!
This is where your network can truly shine in support of your quest. You will likely have seen people comment on your announcement post with invitations or ways they can help, but DMs take it to a more personal level where more meaningful activity often happens. You can also attach your resume via a DM to a connection, or participate in a group DM if your connection wants to introduce you to someone else in their network.
Reply to all comments and responses.
This gets its own section because it really does take time and effort and is worth doing as you put your best self forward. Whether it’s a comment on your posts from someone you barely know or a DM reply from someone who wants to do a video interview, giving each person a timely and authentic response can lead to a new opportunity. Being responsive can also be an indicator to anyone watching or reading that you conduct yourself in a job search the same way you would in a professional setting with colleagues and peers.
Honestly, I put a bit more effort into this than others might since I don’t use the same set of responses for everyone. I try to make every reply a bit unique to the person, whether it’s publicly visible or not. If they’re taking a minute or less out of their day to engage with my quest, it’s the least I can do to make them feel appreciated and special for their effort.
OK, enough for Day Two. Time to go play a little Witcher 3 or <fill in the blank with your favorite non-job-hunt activity here>.
Do Your Social Thing
All of the activities I’ve listed thus far have a fix on finding a job. However I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind and remember that standard social networking needs to be on your to-do for every day – whether or not you’re trying to get employed. I’ve referred many times to leaning on your network, and engaging on your social media feeds is a must-do for cultivating your relationships within that network so they can show up for you when you need them (and vice versa).
Scroll the feeds.
I mentioned early on in this super lengthy blog that “layoffs” are trending. They certainly are, and not just because of people posting that they’ve been let go; so many others are posting or resharing opportunities they know about that can help unemployed folks like you and me find our next thing. Additionally, any recruiter who knows their stuff consistently posts about open roles they’re trying to fill, and they know social media has the organic power to get more eyeballs.
Here are the basics of putting your time in – and getting good results – from social media networking:
- Spend 10-20 minutes today, and every day, on your social feeds. This means scrolling down through posts, reacting to any that you find interesting, replying to any where you’d like to add a thought, and resharing if you want to give the post a boost. Don’t force any of this, but do make an effort to not just ghost your way across people’s posts (lurking is what most people do on social). By tapping, typing, or tagging, you’re not only making yourself more visible to your extended network, but you’re also improving your timeline. Each activity, even lingering your eyes on a specific post to read it, tells that social app’s algorithm that you want more content similar to the one that caused you to pause. You’ll find that your timeline scrolling becomes more interesting the more you engage with what’s already there.
- Follow or connect with new folks. Social feeds do a thing now where, if someone you’re already following or connected to engages with a post, you’ll likely see that post show up on your timeline. These are great opportunities to broaden your network: if you find the post or the person interesting after reading their content or checking out their profile, you can follow or request to connect with them. And you just expanded your network!
- If you’re requesting a connection on LinkedIn, use the Add a Note option to send a message along with your connection request. It’s a best practice, and it can instantly let the other person know you aren’t just connecting to sell them something (which is not a best practice).
- Follow hashtags and topics. All social apps support hashtags, which – if you’re new to the concept – is basically a search term that is formatted with a # at the front and let’s you bring all public posts using that search term into a single feed. For instance, if you search for #HiringNow on LinkedIn, you’ll see a slew of public posts that use #HiringNow in their caption. You even have the option to follow the hashtag so those posts will show up in your timeline going forward (without you needing to specifically search for them).
- Post 1-3x per week. This launches us all the way from lurking mode to leading mode… thought leadership, that is. And it’s not hard. Repeat, this is not going to be difficult. When people think “thought leadership” they often default to feeling like they need to write a book, start a course, speak on a panel, blah blah blah. No. Thought leadership is this: if you knowledgeable in a certain area of expertise (e.g. you “lead” in that role through doing), you can drop your informed thoughts about it somewhere people can see them. That’s it. When I tell you to post on social, all you really need to do is use a few questions as prompts and your post is your answer to these questions:
- What’s an observation you’ve made about the nature of your work expertise/field recently?
- Any advice you have that can help people like you and/or your target audience be successful – or at least not fail the first time – at what they do?
- Something amusing you saw or heard that would bring some levity to the timeline?
- Got a colleague or peer or org you want to shout out for more eyeballs or recognition?
- Is there something you’d like to ask your network to see how they answer?
Post to Another Social App*
I included an * on this one since most people who aren’t me typically only frequent 1-2 social apps at most. If you’ve already posted your announcement to two social apps and don’t really have a third one you’re on regularly, you can skip this step.
If you do indeed partake from a 3rd social app, wash-rinse-repeat what you did for Day One and Day Two to continue to get that news rolling out to new audiences (or to remind overlapping audiences that you’re on a mission).
Use an Alternate Job Board
Thus far I’ve highlighted how to use LinkedIn Jobs for your initial swath of job saves and applications. However, LinkedIn is not the only game in town: there are several other job boards, hosted or cultivated, that can give you access to jobs that may not all be posted to LinkedIn or to any single job site. You will certainly recognize some jobs that are present on more than one site, but it’s worth working through these other sites to cover all your bases. (Plus, there are some communities that list job openings only shared internally at companies!)
As you use these alternate job boards, you’ll find they share similar features that can make the Apply for Jobs process I shared from Day One pretty effective. Become that machine for job applying and hammer these out.
List of Job Boards
If you know of more job boards I should add to this list, email me. I’ll get them added for everyone to use!
Help Someone Else
If you haven’t already been giving to get through this process, this is your reminder to start and for a few reasons.
Helping others can uplift your spirit. I don’t know about you, but when I get in a creative or productivity rut and am struggling to go forward, the thing that spurs me back into action every time is seeing someone else who needs help that I can provide. There’s just something about being a help or a solution to another person that triggers those endorphins (probably not remotely scientific, though apparently there’s something to this).
Give to get. Hey, if this is the motivator that gets you to support someone else, that works. Point being that there’s a general principle of reciprocation that if you give to others what you would like to receive, you’re far more likely to get what you’ve given. (Super long way to just say the original three words.) But those you help and support in their time of need, namely a job search, are more inclined to help you now and in the future – especially if your help made a difference.
It’s the right thing to do. Probably should have led with this, but helping others is the right thing to do always. We’re human beings and one of the greatest parts of this world in which we live is when people jump into action for someone else’s benefit. Whether your support is commenting on someone else’s “just laid off” post to give it added reach, reviewing their resume, or introducing them to a hiring manager, you’re adding to that adage that a rising tide raises all boats. (Rising tides freak me out, so if you have an alternate analogy I’ll take it.)
Keep Being Responsive
All of this action and proactivity on your part will result in activity on your posts, in your email, and on your calendar. Keep it all going by responding in a timely and authentic manner to the outreach you’re receiving as people see and respond to your news. (If you need to set up a block of time for this each day, do it; otherwise you can respond as they happen. Just remember to do what works best for your mentality and productivity.)
This is a tough one and relates a bit back to the “be a machine” mantra. Rejection is the thing that can bring any job seeker down, even if you’ve applied to 50+ jobs and get just one “thanks, but no thanks” email.
My advice? As soon as you detect an email is a rejection, delete it. Send that message directly to email jail. Right now, your focus is on getting your foot into doors to land an initial phone screen or interview. The more time and emotion you put into regret or wondering why that particular company didn’t want to move forward, the less energy and motivation you’ll have for the companies who will want to meet you because you look great for their role.
Exceptions. If you get an email from an actual person rather than a no-reply address, I recommend sending a reply that acknowledges you received the email and asks the sender to keep you in mind for any other opportunities. To help keep this from being in your headspace too much, create a template response so you just have to drop it into your reply draft and hit send.
Now that you’ve worked for a full three days into your #ForHire quest after being laid off, it’s time to look to what’s inevitably (yes, I said inevitably!) going to happen next: interviews!
While all of this other activity from Days One through Three continue generating activity, you should prepare for when you get to discuss yourself and the role you’re hoping to land with a recruiter or hiring manager. Here are the things to work on and have at the ready:
Share to a Different Community
Select a chat group, Slack, Discord, Group, or group text you didn’t tap into yesterday and drop your announcement. As before, refer to your published social posts and any other links you’ve created to make it easy for your community to share the news to their own networks.
Prepare Interview Questions & Responses
Being in an interview is like answering a verbal pop quiz: the person across from you lobs questions about your experience, your personality, and your achievements, and you need to answer immediately and clearly. And what if you have 10+ years of experience? Plucking snippets and circumstances from the past several years is a tall order, even if you have a really robust resume to refer to.
Just like we did with the applying process, let’s line up some ready-to-go verbiage for those interviews.
Create a doc for reference.
- Open a new document and save it somewhere easy to grab and easy to find.
- Create a heading for a specific interview question. Let’s say you want to have a ready answer for the question, “Share about a business result you helped support through a prior role.” Your heading can say “Supported business result.” In just about any online or app document, you can turn text into a heading by selecting the style in the menu bar.
- Type a response. Below that heading, in normal text, type up whatever will help you recall and share specifics that answer the question for the interviewer. You won’t want to read the response directly from this document, because that would sound too scripted. Instead, try bullet points that can help prompt you in the moment what you should share verbally.
- Use document outline for quick navigation. This is why I had you make a headline out of that basic topic. When you toggle on the document outline view, you’ll be able to see and jump to specific topics you have responses for. Since you’re providing these answers in real time, being able to rapidly refer to great examples of your experience will be better than a lengthy, awkward pause as you try to recollect what you’ve achieved.
Prepare questions for the interviewer.
In the same document you created above, make a section for questions you want to ask about the company, the role, and the people. This is a must-do, as interviewers and hiring managers often think that the applicant’s failure to ask any questions indicates a lack of interest or intent on their part.
If you’re wondering what questions you should ask, here are a few to get you started:
- What actions or investments does this company do to foster a positive employee culture?
- Can you give me an example of your company’s commitment to work/life balance?
- What is one thing or pain point you hope this role will solve once they’re hired?
- Is this a new role or an existing one that is being filled?
- Once the person you hire has been in place for 90 days, what would you expect they should have achieved or demonstrated by that time?
- What is the economic outlook for this company? Do you have a report I can look at?
- Does your company prioritize DEI and can you provide data points to support that commitment?
- How will I be able to grow and progress in my career at your company?
Prepare to Show Off
Your resume is a super brief glimpse into all that you bring to a future role. The reason we participate in job interviews is to give the hiring managers and colleagues a better idea of how our prior experience will contribute to their future success.
Having samples of work or a portfolio is a great way to add to the story of what you offer as a new team member. However, especially if you work in a field that isn’t given to a ton of visuals or easy-to-understand concepts that would indicate success, showing off your achievements can be difficult. This is why I think everyone, at whatever stage of job searching or job staying they’re in, should create and maintain a slide deck that showcases your successes.
Set up your “Success Deck.”
- Create an online slide deck. Google Slides is free with your Gmail account; PowerPoint requires a Microsoft Office license. You can also use a free version of Canva that has beautiful templates and can be presented easily as slides.
- Create a slide for each prior role. Start small by using one slide for each prior employer. On that slide, use a simple text tool to bullet out what you recall accomplishing there. If you happened to keep “receipts” or screenshots and data that represents your work at that time, add or upload them into this slide (it’s OK to make this a dumping ground for now).
- Focus on each bullet and expand if needed. Zero in on each success you’ve listed on the prior company’s slide. Can you expound on what happened? Is there more story to tell? Does that item deserve its own slide, or could you combine it with another bullet that deserve their own slide? If so, duplicate the original slide to make a unique slide focused on those items only.
- Add and organize visuals. Your screenshots, testimonials, or data points you saved over the years can certainly be added here. But take it a bit farther… are there emojis, clipart, or icons you can add that help give a quick impression? Even simple up arrows or dollar signs can add a lot to the slide.
- Less noise, more notes. Slides with a tonnage of text or jumbled visuals look messy and can immediately turn off the viewer. Instead, go for simple and clean on the slide itself: a main point or two, a visual, and then in the notes section type out what you’ll talk about as you show this slide to others.
Now that we’re at the one-week-after mark, you’ve got a nice little engine of job searching going. While many activities will be things you can maintain, you can also circle back to refresh or renew efforts you already started.
Revisit Job Boards & Searches
About every 2-3 days, set aside time to go back to job boards you worked on and check the new jobs that have been listed. Follow the same process of searching, saving, and applying to jobs to keep getting your resume into the atmosphere of hiring managers and recruiters. If you find that you need to adjust your criteria for which jobs you save and apply to, continue to improve on your approach.
Update Your Network
As you make progress and get results, keep your network of social followers, community members, and recruiters updated. No, you won’t be bugging them with anything that isn’t a “I just accepted a new role” post; once people dedicate even a small amount of time to helping you, learning that they’ve made a difference will be a nice reminder of your connection. Plus, as you begin interviewing for multiple jobs, you’ll want to keep those recruiters or hiring managers appraised of the irons you have in the fire so they can decide if they’d like to try a little harder to recruit you.
Keep the Momentum Going
- Keep up the social networking activity.
- Continue to drop your news into communities where you participate.
- Stay responsive to new comments, DMs, and emails.
- Refine your interview responses, questions, and work showcases.
I created a simple Google Doc checklist that you can save to your own Google Drive and use for each day and week of your job search until you find your next thing. I hope that, and this long ass blog listing all the things I’ve been trying, is helpful. Let me know in the comments below, plus if you have suggestions let’s hear those as well. Good luck in your #ForHire search!