Laid Off and Out of Ideas — How to Get Back in the Game

November 2020
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I recently participated as a guest speaker in a stimulating virtual career chat with the PRSA Orlando Chapter, and one of the questions posed to me during the conversation got me thinking. What should you do if you’ve been laid off during this COVID-19 era, have sent out numerous applications and you’re just running out of ideas? 

Don’t give up. Let’s review some ways to get back in the game with your job search!

It’s time to recalibrate. Looking for work can be incredibly difficult, especially if you have sent out dozens, or even hundreds, of applications, and are still seeing very little traction. 

If this is you, then it’s time to start from scratch. Think about your process so far. If you have not gotten any requests for even a preliminary phone or video interview, then you might need to revise your résumé, rebrand your social media presence and be a bit more strategic about your process overall. 

Refresh your materials, and pay attention to your personal brand. 

Writing a résumé can be hard, whether you’re a PR professional or not. Even so, having one that reflects your experience and accomplishments in a concise and easy-to-consume manner is critical. Rewrite your résumé, revamp your website and clean up your social media presence. 

Keep in mind the news you read and share, the blogs that you write and the publicly viewable subject matter that is most compelling to you — all of these things are part of who you are. Ensure that your personal online brand is cohesive and accurately displays your interests and talents to potential employers. 

Read job descriptions carefully, and cast a smaller, tactical net. 

Make sure that you are qualified for the roles you are applying for, and be certain that your résumé reflects what a company is looking for in terms of skills and experience. Have more than one version of your résumé available if you’re looking into more than one prospective career path. If you send in an application for every single job posted with a certain company, then, chances are, you’re off target for at least 90 percent of them. 

This tactic can also be perceived as a red flag to potential employers. Be mindful and thorough.

Strategically tap your network. 

See who you may know that currently works for the organizations that you are interested in applying to and, if it makes sense, then ask for a referral or an introduction to the hiring manager or recruiter in charge of the role. Perhaps someone you know used to work for the firm and might be willing to offer some advice on how to best apply and position yourself. 

You should also see what opportunities for networking are available in organizations that you’re affiliated with, such as the PRSA. Reach out to your professors and career service centers, as well as your former bosses, colleagues and peers. 

Log your outreach attempts. 

Keep a spreadsheet of the roles you’re interested in and log the date of your application. If you submit a follow-up, or you attempt to network with the hiring manager or recruiter for a listed position, then make a note of the date of that outreach, too. 

Without being too aggressive, smart follow-up strategies may help when it comes to getting noticed by an employer. Keep it strategic and pivot where, and when, it may be necessary.    

Approaching your job search with a fresh outlook may be just the trick to gaining some traction. When frustration begins to creep in, talk about it with a trusted friend or peer, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

As I have said before, remember that you are unique and valuable, and you bring something special to the table. Keep pushing ahead, and good luck! 

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