How to Find a Tech Job After Getting Laid Off
Updated on April 21, 2023
If you’ve been affected by one of the recent waves of tech layoffs, you might be wondering where to turn next. Jobs in the tech sector have historically been stable, and many people pursue careers in tech for that very reason.
As the US economy slows and a recession looms, layoffs from all industries are likely to increase. But that doesn’t mean you should panic. Here’s some advice for getting a cloud or IT job.
Table of contents
What to do if you get laid off
1. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile
Once the initial shock of losing your job subsides, start by updating your resume and LinkedIn profile. Be sure to highlight any big wins or projects you were part of at your most recent job, and set your LinkedIn profile to #OpenToWork to let recruiters know you’re back on the market.
List any additional skills you developed or certifications you earned between now and the last time you updated your information. If you haven’t already, set job alerts on LinkedIn to get notifications about new openings, and start updating your profile on other job sites like Indeed and Glassdoor.
If you feel comfortable doing so, write a LinkedIn post announcing you’ve been let go. This isn’t an attempt to generate sympathy but a signal to your friends and colleagues that you need their help with referrals. You’ll reach an even wider audience if you incorporate hashtags like #techlayoffs and #layoffs.
2. Calculate your personal runway
Just as a startup must stay mindful of its runway to stay in business, it’s a good idea to do the same with your personal finances. If you feel uneasy about your finances, make a budget and calculate how long you can afford to live off your savings. Severance pay helps offset some loss of income, but it goes quickly.
This isn’t just a matter of ensuring you keep a roof over your head, though that’s certainly a priority. It also gives you a better sense of how soon you need to find a new opportunity. If you discover you have more time than you thought, you won’t feel as pressured to take the first job opportunity that comes your way.
If you’re living in the US on a work visa, be sure you understand your legal standing. For example, if you got an H-1B visa through your now-previous employer, you might have a certain window of time to find a new job before your visa expires. If you’re unsure about your visa status, consider hiring an immigration attorney.
3. See if your employer will help with training
Amid the economic turmoil of 2020, many companies had to furlough or lay off employees. Some companies handled this better than others, with at least one company taking an extra step to help tech employees land on their feet.
“We taught our tech specialists how to outsource jobs, create online employment, and retain side hustles before laying them off,” says Camila Henderson, co-founder of FastPaydayLoans in the UK. “Most found jobs by advertising their projects from our organization. Others were outsourced as remote specialists from recommendations, eventually sustaining their enterprises.”
Even though Camila found herself in the difficult position of having to reduce her workforce, she and her team tried to make the best of a bad situation by training tech specialists on how to use Twitter, LinkedIn, and freelancing sites to find work.
Time permitting, ask your employer if they can offer similar training. If freelancing doesn’t sound appealing, some employers might be willing to help you find a new job by tapping into their professional networks and offering recommendations.
4. Tap into your professional network
According to a Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report, 79% of organizations offer employee referral programs, with 48% seeing higher participation in these programs in the last year. That’s good news considering referred applicants are much more likely to get the job than applicants who apply through a job site.
After losing his job in a recent wave of tech layoffs, Umair Syed used a referral strategy to help him get a job as the IT and Infrastructure Manager at WellPCB.
“Contact individuals who work at the business you want to work for and gently request a recommendation for an open position,” Umair says. “You might even ask if they have any job positions that aren’t publicly advertised.”
Of course, this strategy works best if you already know the person.
“If you’ve already engaged with them by making and sharing stuff in their environment, they’re far more inclined to give you that boost,” Umair says. “They can tell their internal recruiters whether you’ve blogged or produced open-source projects. And since you’re acquainted with them, you’ll have a common base of trust in determining whether or not this position and organization are a suitable match for you.”
One way to start is by scrolling through your connections on LinkedIn. Do any of your connections work for an organization that stands out to you? Make a list of these connections in a spreadsheet, refining the list by which companies are hiring.
Use the same spreadsheet to keep track of who you’ve contacted, taking notes or using a simple scoring system to help you estimate which connections might give you the best shot at landing a job.
5. Start finding contract work
Even if you’re looking for a full time position, it’s a good idea to take on contract jobs while you work on finding something more long term.
Freelancing sites can be a good place to start. From there, narrow your search by creating a profile on sites that specialize in tech jobs. For example, Nerdly is a cloud-based solution that helps match top cloud talent with organizations looking to hire for a variety of jobs. Dice is another good option for finding career opportunities in tech.
Contract work is a great option if you’re in between jobs for several reasons:
- They soften the blow of losing a salary
- They present an opportunity to build your network and portfolio
- They can lead to full time employment
Contract jobs also give you an opportunity to test drive a job before committing to it full time. If you discover after a few weeks that you really don’t like working with a particular company, you can console yourself with the fact that you only committed to a three-month contract.
6. Work with staffing agencies
While an employer is the party who actually hires a staffing agency to find talent, you can help yourself and recruiters by sending a staffing agency your resume. This will take some pressure off you, effectively giving you a team of professionals to help find you a job.
If you’re looking for opportunities in cloud development, NerdRabbit Direct can help place you with companies looking to hire. You can also browse a list of open positions we’re looking to fill on our Careers page.
FAQs about getting laid off
How do you communicate (or not communicate) a layoff on your resume?
There’s no need to put any kind of special indication on your resume that you were laid off—just include the start and end dates of your position as you would under any other circumstances. Instead, address the fact that you were laid off in your cover letter (by the way, you should always include a cover letter with your job application).
Don’t disparage your former employer in your cover letter. Instead, focus on the positives about your time there: what you learned, your accomplishments, the ways you made an impact. It’s also a good idea to talk about what you’ve been doing since you were laid off. This shows good initiative.
How long does it take to find a new job after getting laid off?
It’s hard to say exactly how long your job search will last, but in general, it takes about three to six months to find another job after getting laid off. This can be a big financial strain for most people, so it’s important to think ahead and be proactive.
As mentioned earlier, calculate your personal runway—how long can you safely go without income before you run the risk of falling behind on your rent or mortgage or dipping into your emergency savings? Consider alternative ways of making money in the meantime, and treat your job search like a full time job. You’ve got this!
Should you tell recruiters that you were laid off?
There’s no need to lead with this, but most recruiters will not hold it against you if you were laid off. Tens of thousands of people have been laid off in the past couple of years through no fault of their own. As long as you weren’t terminated for performance or behavioral reasons, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about if layoffs come up during an interview.
Does getting laid off impact your H-1B visa?
According to the Career & Internship Center at the University of Washington, you have five options if you were laid off on an H-1B visa. You can either get a new job and transfer your existing visa to your new employer, switch to a different work visa, switch to a non-work visa, apply for a green card, or leave the United States.
Keep in mind that you have a 60-day grace period to pick one of those options after getting laid off. 60 days will go fast, so it’s important you take action as soon as possible. NerdRabbit is not qualified or willing to offer legal advice, so if you have additional concerns, you should consult an immigration or other relevant attorney.
How do you file for unemployment?
For the most accurate and up-to-date information on how to apply for unemployment benefits, visit USA.gov. In the US, the federal government doesn’t handle unemployment—states do. And just like many employment matters, states set their own eligibility rules. Use the selector tool on the US government’s website to find your state and get information on how to apply for unemployment.
What is a layoff letter, and should you request one?
A layoff letter is a written document informing an employee that they are being let go through no fault of their own. Employers are not legally required to send layoff letters to employees affected by layoffs, but most still do. If you didn’t receive a layoff letter, it’s a good idea to reach out to your former employer to request one. Some employers will want to see this during the interview process to confirm that you were indeed laid off and not fired. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have your layoff letter on hand just to be safe.
Most importantly, don’t give up
Getting laid off comes as a shock, and it’s normal to feel lost or discouraged when first starting your job search. Be intentional about how you spend your time, and make sure to utilize all your resources to shorten your search. Tech talent is a necessity for most companies—keep at it, and you’re bound to find a new job you love.
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