Updating Your LinkedIn Profile After a Lay-off
Lay-off announcements are happening more frequently now. But, it doesn't make it any easier when you are the person impacted by the company cuts. LinkedIn plays a key role in job searches now. When facing a layoff, there are important steps to take on LinkedIn to make the most of your job search. The following are the things you should do with LinkedIn to make the most of your search to move on when facing a layoff.
Updating Your Profile
Your first instinct after being laid off may be to update your LinkedIn profile right away. However, it is important to take some time to assess your options and decide what is best for you before making any changes. Once you have decided what you would like to do, there are a few things you should keep in mind when updating your profile.
If you wait too long to update your profile, it may give the impression that you are not keeping up with current trends or that you are not active on the site. Updating your profile regularly also shows that you are committed to maintaining an accurate representation of your professional self. But, there is no standard rule for when you have to update your LinkedIn profile.
What to Include if You Update Your Profile
When you decide to update your LinkedIn profile. There are a couple of places where you can include information about your lay-off. First, in the professional experience section. Here, you would include the end of your last role. But, you shouldn't just change the dates for the entry. Instead, you should include in the description for that professional experience entry that your role was eliminated as part of the company restructuring. Don't assume that everyone knows about the layoffs at your organization. By including some statements about the larger realignment you are also showing that it was nothing that you did that resulted in your separation.
Second, you may want to include information about your layoff in your summary section. This is smart to do if you are taking time off before looking for jobs. This area is above your professional experience section and many people will leave your profile before they scroll down to find your job history. So, including a statement in the about section provides people the important context about you in a place where they will actually see it.
Third, you could opt to add an entry to your professional experience for a "Career Break." This is a relatively new function on LinkedIn. But, it allows people to see what you are doing after leaving your last role. There are some drop-downs here to pick from to explain the type of break. And, you can include a description of the break. Completing this entry can be a helpful way to provide context to people about your current search and any skills that you are working on while you look.
When the Lay-off Hasn't Happened Yet
There are many times when people are told they are being laid off at some date in the future. In this case, the lay-off isn't official until that date. People in this situation often prefer to hold off on updating their profile. But, the best strategy is to start your job search right away. This includes optimizing your LinkedIn profile and engaging your network for your job search.
Beyond the profile, make sure that you take the time to start collecting recommendations from your current and past colleagues. These can be very helpful when you are job searching. And, it is much easier to get recommendations when you still work with the person. Second, you should also join relevant LinkedIn groups in your industry. These can be a great way to network and find job postings. Third, make sure to send out connection invites. You will be surprised at how many people you work with regularly that aren't your connections on LinkedIn yet. Finally, start thinking about who your references will be. You will want to have a list of people ready to give you a good reference when you start applying for jobs.
How to Tell Your Network About Your Lay-off
Regardless of whether you update your LinkedIn profile, you will want to engage your network in your search. What is the best way to do this? If you create a status update, it will tell everyone in your network. This post will also show up in your recent activity if someone looks at your profile. The pros of this approach are that you get it out there and everyone in your network knows at once. The cons of this approach is that everyone knows and that it can make you look desperate in your subsequent job interviews. Also, you may share the wrong information or the details may be perceived the wrong way by your LinkedIn connections.
A second strategy would be to send a direct message to specific connections. This is a good option if you want to update your close friends or family, but don't want to broadcast your job search to your entire network. The pros of this approach are that you control who knows what about your recent employment separation. Depending on your level, this individualized approach may be the expected strategy. The cons of this approach is that it can be pretty time-consuming and that it can be viewed as sand-bagging if a recruiter doesn't see an updated LinkedIn profile.
Some people prefer to keep the news of their lay-off private and only share it with their closest connections. Others find it helpful to post about it on LinkedIn so that their entire network is aware of the situation. There is no right or wrong answer here; it is simply a matter of personal preference.
Turn Your Weakness into a Strength
During the height of the pandemic, many employers viewed people with jobs as most valuable because they kept their jobs during a downturn. This perception that someone with a job is a better candidate can still ring true generally. You can address this potential limit in your search by turning your weakness into a source of strength
This means using the layoff as an opportunity. For example, if you were laid off because of a reduction in force (RIF), you can use that to show how you're resilient and can adapt to change. If your position was eliminated because of company restructuring, you can discuss how you're good at handling change and are looking for an organization that is undergoing change. Or, you can use this as a chance to build your skills to land a job that you really want. This can mean focusing on the best culture, a new industry, or finding a job doing only the things you want to do.
Ultimately, being laid off doesn't have to be a death sentence for your career. By taking some proactive steps and utilizing the right strategies, you can use a layoff as an opportunity to jump-start your job search and land the role you really want.
Losing your job can be a difficult and confusing time. Updating your LinkedIn profile is one way to start moving forward, but it is important to take some time to assess your options before making any changes. Additionally, consider how much information you want to share with your network before reaching out.