How To Turn a Layoff into a Promotion (True story!)

Laid-off?  Afraid you won’t be able to land another job? Feel your best bet is to take whatever you can find? Think your ideal job is a pipe dream in this economy?  

Think again.  

I’m excited to share Troy Benavidez’s story with you.  He went from being laid-off to landing not only his dream job but also getting a promotion.   

I asked Troy to share his tips on what made his transition so seamless and successful.  You’ll be surprised at how simple yet important steps like Soul Search and Research are in informing your next Job Search.

Read on for practical, strategic advice from Troy…

Turning a Layoff Into a Promotion

Q: What would you say were the crucial steps to your amazing transition? 

A: For me the most crucial steps were to remain focused, patient and methodical in my approach to my job search.  It is very easy to let your emotions get the best of you and become distracted from what you are trying to accomplish.  I wanted my unemployment to turn into real opportunity, but that required diligence, and there were many days when searching for the right opportunity I got distracted by the pressures to just find a job, any job.  Having a plan I could focus on and routine work to do was a good distraction from the emotional rollercoaster.  It is only natural to fear the uncertainty so my advice is to make sure you focus on those things that are in your control.

Q: You Soul searched and Researched before you Job searched.  Did it make a difference in the quality of the new job you’ve found? in other ways?

A: Most definitely.  Had I not soul searched or researched I would have been lost when I needed to be the most focused and strategic.  Without the confidence in knowing myself and my goals I could have easily entered into another role that was very similar to the one I had previously.  It was difficult to think broadly and rely on what I had soul searched. Friends, family colleagues, all wanted to help me get back into the same role I had.  They all knew me in one particular way and I’m sure they thought they were most helpful if they helped me do what I had been doing.  I needed to rely on my internal understanding of my soul search and remain focused on my research.  It helped me sort through the well-intentioned offers and the myriad of online postings and recruiters who needed to fill particular roles.  My soul search and research served as my north star to keep me focused and ultimately the job I landed would have not have been on my radar if I had gone the traditional job search route.  There is a lot of information online and you need tools like soul search to sift thru otherwise you can be pulled in a million different directions and not be very productive.  So yes it helped land a better job that was more in line with the qualities that make me happy at work.

Q: What role did networking (online & off) play in you being sought after for your new job?  Were some online sites/tools more helpful than others?

A: Networking is critical.  But I had to learn to do it.  I had a lot of preconceived notions of what it meant to network and I was wrong on all of them.  It is not about calling someone or talking to someone at a cocktail reception and asking for a job.  It’s about sharing with everyone you know where you are in your career and where you want to go. There is nothing to be afraid of when you are talking about yourself and knowing who you are, instead it becomes a fruitful discussion about you your skills, capabilities and interests and not and awkward conversation about asking for a job.  Once people I knew understood what I wanted and what I was interested in doing the suggestions and offers to help were more meaningful.  Gone was the obligatory “let me know how I can help” and instead there were real offers to connect me with people who could help me reach my goals for a new career.  By networking I was able to talk to more people who were in positions to hire.

I found LinkedIn to be amazing! It became an obsession.  Instead of playing “words with friends” I played on LinkedIn. I challenged myself to find the connections in certain companies and found innovative ways to start conversations with individuals whom I did not have a connection with.  I used the linking tool to get a conversation started.  It also broke down the traditional barriers to networking.  Everyone on the site was willing to make a connection or discuss what they knew about a company, job or industry.

I made a promise to myself to keep networking, even with a new job, and that is twofold.  First, it took a lot of effort and people were gracious enough to help the least I can do is keep them informed and second I want to make sure and be available to help the next person going through this process.

Q: Given your recent experience, what helpful tips or advice would you give to others who’ve been laid off?

A: Don’t be afraid to talk to everyone about who you are and what you are trying to do, whether it is a new role in a new industry, starting your own business or getting a similar job in another company.  There is NO shame in being laid off, it is not your fault the company reorganized, or had to close down or sent jobs overseas.   I was initially afraid of how I would tell people that I was unemployed and I was surprised how it was not held against me.  People are getting laid off in every industry and you should not be ashamed about it.  Instead tell everyone about the skills and capabilities you have and how you are using this as an opportunity to find that job that is fulfilling to you and how you will make a meaningful contribution in your next role.

Finally I would say don’t forget to keep in touch with everyone who is helping you along the way.  You want to make sure you don’t just contact them when you need something.  Your network includes trusted friends and advisors and should be treated as such.  They will continue to be invaluable.

Taking time to manage your career leads to better opportunities.  As you can tell from Troy’s advice and experience, getting on the path to your ideal career starts with your own Soul Search and getting clear on what you’d love to do, the skills you want to utilize, and your work preferences.  

I hope his experience inspires you to be optimistic about your next opportunity even if your last job ended in a layoff.  KNOW there is something better out there for you just as there was for Troy – you just need to Soul Search and Research BEFORE your Job Search to find it.  

If you’ve been laid-off or dream of a better career, share your vision below.  Let’s help each other do work we love!

(Photo courtesy of Flickr user O5com.)

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