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Landing Your Dream Job After a Layoff (Part 3 of 3)

landing dream job

Thomas Edison, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, and Mark Cuban did quite well after being fired or laid off. You can turn a layoff into a dream job, too. Early this month, we shared tips on regrouping and refocusing after a layoff. Now, it’s time to think big. How can you turn a layoff into an opportunity that catapults into your dream job?

Here’s some inspiration: Jeremy was in IT his entire career. He loved doing the “geek work” and being shut away from sunlight and human interaction to work on projects…from time to time. But he was also personable and had a great knack for explaining technical things in a way that less technical people (often the executives and customers) could understand. After a particularly painful layoff, he decided to switch gears and capitalize on his other talents as part of a customer success team. He worked his way up to VP of Customer Success at a tech company and now leads his organization in successful hires, finding and mentoring employees who share his ability to understand tech but who are also educators at heart and who excel at building rapport just as well as knowing how to build machines.

It was a painful layoff that turned into a dream job. And it only requires an open mind to make it happen.

A 2019 study published in the Academy of Management followed a group of Lehman Brothers bankers after the company fell apart. The researchers found that the employees responded to the job loss in two primary ways as they re-entered the workforce. “Recreators” sought similar positions in comparable organizations and industries. “Repurposers,” on the other hand, used their relational skills to launch different careers.  

The authors pointed to a similar but unpublished study by Yale researchers that found that in an occupation where jobs are becoming increasingly scarce, journalists tried to either “preserve” (recreate) or “reinvent” (repurpose) their career path as they moved forward.

No one can tell you which path is right for you, but we want to encourage you to consider both options. You don’t need to recreate or preserve a specific job or career track after a layoff. Your dream job may be waiting around the bend, but it might require you to repurpose or recreate yourself, even just a little.

Our recruiters are living proof that the best job of your life might be something far off your original radar. After all, there is no college degree in recruiting, and very few (if any) 8-year-olds want to be recruiters when they grow up. So, what can our recruiters teach you about landing your dream job after a layoff from their perspectives and experiences helping others do the same?

Be open to new opportunities. Craig Patterson, The HT Group’s Director of Sales, graduated with a degree in public accounting. While interviewing with a staffing firm right out of college, it became clear to him and the recruiter that his heart wasn’t fully invested in an accounting career. “She asked me, ‘Why accounting?’ And I shrugged. I guess because my grandfather did it, and it seemed like a stable, respectable career. She knew I had been a bartender and loved people, and those accounting skills would make me a productive and organized professional in any field. She told me I could start as a recruiter tomorrow and be very successful at it. I had no idea if she was right, but I gave it a shot.”

Don’t discount your acquired skills and talents. Confidence is one of the top things our recruiters see holding people back from their dream job. Over and over again, that confidence is zapped by a perception that, somehow, a lack of a degree or specific resume notches will not be marketable, even though they’ve excelled for years—maybe even decades—without them. These insecurities can be exasperated after a layoff, but don’t make them an excuse to self-eliminate. Believe others when they believe in you, particularly if they’re a recruiter or a colleague who knows what you can do. Take a moment to regroup and ask yourself what type of lifestyle and benefits you’re truly seeking, then refocus your job search without getting in your own way.

Take it one step at a time. Too many job seekers judge an opportunity at face value. They may make assumptions about what the job will be like, or they’re intimidated about the prospect of putting themselves out there for a job that seems aspirational, so they don’t go for it. But many who have found their dream job have something vital in common. They take the process one step at a time. The resume gets you into the interview. The first interview gets you to the next. You wouldn’t go on a first date expecting to marry the person the next day. Job hunting is the same way. Use the process to learn more about the job, culture, team, benefits, and other factors. Take it one step at a time. When you receive the job offer, you can sit back and take stock of all that you’ve learned to make an informed decision.

We hope you found this series on regrouping, refocusing and thriving after a layoff helpful. Our recruiters are here for more guidance and to assist you in finding that dream job you deserve. Consider contacting us to get started today. But when you do, promise us you’ll be open to considering new adventures and seeing yourself in a potentially new light.

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