The spate of tech companies laying off workers has accelerated over the past month, worrying those with and without jobs.
Continuing our “What to do in a bear market” series, Yahoo Finance asked career experts how employees and job seekers can better position themselves during an economic downturn.
What is some advice for people who are actively looking for a job right now?
“For those who are actively looking for a job right now – whether they’ve recently been made redundant or are looking to change to get more of the benefits they prioritize, like flexibility etc. – it’s important to stand out. with recruiters and your network, be first in line for job openings, and lead with skills,” LinkedIn career expert Blair Heitmann told Yahoo Finance.
“It’s also important to remember that while a layoff may seem personal, it’s not – rather it’s a reflection that the company’s business outlook has changed. Try to keep that in mind as you embark on your job search and let the confidence and skills that helped you land that job fuel your next steps,” she added.
Here are some other tips recommended by Heitmann:
Enable LinkedIn’s Open to Work feature. Members using the #OpenToWork photo frame are on average 40% more likely to receive InMails from recruiters and 20% more likely to receive messages from the LinkedIn community.
Set up job alerts. Being one of the first to apply for a job can give you an extra edge – LinkedIn data shows you’re 4x more likely to hear about a job if you apply within the first 10 minutes.
Tap your network. On LinkedIn, you can now see who’s hiring in your network — and your network’s network — when you visit the Jobs tab, and you’ll be notified when people in your first- or second-degree network are hiring.
What’s the best way to update your profile to get noticed?
“Your profile picture is your virtual handshake and an easy way for your friends, colleagues, or former classmates to recognize and discover you on LinkedIn. Make sure your profile picture embodies who you are as a professional, but also makes you approachable and shows a bit of your personality,” notes Heitmann of LinkedIn.
“Also consider adding a profile video as a way to share more about yourself, your passions, and your career goals in an engaging way. Nearly 80% of hiring managers in the United States think seeing a pre-recorded video of ‘a job seeker would be helpful,’ she added.
What is the best way to network?
“Networking all the time, even when you’re not looking for a job, is the best strategy,” according to career coach Liz Rubin.
“Find the discipline and energy to nurture your network on a daily basis. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get a response if you only contact us when you need a job. People can feel used and imposed,” Rubin said.
“Apart from an updated resume and a LinkedIn page, your network is your biggest source of leads. Interact with people you know and let them know you’re in the market. Do not rely on search companies and job postings. Start attending events and conferences where you share common interests both professional and non-professional. You never know where your next employer will be,” Rubin said.
The tech space has been hit pretty hard recently. How should tech workers position themselves?
“Engage in the market, but read your audience,” says Rubin.
“If you’re talking to someone in HR who doesn’t understand the tech space, you need to make sure you can effectively talk about your accomplishments in a way that he or she can understand. What problems have you solved and can you talk about them in clear, non-technical language that everyone can understand,” she added.
“Think about companies in other industries that might need your technical skills and reach out to them and stay focused on the business problems you’ve solved,” Rubin added.
What if you have a job but fear possible job loss?
“The good news is that despite the slowdown in hiring, there are still job opportunities available, and even more so if you’re ready to step into an office – new LinkedIn data shows there are nearly two on-site openings for each candidate seeking on-site work in the United States,” said Heitmann of LinkedIn.
She recommends several ways to prepare for possible job loss.
Demonstrate the reach and breadth of your expertise by updating your LinkedIn profile with your latest experiences and skills. Skills have become more important than ever in landing opportunities today, with over 40% of recruiters on LinkedIn explicitly using skills data to fulfill their roles.
Keep your network warm. Your professional network is your most important asset throughout your career – nurture it like a garden.
Think about your next steps. Workers must also begin to assess what their ideal next role would be and set a plan for the future. Know what you want in your job, especially where you want to work and search for those jobs using search filters, such as hybrid and remote filters on LinkedIn, to find jobs that match your needs.
How much emergency funds should you have in case of layoff?
“A few months’ worth of expenses is a solid starting goal for an emergency fund (or more, if you have dependents). It will buy you crucial time to line up your next gig without worrying about keeping a roof over your head,” Mandi Woodruff-Santos recently wrote in the Yahoo Finance column.
She also recommends developing an independent source of income.
“Having additional sources of income other than a 9-to-5 salary is a form of emergency savings that few workers think about. If you already do some freelance or consulting work on the side, you don’t have to start from scratch if your employer decides to give you the boot. Think about what skills or talents you have that you could potentially monetize and start as early as possible,” Woodruff-Santos said.
Ines is a market reporter and covers stocks from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre
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