Unemployment in India is predicted to reach 18 million by 2018, according to International Labor Organization’s World Employment and Social Outlook Report for 2017. With increasing automation and use of state-of-the-art digital technologies including Internet of Things (IoT), cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), and implementation of robotics, over the past few months, the information technology (IT) sector in India and the US are witnessing continuous layoffs.

Jobs in the IT and IT-enabled services (ITES) sectors are seamlessly getting replaced by a few logical lines of codes, which are flawlessly executing the job roles of skilled workforce. With the objective of reducing cost,  IT enterprises are issuing pink slips and bidding “not-so-pleasant” goodbyes to their staff. Whether you have been one of the victims of the layoff heat or not, here are seven steps to help you overcome the situation and make your next career move the right one.

1. Do not start your job search immediately

On a Monday morning, you are called for an urgent meeting in which you are told you have been fired. Suddenly  you’re discussing  your severance package and leaving the office.

While it’s common to start thinking about  looking for another job immediately , it is important that you give yourself some time. According to a Icon Staffing Networks John Lees, a UK-based career strategist, this initial phase is for recovery and it’s a good idea to give yourself some time to decompress and do the following:

  • Let the current layoff scenario sink in.
  • Ask yourself what you are looking for in your next opportunity.
  • Work on any required skill sets that may help you in your job search.
  • Pick up a part-time job or freelancing gig if you wish to.
  • Give a fresh makeover to your CV, but do not send it to every employer that you come across.

 2. Let your resume upsell your skills

In most cases, your resume meets the hiring manager before your interview. It is important to identify your strengths, specialized skills, professional achievements, and any additional certifications that you have accomplished and have them prominently on your resume. It’s a good idea  to prepare a detailed, customized  resume that advertises specific skills relevant to each job you apply to.

According to Kim Carpenter, Director of Recruiting at Murray Resources, one of the tips for rejoining the workforce after a layoff is to revamp your resume and build a detailed LinkedIn profile.

3. Leverage your social network

In today’s business world, networking is important. Feeling frustrated after a layoff is normal, but it’s critical that you muster courage and motivate yourself to bounce back quickly. Spend time refining (or creating) your profile on LinkedIn and other job portals. Keep your work samples ready, if required.

Let your friends and colleagues know that you are looking for a suitable opportunity. Reach out to HR managers and recruiters of companies that you might be interested to work with.

“See who in your network knows someone at a company that you might be interested in working for,” suggests Roberta Chinsky Matuson, president of Human Resource Solutions, in a CNN interview. 

4. Ask for recommendations

Do not shy away from asking your colleagues and especially your immediate supervisors for recommendations, such as letters, emails or a LinkedIn recommendation. In most cases, if a layoff is not related to poor work performance, your managers will oblige to emphasize your strengths and talk about your core areas of expertise.

Lisa Quast, a certified career coach, told Rigzone, “Recruiters like to see recommendations from previous bosses, co-workers and people who reported to you (if you were a manager) because this helps give them a broader view of the type of employee you were”.

5. Sustain momentum and prepare for the next jump

In an article on Harvard Business Review, Priscilla Claman, president of Career Strategies, suggests that finding a job that you love is a volume game. And while you might be in the midst of final-round interviews and even a job offer, you still need to keep exploring other options and ensure that you have created a sustainable pipeline for yourself.

Although layoffs can be very demoralizing, you should not let it affect your confidence levels. While looking for your next job, be patient, stay determined, know your skills, appreciate your expertise and apply only for roles that match your profile.

6. Prepare an optimistic reply about your layoff

When your resume reflects a gap in your work experience, a common question that most recruiters ask is the reason behind such gap. Be prepared with a candid, positive response. Talk about your passion towards your previous roles and responsibilities, or how your previous organization underwent restructuring or how management changes brought about operational shifts and gave you an opportunity to look for new options.

7. Explore opportunities and acquire new skills

Consider your layoff an opportunity for  a change in career paths. You could become an entrepreneur and utilize your technical and operational proficiency to grow into a profit-making business, or start consultation services or freelancing with small projects to not only keep you busy, but also to keep you learning and practicing your skills.

Remember that this free time is only temporary and a great opportunity to accomplish some of the things you couldn’t find time for with a full time job. Consider the types of roles that are innovative and competitive that have a smaller chance of obsolescence, and do some research on what it takes to achieve them. Going back to school may not be the kind of commitment you’re looking for, but online courses aimed at achieving certifications can help you acquire the precise skills you need for a career move or an elevated role within your profession.

Considering the dynamically changing face of the IT industry, with accelerated automation and reduced manpower,  it is crucial for employees to keep learning and upgrading their skillsets with the latest industry-specific technologies.

Online certification courses and training programs from learning partners like Simplilearn are a great help for busy professionals. They allow you to choose the specific courses right for you that you can take on your own time. To know more about the courses available at Simplilearn, visit our website at www.simplilearn.com. And remember, layoffs are a part of life, but there’s plenty you can do to get back out there and get ahead.