It’s Been Months Since I Was Laid off And My Job Search Keeps Hitting a Wall — What to Try Now?

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AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger
April 15, 2024 at 9:35PM UTC

As the world is adapting to what is now the “new normal,” Fairygodboss wants to be there for you every step of the way. Keep reading for timely advice and join our Navigating the New Normal group for continued support.

Feeling unemployed and confused? You're not alone.

An anonymous FGB'er recently took to the FGB Community to express her own concerns and feelings of confusion in her unemployment. In the months since she was laid off, she's been applying for employment within her industry as a social media manager and other related titles. But she's only had one phone interview and has yet to hear back from most other employers. Occasionally, she says she'll receive a brief email informing her that the position for which she'd applied has been filled, but even that is a rarity.

"I’ve researched a ton of topics to help me understand why I’m experiencing this dead air, even after following up with a courtesy email a few weeks after submitting my application," she writes. "Most of the companies I’ve I applied with are large-ish companies based in the city where I live, and some are for remote positions in other states. Surprisingly, it’s the local companies that are not responding beyond the automated email acknowledgment that my application has been received."

She says she's tweaked and mirrored terminology from job descriptions in her resume and cover letters to grab the attention of hiring managers and ATSs but to little avail. She's also tailored each cover letter and resume she's submitted but, alas, nothing. She's changed the look of her letterhead and work portfolio to be simple and clean, and it hasn't seemed to help either. She always proofreads everything before she sends it out, but it hasn't seemed to matter. And she's even updated her LinkedIn, but still no bites.

"Is this how the job search world looks now?" she asks. "What more can I do to ensure my application shines and is seen by prospective employers?  My last job was the first one for which I applied after switching careers, so it’s been a growing concern that I’m grappling with. I feel I’m a very worthy candidate, but can’t understand why I seem invisible to employers. Grateful for any advice you FGB all-stars can offer!"

FGB'ers, of course, are weighing in with their advice. Here's what to try if you're having trouble finding a job after getting laid off, too. 

1. First and foremost, know your worth.

"I'm in the same boat and feel your pain," says Smilesccr. "In this technological age, I've only been getting email denials, if that. I had one interview; the senior HR recruiter never called back either... I was told to network, network, network! So I am... through friends, former co-workers, colleagues and other associates. And, above and beyond anything, know your worth! Don't give up on you!"
After all, the struggle may have very little to do with you!
"It can feel pretty jarring to know that you are a great candidate for various positions, have skills that align with those listed in the job description, submit tailored materials, and still not hear back or to interview and not be offered the opportunity," says Jennifer Swayne. "My suggestion is to not take it personally. I know this is easier said than done, but the reality is, there is no telling what is on the other side of a company that has nothing to do with you or your skills and is not a reflection of you whatsoever. They could have someone in mind already, an internal hire, someone who has a smidge more experience, they may opt not to hire for the role, combine it with another position, determine the budget doesn't exist for it, etc. The best you can do is focus forward every time you apply to something and not be attached to a specific outcome with a specific role or company."

2. Give yourself some time.

"I recently went through the same thing, and I purposely did not look for something for three months (I realize not everyone can do this) to allow myself time to heal — yes, heal," says Dawn Cross. "No matter what, being laid off or losing a job is heart-wrenching, and you need time to allow that loss to feel less wrenching. Once you are done with that, make a list of what you can do and what speaks to your soul. If your company offers placement help, use it.  If they do not, seek other avenues that might offer that — local colleagues, job placement, etc., and schedule time with them. Good luck and remember, you CAN do this!"

3. Seek out help from others.

"I have seen this struggle way too much in my profession," says Valerie Martinelli. "I would try to open my mind to seeking professional advice and guidance if you continue to not to receive any traction/interviews."
Besides, you don't need to go through this process alone.
"Please don't get discouraged, either by the time it's taken so far to get results from your search or by how long it took me," says AllorynW. "I've been unemployed for almost an entire year, but I kept telling myself I would survive and get a job. (Not easy on a lot of days.) Keep your eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel, even if it's a tiny glint right now. And know that you're not alone. Definitely keep networking and keep in touch with your former colleagues. Do whatever you need to do to keep your chin up, and never let the voices in your mind convince you it's you. It's not. Something will come your way, hopefully, sooner than later. Believe it! I do."

4. Create opportunities for yourself.

"Don’t wait for a job to post," says Tracie Popma. "Research companies that you think you’d love to work for, see if they have someone in your role and, if they don’t, write them and show them how you can move mountains for them. You may be able to secure a couple of remote positions that way!"
It's not all about applying for job openings anyway.
"I'd take 50% of the time you've been spending on applying, and put it toward networking!" says Kaleana. "There are some really great groups you can find through Meetup, Eventbrite and even Facebook itself that you can meet people. Your 'in' to a company is going to much more likely be through a person than an application, especially these days — so just re-allocate that application time and get out there!"
Other FGB'ers agree that it may be time to "hit the pavement."
"Physically go to local area establishments that would benefit from solid social media representation — offices, shops, restaurants," says Dr. Renee Pennington. "Look to see who has a social media presence and create a mock-up (quickly) of what you could do for them. Many places don't know they need a social media manager until one is sitting right in front of them. There is nothing wrong with creating your own position. "

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