Job search advice for laid off engineers

So you got laid off? Start here:

First day:

  • Sign up for something like Teal or SkillSyncer or JobScan to tweak your resume and track all your job applications (and there should be a LOT of job applications [see below] so you’ll definitely want to track them).
  • Once that’s done, and ask some trusted people to read your resume and give feedback about it.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile, and post saying you’ve been laid off and you’re looking for work.

First week:

  • Brainstorm a list of ANY AND ALL former coworkers and email/text/DM them. Don’t worry about being annoying. People want to help you. This is by far the easiest way to get a job and be fairly sure you won’t hate it.
  • Browse open roles on LinkedIn that are semi-close to what you want, and make a goal to submit an application to X roles per day. Example: five applications a day gets you 50 in two weeks. Track them in one of the tools mentioned above, or use a spreadsheet.

Second week and beyond:

  • Keep up your “apply to X roles per day” goal until you officially sign an offer letter. Don’t stop when you think you have a “sure thing” if it isn’t signed yet.
  • Spend your extra time beefing up on stuff that will come up in interviews. For larger companies, you can usually find some of their interview questions in the LeetCode forum.

In general:

  • Expect to be ignored by 75+% of companies you apply to, and to only get an interview for less than 5% of them. So you’ll want to apply to a ton of them because, unless you have an “in” already, job searching is a numbers game.
  • Rejections aren’t personal, and you’ll probably get plenty of them. Take whatever feedback you get out of them (if any) and move on.
  • Look for tools to help with the monotonous or annoying parts. Example: this extension can auto-fill job application forms.

What not to do:

  • Don’t wait to start applying until you feel “ready” (like you’ve spent time grinding LeetCode or whatever), because it may take weeks before you get any interviews anyway.
  • Don’t wait to start applying until you decide exactly what you want out of your next job. There’s nothing more helpful for deciding what you want than interviewing and asking your interviewers questions.
  • Don’t ditch your normal work schedule. Keep up the normal routine and spend that “work” time on job applications, interview prep, or side projects to stay sharp.

Good luck!

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