I’m a Community Professional Who’s Been Laid Off — Doing These Things Helped Me Bounce Back
Community leader Krystal Wu shares 7 tips to help you get back on your feet after being laid off.
Losing your job can be a significant blow to your confidence and sense of self-worth.
As someone who has worked in the industry for many years — and has personally experienced being laid off twice in the past year — I understand the pain and frustration. Unfortunately, the pandemic and subsequent economic crisis has caused significant waves in the tech industry, forcing many of us out of our jobs.
I know how challenging getting laid off can be, especially as a Community Manager in such a small industry. However, it's possible to pick yourself up, bounce back, and move forward, even when things seem bleak.
First, it's important to recognize that you're not alone in this experience. Many people in the industry have been through similar setbacks, and it's normal to feel a sense of loss or grief for your financial security and the job you may have been passionate about. It's essential to take time to process your feelings, and it can help to seek support from friends, colleagues, or a therapist.
In addition to seeking emotional support, there are also practical steps you can take to get back on your feet after a layoff.
Here, I'll provide actionable steps to get back on your feet after being laid off and offer words of empathy and encouragement to help you look ahead to brighter days.
7 ways to recover after being laid off
Once you've allowed yourself to feel your emotions, it's time to start taking action. If you've been laid off as a Community Manager, here are a few steps that I've personally taken that you can consider:
1. Get back on the hunt
It's time to get back out there and let your work be seen. Update your resume and portfolio, ensuring that they reflect your most recent work experience, accomplishments, and any other projects or campaigns you've worked on.
Be bold and showcase your successes; this is your chance to prove your worth to potential employers. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes can help point out areas of opportunities — use your friends, colleagues, or community to review them as a gut check.
👉 Looking for help crafting or updating your portfolio? Here's everything you need to know.
2. Network, network, network
As a Community Manager, you know the importance of building relationships.
Use your networking skills to connect with colleagues, industry peers, and potential employers. Attend events, participate in online communities (you know how to do this best!), and contact people directly. This step alone was fundamental for me in learning about opportunities that needed to still be posted publicly or were coming up in the pipeline.
3. Keep your skills sharp
The community industry is constantly evolving. Staying current on the latest trends and best practices is essential. Here are three things you can do to keep learning:
- Take online courses
- Read industry blogs (like this one)
- Listen to podcasts, or participate in webinars
Of course, you can do so many other things too. These have personally catered to my learning style and kept me updated on our industry. Additionally, staying up to date on the industry will also help build your confidence in interviewing.
4. Take on freelance or volunteer work
While job hunting, consider taking on freelance or volunteer work to keep your skills fresh and expose yourself to other areas of the industry or potential new industries.
This is an optional step because sometimes you may reconsider whether community is right for you — and it's a fair question to consider. In doing this, you may even discover a new passion or niche you hadn't considered before.
5. Find a way to stand out
We operate in a competitive market, so it's important to differentiate yourself from other candidates. Look for ways to showcase your unique strengths and experiences. Consider creating a personal website or blog to showcase your work and ideas, or contact industry professionals for informational interviews or mentorship.
Another approach you can take is finding the recruiter or hiring manager for the role you've applied for and personally contacting them to share why you applied. By finding a way to stand out, you'll increase your chances of catching the attention of potential employers and landing your next opportunity.
6. Stay positive and focused
Job hunting can be frustrating, but staying positive and focused is important.
Rejection is redirection. Don't let setbacks discourage you (even though the doubt might creep in). Remember that each interview is a learning opportunity; your next opportunity could be right around the corner.
Our roles are impactful, meaningful, and downright irreplaceable. The community industry is notoriously volatile, and layoffs are often a result of factors beyond your control.
7. Explore other parts of yourself — outside of work
As Community Managers, we pour our hearts and souls into our work. It's actually one of the traits I admire most about our industry. However, it is important to remember that our work doesn't define us. We have other passions, interests, and skills that make us who we are.
Use this time to explore those other parts of yourself, whether through a hobby, a volunteer opportunity, or simply taking time to rest and recharge. Still, trying to figure out what to do? Here's a quick outline of what I did in between jobs during my layoffs:
- Learned embroidery
- Learned pilates
- I picked yoga back up
- I took a trip to Disney World (because it really is the happiest place on earth)
- Read lots of books
- Caught up on TV shows
- Spent more time with friends and family
- Cleaned out my phone’s photo storage (it needed to be done)
- Bubble baths; many, many bubble baths
- Curated new playlists for creative thinking, energizing myself, or zoning out
- Tried out new recipes
- Took many hot girl walks with my dog
Being laid off can be a challenging and humbling experience, but it can also be an opportunity for growth and self-discovery.
You have unique skills and experiences that make you valuable to any organization. Keep sight of that! Your ability to build relationships, create engaging content, and foster a sense of belonging among your community members can't be easily replicated.
The road to re-employment may be bumpy, but with perseverance, a positive mindset, and a willingness to learn and grow, you can come out on the other side stronger and more resilient than ever.
So, take a deep breath, dust yourself off, and get back out there. You've got this! As I write this, I cheer you on in your next adventure.