Dos and Don'ts When You Get Laid Off

Learn how to leverage your network, get recommendations and find a new sales job when you've been laid off.

7 months ago   •   6 min read

By Bravado Staff

With the stock market down and interest rates rising, sales teams across the country are resizing, and thousands of salespeople are likely to lose their jobs. But the sales industry is a behemoth: it just keeps rolling and companies keep hiring. That’s why Bravado is here to help laid off salespeople understand the dos and don’ts of how to find a sales job after you’ve been laid off:

Bravado stands with laid off salespeople. Ready to get your job search rolling? Find a new sales job with competitive pay at a top tech company with Bravado Jobs today.

Do: Take time to process your feelings

✅ Do
First things first. Getting laid off feels terrible. No one wants to lose their job security, and sales is a high pressure field. So let yourself process things before you do anything else.

Take a day. Take a walk. Cry if you have to. It’s a tough industry, but don’t let anyone shame you for taking a little time to throw a humble, well-deserved pity party.

Don’t: Despair

❌ Don’t
No one would blame you for being pretty upset about losing your job, but it’s important to be pragmatic. Your life isn’t over, and you can get another one. So give yourself time to process your feelings, and when you’re done, recommit to getting back out there and finding another one.

This isn’t just because moving on is healthy emotionally. It also allows you to hit the ground quickly, and that’s pretty important.

Do: Start looking for a job quickly

✅ Do
Once you’re emotionally ready to start looking for a new job, it’s time to move fast. Leverage your sales network, polish your Linkedin, and go full speed ahead on finding a new job.

A laid off salesperson looking for a sales job a month into unemployment won’t have much explaining to do as to why they’re still unemployed. But a laid off salesperson hunting for a job 5 months in? That might be an issue in an interview.

The best way to project diligence, hard work, and motivation is to go full speed ahead on getting back in the game. Send out applications, hit the pavement, find a freelance sales role. In short: Once you’re feeling better, get back up and act like you want it.

Don’t: Underestimate your value

❌ Don’t
Are you a good SDR or BDR? A good AE? A good CSM? If so, then great news: You can absolutely find another job that utilizes those talents. The stock market may be entering a correction, but this is not the end of sales as we know it, and you will be able to work again. So when you start looking for a job, remember that you bring value to the table whether you’re laid off or not.

In a correction event, sales hiring managers aren’t going to be shocked or horrified to hear you were laid off. Depending on how you frame it and the quality of your work, they may even be inclined to root for you.
So while it’s important to move quickly, don’t apply for just any job.

Were you a good AE? Don’t interview for SDR jobs on the assumption that being laid off is a millstone around the neck of your career. Your talent is your value, so aim for a lateral move, even if it means taking a little more time to find the right role.

Move quickly, but deliberately.

Do: Reach out to your peers and superiors for recommendations

✅ Do
First thing’s first: As soon as you are laid off, you should receive a layoff letter from your employer specifying the context around which you were terminated. This will be indispensable in your search for a new job, so make sure you are provided with one and check it twice to ensure its accuracy.

Sales hiring, more than most industries, is evidence-based. Hiring managers are going to want to verify your quota, and if you state you were laid off despite good performance, a hiring manager is going to want that verified as well. So get that letter, read it carefully, and if there is an error, ask for a correction.

The same goes for recommendations and leveraging your network. If you were laid off despite good performance, it’s likely your peers and managers will move heaven and earth to go to bat for you, but you need to move quickly while the quality of your work is still in their recent memory.

Reach out to coworkers, ask for a letter of recommendation from your boss, and leverage your contacts to see if you can find a connection to an active sales recruiter.

Don’t: Guilt your boss

❌ Don’t
This is a great piece of advice on three fronts: It won’t fix anything, it’s cruel to your boss, and pragmatically, it will make them want to help you less. Unless you are working at a company of 20 people, odds are your boss was not the one who decided to lay people off.

Laying employees off is miserable, and odds are, your boss is already crushed he or she had to do it. But guilting them or trying to convince them to change their mind will only read as desperate and vindictive. Getting laid off sucks. It makes sense to be sad or angry, but don’t shoot yourself in the foot here. Better to have them on your side as you look for a new role.

Do: Frame your situation

✅ Do
If you were laid off despite good performance, it’s crucial that you frame the situation every chance you get. Writing a cover letter? Say that you were laid off despite excellent quota attainment. Trying to nail a sales interview? Remind them of your performance and provide references every chance you get.

“I was laid off,” is not a rousing endorsement for a manager to hire you. “I was laid off despite over 120% quota attainment the past three quarters in a row,” is.

Don’t: Lie

❌ Don’t
Getting laid off is what one could call a yellow flag in a sales job interview. It’s not a dealbreaker by any means, it just warrants a little further investigation to verify the context around which the layoff happened.

Did your company lay off the bottom 10% of performers in a role you were at for a long time? Then yes, your layoff could disqualify you from a sales interview process. But if you were laid off due to restructuring, corporate headwinds, or other macroeconomic factors, then your layoff is just bad luck, and your history of performance should be more than enough to stand on its own.

Now lying in a job interview on the other hand? That’s a red flag, and will immediately disqualify you from whatever position you are applying for. You aren’t applying for a job at a coffee shop. Your claims are going to get checked, and if you try to pretend you weren’t laid off, you will be taken out of consideration the moment they reach out to your former employer.

Explaining you were laid off is like ripping the band aid off: Whatever the outcome, you only have to do it once. But better to do that now than get to the final stage of an interview and lose a job you could have gotten over dishonesty.

Trust us on this: It’s happened to Bravado Jobs candidates with hiring offers on the way.

✅ Do
Lastly, in a layoff wave, it may benefit you to consider being flexible in terms of your job wants. It’s a different jobs market than it was a month ago.

Worked in crypto sales? It may benefit you to open yourself up to other tech sales fields. Used to working remote? It may help your career to consider whether you’d be willing to relocate.

Looking at your wants and needs and deciding which of them you’re willing to be flexible with is an important step, so don’t lose your standards, but weigh your pros and cons.

Don’t: Take a job you wouldn’t be happy in for a year

❌ Don’t
Flexibility is important on a lot of job attributes, but there is one you shouldn’t budge on: Your happiness. There are a lot of great sales jobs out there, and a lot of sales jobs that suck. Don’t take a sales job that sucks. You deserve to be happy, so your happiness in a role comes before the all consuming desire to get back to work.

This isn’t just good for your sense of wellbeing, it’s good for your career as well. Leaving a sales job before a year is a big red flag to recruiters, so waiting a little while for a job you know you can feel happy in long term will benefit your bottom line long term too.

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