Recruiting Corner: "So you just got laid off" pt. 1
A three episode series focused externally towards individuals that were recently laid off, providing a how-to style guide to navigating the circumstance like a professional recruiter.
Preparation: This segment will be focused on immediate action items, preparation of visible materials required to find a position. Resume/cover letter basics, LinkedIn profile tips, identifying viable job leads, utilizing various job-seeking platforms, etc.
All right, thanks for tuning in, everybody. My name is Zach. This is a Recruiting Corner segment where pretty much anything recruiting related, job search related, that's what we're trying to bring to you.
So this is a three-part episode series that we'll be doing that really, I guess, is kind of focused in.
There's been a lot of layoffs in the news.
It's kind of a scary time for current job seekers and those that become job seekers.
And so this is, I guess, Cloudflare Recruiting's way of giving you our, you know, play-by-play guide to exactly how professional recruiters, how we'd navigate, you know, getting some scary news like that and exactly what we do.
So like I said, my name is Zach Tolley. I started with Cloudflare this past March.
So I'm relatively new here. I've got with me a more tenured Zach, Zach Turminini.
Thank you for joining. Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and your time here?
Yeah, thanks for that, Zach. My name is Zach Turminini.
I'm a recruiter here at Cloudflare. I've been here for just over three years.
I actually started off in sales, made my way into recruiting and the rest is history based out of Boise.
So represent Idaho. Yeah, I'm based in the Raleigh, North Carolina area.
But so yeah, I guess the really the theme of these episodes is going to be kind of segmented out.
We're going to talk today mainly about, you know, immediate actions, what we would do from a preparation standpoint, as if we just kind of got the news that we needed to, you know, giddy up on the job search and find our next gig.
And that really starts, I guess, with the preparation of the materials that you'll need, you know, to go about making sure you're as visible as possible, making sure that, you know, you have everything you need in your ducks in a row to go get the interviews that will land you your job.
So before we get there, when me and Zach were originally talking about it, you know, I think that there's a good likelihood that anybody interested in this segment will, you know, maybe find themselves searching for a job right now, maybe you're more in the boat of just an uneasy feeling, thinking that it could be on the horizon.
And so I guess we'll start with preventative maintenance, which is kind of where Zach had brought up in our initial discussion.
So can you run us through, you know, exactly, maybe you haven't heard the news yet or anything like that, but you just kind of got that uneasy feeling and how to put yourself in the best position possible, you know, should the worst happen to navigate the circumstance?
Yeah, thank you for that, Zach.
So much like a car, much like anything in life, relationships, etc, your mind, your body needs to be maintained.
So in terms of your job, in terms of your career, career maintenance is something I think is kind of tantamount to just having a successful career, a smooth career and ensuring smooth transitions, right?
Obviously, noting that, you know, in certain instances, you may not have a heads up, right, the economy can take a turn for the worse, a global pandemic can hit, and you can lose your job.
So there's a couple things that you can do, you know, just to kind of preface all that in your day to day life to, you know, establish kind of like a baseline, right?
And this baseline is something that we're going to touch upon throughout this conversation.
But, you know, it can be as simple as, you know, establishing connections with people at other companies on LinkedIn, for example, right?
Doing practice mock interviews.
I'm sure, you know, as a recruiter, I've been reached out to by other recruiters in the past and even currently.
And so it's always nice to just kind of make those connections, just so you have someone whom you can reach out to, who is the resource.
So you're not starting from ground zero, you're not starting from scratch.
You want to build the network before you need it as best you can, right?
Exactly. And, you know, oftentimes getting a job is not just about your skills and qualifications, it's about who you know and what you know.
And, you know, knowledge can be very key.
So, you know, prepping, you know, notifications on jobs, for example.
Even if you're not necessarily looking for a job, but you're more so just interested in, you know, what are the skill sets that people are hiring for, for my current position, even, right?
Understanding what like contemporary skills are required for the job, brushing up on those skills, et cetera.
Just kind of making yourself knowledgeable to, you know, where you are relative to the, you know, greater workforce.
Yeah, I think it's a good point. And it's just kind of, you know, do the work ahead of time so that you can try to set things into motion more so than build it up from scratch when push comes to shove and you kind of got to turn the boogie on and make things happen.
It's easier when you kind of set that up and had that mindset earlier on.
But, so, you know, with that being said, a lot of the times, realistically, the circumstance doesn't present itself that way.
So, in the instance of, you know, us acting as if, you know, we're in the same boat, we just got laid off, what do we do?
Some of the first things that we'd look at, it's not necessarily immediately diving into the resume update.
You know, hopefully, if you followed Zach's advice here, those things are kind of squared away to some degree.
It's kind of just evaluating the circumstance that you find yourself in. A job search, I mean, as a lot of people see now, a job search right now is a heck of a lot different than a job search six months ago was.
And, you know, there's kind of different ways that you should go about all of this that, you know, depend heavily on outside circumstances and kind of where you find yourself.
So, a lot of the things, when me and Zach were talking about this originally, it was kind of like breaking it into two search mindsets.
And it starts with just kind of personal circumstance.
Like, how long can I realistically afford to search? Like, what's my timing look like?
When do drastic changes to my day-to-day life start to happen because I don't have the income stream?
So, we kind of broke that into, if you're trying to land a job in 90 days or less, you kind of take a different approach than someone maybe that is further along in their career, maybe a little more stable and they can take their time before, you know, it really starts to get stressful.
So, with that being said, less than 90 days, you know, the search methodology is probably going to focus on putting as much energy, like, out into the universe as you possibly can.
Give yourself, you know, as many opportunities to get something back as possible.
If you have over 90 days, it's a little more relaxed, you can kind of take a more traditional search or one that maybe would be mirrored by a passive candidate, as we call it in the recruiting world.
You're focused on the right fit versus the prior circumstance.
You're focused on getting something to stabilize and, you know, give it a chance.
And if it's not the right gig for you, you can, you know, begin the search again from a better position than otherwise.
So, if you're 90 days or less type of mentality, it's going to mainly be about volume and making sure you're setting up all of these materials that you prepare in the most convenient way to, you know, apply to a lot of jobs.
A lot of times you go back and just say, what are the existing leads that I have?
Past employers, known networks, you know, things like that.
What do you think, Zach? Yeah, I mean, that's always a great place to start.
I would just say, like, you know, kind of bleeding into, you know, harpening back to, you know, those preventative measures.
It's always good to kind of have your job, right, your job description on LinkedIn up to date.
Have as much information there as possible, you know, within reason, no essays, but, you know, have a descriptor of what you did at your job, right?
That's really helpful for recruiters who are searching keywords, key terms, in order to find people with similar skill sets to you, right?
And that being said, you know, highlight your skill sets on something like LinkedIn.
I know personally, as a recruiter, I utilize LinkedIn a lot.
LinkedIn has, you know, a really huge repository of, you know, online profiles of people in the workforce.
And so it's a really great tool for us to utilize to find great talent. So, you know, one of those things you want to do when you're kind of evaluating your circumstances, get a litmus test for kind of like where you are in the workplace, you know, make sure that all of your information is up to date.
And then start beginning to think about that story, right?
Your story. Because at the end of the day, when you apply to a job, your resume speaks for itself.
But then, you know, there's that 80% of the interview process that's left.
And, you know, part of that is your story and how you sell yourself and how you're kind of angling for that job.
How are you going to present yourself as a value add to that company? So start thinking, you know, in terms of, you know, critical thinking skills here, you know, practically how long do I have until my next job?
Understand your own timeline, start an agenda setting with yourself, and then be very transparent with recruiters, you know, let them know, like, hey, you know, I'm going to time crunch here, or I can take my time.
So that lets the recruiter know, you know, how to best handle your application, right?
Sometimes they may be aware that the application process takes a lot longer.
And so you would hope that they would let you know, establish that understanding so that there are no surprises moving forward.
And, you know, if you have a shorter timeline, the recruiter can then say, you know, I'll help you move you through the process a lot more quickly, get that feedback a lot more quickly.
So we can close that loop. You know, knowing full well that this person's kind of under some sort of pressure, I don't necessarily want to say duress, but, you know, it can be a stressful time.
And so anything you can do to remove that stress, remove those barriers, being as transparent as possible, and, you know, clearly communicating your values, what you're looking for, your skill sets can never hurt.
Yeah. And I think it's like the, there's kind of like, I guess the old school mentality of like, a lot of times I'll see there's kind of two types of candidates that I'll interview a lot.
And it's those that are fishing for the answers that they think that we want to hear.
And, you know, I understand that too.
I think we're all guilty of that to some degree, when we're in an interview environment, like you're trying to anticipate what's going to put you in the best light.
But in today's world of, you know, the just kind of taking the advertising sheen off of it and just being pretty forthright, it's going to let you know where to focus your time.
And I think this is the less than 90 days, the over 90 days, you don't want to say the right things to move forward in a process that ultimately isn't going to match your circumstance.
And you find that out after five or six interviews and two weeks kind of poured in.
So just kind of being, I'm not going to say you don't want to obviously come across as like, I need this job so badly.
And, you know, come across like you're just asking for it, but just making sure that you're pretty transparent with your timeline.
Maybe it's as simple as, you know, hey, I'm really targeting the somewhere between the, you know, middle and the end of next month for a start date, just kind of those things like that.
It's going to make sure that the conversations that are continued are the ones that kind of fit your circumstance and put you in the best light.
So we'll get to, let's talk about a little more about the exhilarating stuff, resumes, cover letters, all that.
And so a lot of what we'll talk about now, and I think this probably comes into play if you have a little more time to search is, you know, there's a bunch of material out there that we're not going to try to, you know, repackage and white label as our own, but, you know, resume tips, things like that.
The biggest thing I would say is don't try to get too flashy with the resume.
Yeah. Don't reinvent the wheel.
Yeah. Nobody, you don't, you never land a job because of a resume.
You land a job because of the interviews, the alignment, all these other things.
The resume is just the ticket to get you in the door. But, you know, you don't want it to, you don't, you're not going to get a job because you have a blue resume with a flashing neon title on it or things like that.
It's just not the best place to put your time.
So run us through, you had actually brought one on to my radar that I didn't know about when it comes to just like resume templates, things like that.
You know, I know about Canva. I know about some of just the Google Drive, like community templates.
I actually have been, I think it's included in this video.
There's kind of a resource that we've developed that just kind of in a really simple bare bones fashion, try to help, I'm an overthinker.
So try to help the other overthinkers of the world, just simplify it down.
They kind of explains in detail, I guess, the approach that I would take as far as like, you know, bare bones resume and tailoring the content and the bullet points under the positions to the job you're going after.
You just want to be careful that you're not spending an hour for every job application, particularly if you're in the, I need a job before the 90 day mark type of field.
But I think it was Overleaf was one that you had some experience with too.
Yeah. Overleaf is a pretty good one just because in my opinion, a resume should be something that highlights kind of just like the key points of like what you'd done at a company and the skill sets that, you know, you want to highlight relative to the job description that year or something, right.
So it provides you with this really clean looking template. There's so many to choose from.
It's actually like a latex program. So you'd go and be able to edit the format and the color yourself too.
It's a really great way to not necessarily reinvent the wheel, but you have a lot of customization, the ability to kind of derive great value from this solution.
Again, you don't want to be spending too much time updating your resume or creating a brand new resume for every job you're applying to.
You need something that you can kind of plug and play and this really helps do that, especially when you're going to be applying in math, for example.
And we all know it's a numbers game, right? Statistically, you're going to need a certain number of at-bats before you hit a home run, right?
It's not going to be a hundred percent of the time. And if anything, you should be applying to jobs that aren't necessarily the closest fit to what you're looking for, something within the realm of possibility within your scope, just so you have that practice as well, right?
I think having conversations with recruiters and hiring teams is also really going to be helpful to build your confidence.
And again, the more prepared you are, the more confident you're going to be, the better you're going to come across and the more likelihood you are to get further along in the process.
Yep. And if we go under the hood a little bit, I guess a lot of the things that I would say is like, when you come to customizing a resume, it's not, we're never advocating for either instance, over under 90 day timing window, you're not making a new resume for every single job you're applying for.
But there's small tweaks and changes that really can kind of increase those percentages that Zach was referring to.
And so some of it can be as simple as the order of the bullet points under your most recent couple of jobs.
And maybe company A that you've applied to, they really value this 50% of your skillset.
So you're going to really put that at the top.
You're going to make those bullet points very visible.
And the first thing that people see when they go to evaluate kind of what you've been doing in the past and the skillset you've built up.
Company B, it may be it's totally inverse and they don't care at all about what company A does, but you have the skills and the experience that they're looking for as well.
So you go in and you just make sure that you're reordering things. And these are the types of small actions that cost you 30 seconds a minute, but can really pay dividends in the hit rate when you get the interviews back or when you get the interview requests.
That's kind of what we're advocating for is to efficiently, I guess, in a quick and efficient way, make sure that you're kind of proving with the content that you put forward, that you read the job description, that you know something about the company.
Ultimately, every job posting you'll ever see is the result of a problem that a business has and they need someone like you to solve.
So the easier you make it on the people like us that are trying to go through these often very large application pools, those little tweaks, we're going to notice them and we're going to appreciate it.
And I often show my appreciation by getting an interview scheduled, going the extra little bit, pinging a hiring manager in chat, just saying, hey, this candidate that's in the review stage, something caught my eye, let me know what you think.
A lot of these little cascading actions, it's like the snowball down a hill type of metaphor.
As many of them as you roll, they're going to get bigger as they keep rolling down and accumulating more.
And that's kind of the mindset that you're going into this with.
And I know Zach does a lot of sourcing, particularly on the sales side.
And so speaking of the LinkedIn stuff, can you run us through a little bit of like, I guess, what makes a LinkedIn profile, like what are the ones that stick into your memory or what they're doing differently than some of the others?
Well, there's quite a few things, honestly.
But, you know, top level, I would say, you know, have very clear descriptors of what they did.
Right. So, for example, if I'm sourcing engineers, I want to know what skill sets they have.
Right. And I want to know exactly what they did at their previous company.
I want to know the kind of tools that they worked with.
If they were cross-functioning different teams, how did they do that? Right.
Versus in sales, I want to know, like, hey, you know, if you're doing well, presumably, I want to know, you know, what your attainment is.
You know, like, what kind of quota do you have?
What kind of sector did you sell into? Industries? Verticals?
Were you selling into, you know, what kind of accounts were you selling into?
You know, were you a farmer or a hunter? Right. So, there's different distinctions in these different jobs.
And I think really kind of, you know, again, thinking critically about what you're doing and being able to summarize in a cogent manner what you've done, that's also just going to really help you down the line when you're talking to someone, when you're sitting in front of a hiring manager, or in front of a panel, and you're asked to kind of describe your past work experiences.
Having that continuity and having that practice in kind of iterating on, you know, your experiences and being able to communicate them clearly is really going to help you and your confidence in an interview process.
And again, like Zach said, it's all these small things that kind of mutatively will put you ahead, right?
Whether that be, you know, having those kind of, you know, one, two, three, like, top three points of, like, this is why I'm relevant for this job.
And then Zach's then, hey, I'm going to ping the hiring manager and make sure you get an interview.
Well, guess what? If that person gets an interview before a person with an equally great resume who didn't do that, they're one step further in the process.
And, you know, if there's one slot open, this person gets the job, guess what?
The other person missed out. So much of it comes into timing. Yeah. It's like the, a lot of the times I would say, especially, you know, the volume of applications that we receive here at Cloudflare is pretty high, which is good.
It is a great place to work.
So we want, we want that to be seen through the, you know, a large number of people that seem to have gotten that message.
But there's, there's oftentimes a bunch of people that could have gotten the job that apply to a lot of our jobs.
And a lot of it comes down to the timing of it and where you fall within that window of their hiring process.
These are things that you can't realistically know either.
You can spend a lot of time like pinging everyone that works at that company, trying to get, get a little bit of insight into that.
I don't think it's worthwhile.
Like it's like we said, it's a numbers game there. The timing is something you can't, you can't know, and you can't anticipate.
So what you can do is, is just make sure that you're putting enough, you're putting enough lines out there, so to speak, that like, okay, I see 30 jobs that I'm really qualified for.
Well, I'm going to apply to all of them. Hopefully 10 of them, I will be situated in a good spot for the timing aspect of it.
Maybe, maybe half of those, you know, select me for an interview versus the other pool.
And it's kind of that, you know, trimming down numbers game, but you can't anticipate the timing on their side, but you can at least keep it in mind when you're navigating your own process and making sure that, you know, the volume of applications you're sending out and the things that you're doing that, you know, you're, you're looking for that stars aligned moment, but it's, it's not as, it's not as up to chance as, as I guess a lot of us have been led to believe.
Now after interviews and stuff, I know, you know, it's not necessarily great to go pinging a bunch of people before you, you get any attention back from the application.
Again, if the timing is off the efforts you put forward there, they're probably just realistically not going to be that fruitful no matter how genuine you come across especially in that less than 90 day type of window that we discussed.
If that's your timeline, that's not the approach.
Now, after the interviews, everyone appreciates a good follow-up and things like that, be it LinkedIn and email and thank you notes.
Thank you notes, exactly.
Yeah, go the extra mile and, and it, it costs you very little amount of time, but it's noticed on, on the hiring end, at least I can say.
Oh yeah. Everyone's favorite part, cover letters.
What do you think of cover letters? To be honest, yeah.
I think if your goal at the end of the day is to get as many applications out as possible, a cover letter, unless specifically asked for, or even when you send it in an application, they ask you for a cover letter, that's when it would be appropriate to have a covered letter ready.
Otherwise I would not necessarily say spend all your time drafting cover letters for five jobs.
Instead get 15, 20 applications out in a day and provide a cover letter for that one that is like the absolute perfect fit.
Again, it's, it's, it's, this is a battle of attrition and the attrition here is your mental health.
Essentially, you're going to burn out if you're going to be doing a lot of this effort and eventually you're not, and you don't see any results.
So in order to avoid burnout, I think using your time efficiently in this manner, again, kind of harping back to that critical thinking.
At the end of the day, we're all human beings, both on the receiving end of an application and the sending.
So we definitely want to make that connection again, like just focus on your strengths and learn how to communicate about yourself and you know, a cover letter, albeit something that may have been important in the past.
I don't, I don't necessarily see it as being a something that's relevant now.
Yeah, I would, I agree. I think it's like the biggest thing is now you just have to determine with the amount of time that you're going to dedicate to searching for a job.
Cover letter, if you're making a cover letter that's unique for every single job, you're going to apply to probably 10% of the jobs that you would have otherwise.
Again, when we talk about the timing and the volume and just the scale of all of it, it's probably not the best way to go about it.
Now, if you have a longer time to search or in the event, like Zach alluded to, where, you know, let's say we go and we're looking at jobs and you know, we really need one soon.
Well, you're going to see, let's say we see 25 that look like they could be a great, they look like we could, we could get the gig.
Like it's like, okay, I could probably, I could land that job.
If everything lines up, I'm qualified and I can get that job.
Of the 25 that you identify, maybe 20 of them are just like, yeah, I'd give it a shot.
Like they, maybe I haven't heard of the company before, but the position aligns well, or I've heard of the company, the positions, you know, maybe not necessarily what I'd love, but I could do it.
Those are not the cover letter jobs.
Those are the ones, especially get away from this whole like super generic, like if I see a cover letter, that's obviously almost the exact same and it's to whom it may concern.
And it's just, it's just super generic. I'm not saying that it's, it's a, it's not a negative, but it's no value add.
And it still costs you the time to, to, you know, include it with that application.
It's like use the cover letter strategically and kind of two circumstances.
But I always think it's a, for those top, like 1 % are like, oh, this is a great company.
The role looks fantastic.
No matter what my employment situation was, I would at least be interested and intrigued.
If I saw this pop up, write the cover letter and make it genuine and real, like, like tell them why you feel that way and include that that's worth the time, because if you get that job, it turns being laid off into a good thing for you from a long-term perspective.
If you really need a job and you're applying to, let's say there's some small companies and there's some very large ones.
Well, if the person viewing the applications is going to be the business owner or someone in like a smaller organization, again, a cover letter has probably more effect in that environment than if you're applying to roles or companies that are thousand strong and everything like that.
Right. It's not to say we don't appreciate a good cover letter.
We definitely do. But some hiring managers will ask for it specifically.
Yes. But in instances where we get applications like 9000 people.
Right. Yeah. I highly doubt a hiring manager is going to have enough time in their work week to be able to review every single cover cover letter.
Right. Yeah. And like you said. Oh, yeah, it's we made it so far before accidentally interrupting each other a bunch of times.
It's OK. Yeah.
No, the biggest thing is like use the cover letter, but make it real and like use it in instances where the you know how much you want this job or how well it aligns with what you're looking for is easy for you to articulate, then it's worth it.
But don't send us a bunch of to whom it may concern, like very generic cover letters, because I just personally don't think it's going to be a value add.
We got just a couple of minutes left. So some of the things that we were going to touch on identifying viable job leads, really, I'd say like the biggest approach, you know, LinkedIn, indeed, all these major job boards, they typically have these automated alert settings to where every time you see a job that you like, don't make the only instance where you will become aware of the jobs that you want.
Don't make that dependent on when you happen to be looking at the app or the website.
Set these automated alerts up. And if you have a company you like, every time they have a job posted with a certain title, set that alert, you know, grassroots communities like specific some of the open source projects in the engineering side, like things like that where you can kind of be visible.
I'd say that.
And then, you know, do you want to touch on like when application follow ups or just kind of what you value is appropriate?
Yeah, I would just say, you know, personalized message goes a long way, you know, make yourself notable, right?
Someone you can remember. And I guess, you know, just kind of wrap it up here.
Key takeaways, something we could definitely talk about. But first, I wanted to say, happy birthday, Zach.
Everyone out there in the interwebs, it's Zach's birthday.
So happy birthday. But key takeaways here, you know, would be like, streamline your process, right?
You just got laid off, identify like, you know, what's my what's my ramp here, right?
Like, how long do I have? And then, you know, immediately get to work updating your information, right?
And start thinking about your story.
Cogent story, right? It has to come across very clean, not practice or manicured necessarily, but, you know, think about it.
And then I would say, you know, understand, you know, how long the process takes in these different jobs, especially if you get a response, being transparent with a recruiter and, you know, communicating your needs, you don't get what you don't ask for.
So communicating your needs, understanding timelines, and agenda setting is really important for both a recruiter and for the candidate.
And then, you know, continue to craft your narrative, prepare your story, right?
Because at the end of the day, not just for salespeople, but people in general, if you can't sell yourself in a job interview, no one's going to advocate on your behalf.
So please, please, please prepare. Yeah, the soft skills part are where most people trip up.
Like I, you know, and it's, and the more you kind of are prepared to tell the story of like, you know, this, this is my background.
And this is kind of some of the stuff off my resume that these are the interests that led me here.
Like, this is why I won't be just doing like the bare minimum and, and kind of check out.
This is why like, this is the job that I want. And, you know, I guess the banging your door down to work for you.
Everybody likes that from a hiring manager perspective.
You don't have to necessarily be, you know, ingenuine about it.
But, you know, prepare the story. And then the soft skills questions, you always have that baseline to tie it back to.
Zach, thank you so much. Also be named Zach.
And apparently there's a pretty good chance of work here, but we thank everybody, everybody for tuning in next week.
We will have the segment on interviewing exactly how to navigate all of those processes, but thank you very much and see you again soon.
Thanks Zach. Goodbye. Thank you.