Five Ways To Use Technology To Rebound From a Layoff

Posted by · October 24, 2012 4:31 pm

Yesterday was not a good day to be a Zynga employee.  Today isn’t much better.  Early yesterday morning, the company laid off five percent of their workforce, completely closing their Boston office; reducing the staff at their Austin, TX office by over half; and shuttering 13 of their less popular social games.  It’s also rumored that Zynga’s Japan office will be closing and many Zynga employees in the UK could also find a pink slip in their future.

While some say Zynga employees should have seen these layoffs coming (a stock that had gone down 77% since the IPO, duh), many employees reported having no idea that trouble was brewing and being blind-sided by the layoffs.  Blind-sided or not, if you find yourself in the same jobless place as the 170 Zynga employees, here are five ways you can use technology to find a new job:

Reconnect with Facebook friends

You might not talk to all of your 975 Facebook friends every week, but a few of them probably work for companies you’d like to work for.  Scroll through your Facebook friends, make a list of companies your friends work for that you are interested in working for, then do some research to find out if those companies are hiring.  If you see a position you’re interested in applying for at a company that one of your friends works at, send him or her a (private) message on Facebook and ask if there is someone you should talk to or mail your resume to directly in order to increase your chances of getting the job.  Don’t feel awkward if you haven’t talked to this particular Facebook friend for a while.  As long as your friendship left off on a positive note, there’s no harm in asking for help. Worst case scenario: they won’t respond to your message.

Leverage LinkedIn

Now’s the time to start paying attention to the “Jobs you may be interested in,” “Companies you may want to follow” and “Groups you may like” suggestions in the right-hand column of your LinkedIn homepage.  While “Jobs you may be interested in” is an obvious way to find new employment, following companies is a great way to find out more about potential employers (most companies have a “careers” tab on their LinkedIn profile) and getting involved with LinkedIn Groups will likely expand your network and help you connect to new people in your industry.

Start a blog

Or, if you’re not a writer, start a website. The point of doing this is to create a hub of content that showcases your expertise.  If you’re a system administrator, start writing about issues facing sys admins and how you have dealt with them at your previous job(s). If you’re a front end web designer, create a custom website that showcases your skills and makes people want to hire you.  The important thing is that you are consistently (at least once a week) creating fresh content that demonstrates your knowledge about a specific industry or job. If you think you need a catchy URL for your website, think again.  Most prospective employers will perform a Google search for your name before interviewing you, so registering a domain with your name (e.g.- www.jennprentice.com) will help content that makes you look good rank higher in search results.

Erase unflattering search results

Hopefully you’re performing regular searches for your name. It’s not narcissistic, it’s smart. If a piece of content you aren’t pleased with pops up in a search for your name, you can ask Google or ask Bing to remove it.

Learn a new skill

The Internet is rife with tutorials that will help you learn how to use new software, design a website or just about any other skill you might need to land your dream job.  Sites like Experts Exchange or Lynda.com have a plethora of technology tutorials that you can watch, for a fraction of the price it costs to take a college course on the same topic.  Not only does this better equip you for the position you’re applying for, but it also shows your prospective employer that you are motivated and open to learn new things.

While jobs might be scarce in today’s economy, searching for them and connecting with someone who can help you land the job you want has never been easier.  As Zynga employees know all too well, tomorrow’s paycheck is not guaranteed; but if you leverage technology and your online communities correctly, you might just end up exceeding your own career expectations.

**Image courtesy of Tickled By Life