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I was poached and then laid off 60 days later. I was embarrassed to talk about it, but doing so helped me get my next job.

Shubhangi Goel   

I was poached and then laid off 60 days later. I was embarrassed to talk about it, but doing so helped me get my next job.
  • A company poached Amanda Nielsen from her job and then let her go 60 days later.
  • Nielsen took several steps to land good job leads, including her current role.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Amanda Nielsen, a partnerships manager based in Denver. It has been edited for length and clarity. Business Insider has verified her employment history.

I have worked in partnerships my whole career.

I was at a company in the software space for four years when the company did a round of layoffs. I survived the cut, but a lot of my team was let go, and the job didn't feel the same. I was opening up to the idea of new roles when the perfect opportunity presented itself.

A manager from another company in the same industry reached out and made me a job offer I could not refuse.

I took the offer. Shortly after I joined, new leadership was brought in at the C-suite level.

In October 2023, close to my 60-day mark, the company laid off a significant part of its staff. My entire team, including my manager and I, were let go.

It was a shock because the company had put in so much effort to poach me, make an attractive offer, and spend time onboarding me.

I felt naive and silly. I had just announced my job move to my whole network and told them all about my new responsibilities. There were practical worries, too: I had just set up my insurance and had asked for my 401(k) to be rolled over. My entire team being fired also made me question my abilities and how this looked from the outside.

Job-search struggles

Once I had collected myself, I went on to LinkedIn and let people know I had been let go and was looking for new opportunities. I also began applying for jobs online.

Even though I was open-minded about roles and had a solid résumé and network, I struggled with my job hunt.

One thing that had changed since my last job search four years earlier was the pandemic and the rise of remote work. Suddenly, I was competing with people from around the US and the world.

In the past, I felt that cover letters and personalized applications got me through the door. But this time around, that wasn't working for me.

Strategies that worked for me

I took a step back and tried a couple of other strategies.

I landed a job within three months. I currently work as a partner sales manager at Box, a job I landed in February. I credit it to some of the initiatives I took after my layoff:

  • Being honest on LinkedIn about my journey: Once I put up a post on LinkedIn about being let go, I had tons of people reaching out and wanting to help. I joked that my calendar was just as full during my job search as when I was working full time. I also continued to post content about my job-search journey, which can feel embarrassing and uncomfortable, but it helped people learn that I was still on the market.
  • Asking people in my industry for coffee chats: I began going to in-person networking events and asking people in my industry for coffee chats. It improved my connection with them. Getting out of the house also kept me feeling productive.
  • Asking for referrals: When I found out that cover letters were not working as they had in the past, I looked into how else I could stand out. Once I applied, I would send a thoughtful note to the hiring manager or ask another employee working if there was any way they could help. I also tried my best to get referrals before applying, even if it meant contacting "loose connections" with whom I had not worked directly.
  • Freelance work: I allocated more time to my side hustle, a small e-commerce platform where I sell merchandise and offer freelance consulting. While I was not ready to pursue my own business, freelance gigs helped me expand my network and get feedback on my skills. After two layoffs, it also showed me the importance of multiple income streams.
These steps kept me occupied and helped me find job leads, including my present role.

When my current boss was looking for people to expand his team, he reached out to his network for recommendations. My frequent posting and constant networking had kept me on top of people's minds, and I was recommended to my boss by several people.

In retrospect, despite how painful it was, I'm grateful for the layoff because of the opportunities it opened up for me.

Correction: April 5, 2024 — An earlier version of this story misstated the nature of Nielsen's role. She works in partnerships, not partnerships marketing. We have also amended a line that previously stated that her company laid off 30% of its staff.


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