5 Ways to Start an Emergency Job Search

Can’t go for long without paid work? Here’s how to jump-start a search.

Since mid-November, more than 73,000 US tech workers have been laid off, and many of their colleagues are bracing for still more layoffs. Other industries have hinted at staff cuts. As the year draws to a close, some employees may find themselves out of work and looking for new opportunities.

Many assume that December is the worst time to look for a job, but experts say not to despair. There are steps you can take immediately to set yourself up for a job offer in early 2023—or possibly even before the year ends.

“There are still companies that need to make hires,” says Dan Kaplan, a senior client partner in Korn Ferry's CHRO practice. Job offers often slow down because companies assume candidates won’t be willing to make a move in December, but that doesn’t mean hiring managers aren’t looking for talent, he says.

Many job candidates have landed new opportunities quickly during the fourth quarter of the year, says Alyson Federico, a Korn Ferry Advance coach. “Often companies need to use up their budget before end of year, or are looking to ramp up a new project,” she says.

Even if a company isn’t prepared to make any hiring decisions until early 2023, the best time to get in front of decision makers is now, says Deepali Vyas, global head of Korn Ferry’s FinTech, Payments and Crypto practice. Here’s what our experts recommend if you need to conduct an emergency job search in December.

Network, network, network.

December might actually be the best time to network, because holiday parties offer a prime opportunity to get in front of someone you might not normally be able to speak with, Vyas says. “Be a plus-one at holiday parties, because you never know what will come of it,” Vyas says.

Don’t limit yourself to friends’ holiday parties. Most professional associations also host holiday events, Federico says.

Federico recommends using holiday cards to let people in your network know you’re looking for new opportunities. “It’s a good way to warm up relationships, especially if you haven’t talked with someone in a while,” she says.

Identify headhunters.

Spend time researching firms and recruiters in your industry, Kaplan says. However, before reaching out, carefully read their bios to make sure they actually make placements in your field and in roles at your level, he says. If they don’t, you can ask if they would be willing to connect you with someone at their firm who does. If any of your friends have recently changed positions, ask for the name of the headhunter they worked with, he says.

Consider working at a start-up.

If you’ve been laid off from a larger tech company, there are many start-ups that need your talent, Vyas says. “If you’re willing to take a hit on compensation, there are many supercool companies that are building things and are dying for talent,” she says. A start-up might provide more long-term benefits, including equity and the ability to be engaged with something new, she says

Update your LinkedIn.

Make sure your LinkedIn profile provides relevant information about your recent accomplishments. “Consider listing three facts about what you’ve done and the impact you’ve made,” Vyas says. Or post a thought-leadership piece on LinkedIn or Medium to show that you’re still engaged with the industry. “There are small things you can do that will highlight your experience and the reasons why recruiters should take a look at you,” she says.

Deal with your emotions.

Being laid off can stir up many emotions, so before you head out for a job interview, practice how you will discuss your last job to avoid giving the recruiter a negative impression. “Spend as little time as possible on that pain point,” Federico says. For instance, you could say, “My position was eliminated, but it came at a good time because I’m ready to do something new” or “It’s been time for me to look for new opportunities, and I’ve come to a good point in my career to do that.”