Layoffs are one of the hardest things we experience in our careers. After getting let go, most people feel embarrassed and worried that this incident will reflect poorly on them during their future job search. There’s also this overwhelming feeling of the unknown. Will I find another job? What if I can’t find a good opportunity and I just have to take the first available job to be able to keep paying rent?

I promise you that if you put in the effort and thoughtfulness, you will quickly recover from the shock and successfully embark on a new adventure. Prior to joining Smartcar, I was working at a different company, and I was impacted by a fairly large layoff. On the day I was laid off, I was surprisingly unconcerned by the fact that I had to leave my old job. However, I was completely overwhelmed by the idea of having to go out there and start looking for new opportunities.

As soon as I got home on that Tuesday morning, I didn’t veg out like people usually do after they lose their jobs. Instead, I ended up dusting, mopping, and vacuuming my entire apartment inside and out. Once I was done obsessing over the cleanliness of my home, I found a way to overcome my feeling of mental overload and to kick off my search for new opportunities.

Make a list

First, I grabbed a notebook and wrote down exactly what I was looking for in my future job. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Company under 50 people
  2. Challenge of being the first recruiter in the company
  3. Located in Mountain View, CA (I lived in Milpitas at the time, and Mountain View was the closest city with a lot of job opportunities.)
  4. Opportunity to host events (Tt was a deal-breaker for me if I didn't get to do this.)
  5. Company in a non-saturated industry
  6. Company with genuinely nice people

After writing this list, I started searching for companies and open positions.

Choose a tool

For my list, it was clear that I wanted to join a startup. Therefore, I went straight to AngelList. In case you aren’t familiar with this website, it’s a great tool to look for small to medium-sized companies and filter them by location, funding amount, number of employees, and types of openings.

Tip: To learn more about different job search tools, check out this blog post.

On AngelList, I filtered my search by location (Mountain View), Type (Startup) and Stage (Series A). I chose Series A as the funding stage because companies in the Seed funding stage don’t usually need a recruiting team yet, while companies in the Series B funding stage already have more than 50 employees.

AngelList generated a list of 16 companies that fit my criteria. I preferred to start with a narrow search and then broaden it up if I needed, rather than having an overwhelming number of companies to sort through.

Apply to the job

At the time when I was doing this search, Smartcar was the only company on the list that had a recruiting role open. So I applied on the website and connected with the founders on LinkedIn to show my interest!

Tip: Check out this blog post to learn more about how to stand out when applying to companies, and read this other post on how to nail the interview.

A few days after I applied, the team reached back out to me and scheduled a time for me to connect with the CTO and Co-Founder Sanketh.

When I chatted with Sanketh for the very first time, my mind started going through the list I had written at the beginning of my job search. I was able to check off all six bullet points, one after the other. It felt incredible to me that I had found an ideal opportunity without even knowing about the company just a few days before.

After meeting the whole team during my onsite interview, I knew that Smartcar was my dream company. Everyone was incredibly nice and welcoming. I remember calling my family and telling them that, if Smartcar offered me the job and needed me to start on a Saturday, I would accept right away because that's how excited I was about the company!

A couple of days later, I received this email:

Of course, I accepted the job offer, and I've been working at Smartcar every since. Two years later, I am so happy that I used my layoff as an opportunity to be thoughtful about what I wanted in my career. Sometimes, choosing your next step takes time and effort, but I promise you, it will be worth it. I found my perfect company (and second home) and I'm certain that you can, too!

I hope that this blog post will help you kick off your search in the right direction. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any insights or questions!