Laid Off? Map Out Your Network in 5 Easy Steps

Follow these 5 steps to defining your power network and who will be there to support you! I have provided a free call script for you!

Because of the market, we are in with the downturn in oil and gas, a pandemic, and a general sense of malaise across the globe… we have to help each other. But when we say this, people don’t know what it means. What I mean in this case is that we have to get specific and clear about asking for help.

The first step is to map out your network. When it comes to looking for work, remember, it’s not what you know but who you know. If you are serious about this I promise you will see results from it. If you don’t, call me, let me know. I’ll personally help you.

Here are a few additional steps that speak directly to actions you can take to get employed as quickly as possible.  The theme of this is really about coming out as someone who is looking for work and connecting with your network no matter how big or small so that they know you are a job searcher and actively looking for work.

If you are struggling quite a bit with being laid off check out this advice on There are 100 things to do if you’ve been laid off.

First, Your Network Is Everybody You Know!

Do NOT assume who you think will be helpful…

I’m not kidding. Do NOT assume who you think will be helpful and who won’t. Instead, grab your cell phone contacts, LinkedIn, FaceBook, and email address book and write down the names of everybody you know.

You can do this electronically or on sticky notes. I like using sticky notes. The idea here is to see who is in your network.  We sometimes don’t think of our friends and families as part of our network but you never know where your next job will come from so be sure to put them down too.

Second, Establish Categories

Establish categories for identifying these relationships within the context of looking for work.  

For example, perhaps you start with identifying who are business owners themselves and who are in management; who is most connected to others; who will understand your situation the most; or perhaps you take the approach of categorizing in work/professional or home/personal or both relationships.

Essentially you want to consider who is most important for you to connect with FIRST in the context of you looking for work. You can move the stickies under each category, use a spreadsheet, or whatever!

Third, Double-Check Your Network List

Double-check your network list!

Now you have to double-check your network list. Here is why…

I am fairly confident that you may have prejudged whether or not a person is able to help you. Do not prejudge whether or not a person will be able or willing to help you.  Let them decide if they will help you or not.  Do not decide for them!!

I cannot emphasize this enough, I have had people who I thought would help me in my life and had nothing to offer (nothing against them at all, they just weren’t able to for whatever reason) and I have had people who I barely knew that created LIFE-CHANGING moments!

You must not be afraid to ask! So, double-check that list!

Fourth, Assess the Strength of Those Relationships

Now, within each category, you have created, assess the strength of each of these relationships from 0 to 10.  Start with the category that you intend to reach out to first. When you are rating them, 10 means that this is someone you can easily call upon to tell them you have been laid off and would like some support.  Zero means that this is someone the relationship isn’t as strong as it could be, someone you can still call, but they may not be your very first phone call.

We wanted to build your self-confidence by reaching out to these people so starting with those you are comfortable with will build your confidence.

Now reorder your stickies, list, or spreadsheet to place the highest ratings at the top of each category.

Finally, A Script: Start Making Phone Calls

Start at the top of the list in each category and start making phone calls.

First, you are going to go through the usual pleasantries and asked how he or she is doing, also ask them if this is a good time to chat. You could say something to the effect of:

“It is wonderful to chat with you again.  I am calling for a specific reason. I wanted to let you know that I have been laid off from my Engineering position with ABC Company. I am actively looking for work and am letting everyone in my network know. Would it be alright to chat with you about some possible connections that would be helpful for me? I promise not to make you do something you are uncomfortable with.”

When you get an affirmative response then say, “I’m specifically looking to be connected to [insert names of specific people, organizations you’d like to work for, etc.]. Are you familiar with any of these folks?”

If not, then say, “If you hear of any opportunities or know anyone you can connect me with I would be forever grateful.”  Give them an opportunity to respond, then say “Would it be alright if I checked in with you in one week’s time? I’d like to stay top of mind.”

If they do know them, then say, “Would you feel comfortable connecting with me? I can create a draft email introduction and I promise I won’t do anything to embarrass you. I won’t go in with my hand out looking for a job, I’ll simply use it as a further networking opportunity to ask them a few questions. What do you think?”

DO NOT ignore a connection made, even if it’s a crappy connection for you.

Based on how these people respond, decide who you need to spend more time with within your network.  Whatever actions or leads they provide you with, follow up with all of them! DO NOT ignore a connection made, even if it’s a crappy connection for you. Why? Because you want to keep your credibility high. You lose INSTANT credibility with someone in your network if you do not follow through.  

Come back to your map at regular intervals and update it.  Be sure to send hand-written thank you notes every time someone gives you their time.

During this time it’s important to not let feelings of shame or embarrassment get in the way.  All persons are at risk of being laid off at any time. The best advice I ever received from my boss is that you should have one bag packed at the door at all times because you never know.

Also, do not let your ego get in the way. Do not be afraid to hear the word “no”, it happens all the time. Don’t worry, just move on to the next person and wish this person well! Also, don’t be afraid to help them write an email introduction that they can send.

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