Marketing Yourself After an L&D Layoff

Five phases to help process and navigate through a layoff and turn it into an opportunity to leap into the next chapter of your career.

As someone who once defined myself by my career, being laid off was one of the most gut-wrenching things to ever happen to me. I prided myself on identifying as a Learning and Development (L&D) professional who was responsible for several large global training programs, a manager of a global training team, and forging a path into a new sector. I was reaching what I thought was a peak in my career.

Most days, I felt so safe because of the work I put out and the reputation I built—my “self brand.” However, in March 2023, I was part of a mass layoff that happened out of thin air (or at least, that’s what it felt like). Unfortunately, mass layoffs seem to have become the norm lately—for the first half of 2023, you couldn’t go on LinkedIn without seeing hundreds of new green banners in the feed. Sadly, the layoffs continue today.

In a sea of “#open to work” banners, marketing yourself is key. Anyone can say they are open to work or ready to work or need a job. As L&D professionals, if we are skilled in one area, it’s leading an audience on a journey where they learn something new in a captivating way. We are masters at marketing: Any training we build, we have to market because our success depends on it.


After my layoff, I found myself leaning into what I know. I have been showcasing and marketing myself the same way I would a new training program or project. I am used to brainstorming, building from scratch, experimenting/testing, executing, and following through on ideas and visions. So I applied these skills and techniques to myself.

I’ve been processing and navigating my layoff through the following five phases:

PHASE 1: Reflect and Reassess

  • Take some time to reflect on your journey in L&D, your skills, experience, and accomplishments. Identify your strengths and where you want to and can contribute the most value to your next organization.
  • Understand that the layoff was not personal but identify some reasons why your position/team may have been chosen to be eliminated and be prepared to address those reasons (i.e., the notion that “support teams” are integral or they can run lean).
  • Reflect on what you want to do next. Where do you see yourself? What is something you do/don’t want to do in your next job?
  • This is your chance to redefine, rediscover, and even refresh your career. It’s important to create boundaries for yourself and confidently know what you want. Create a list of negotiables and non-negotiables and keep it somewhere easily visible so you remember what you’re working toward.

PHASE 2: Craft a compelling story

Prepare a concise and engaging narrative about your journey. Explain why you’ve built your career in developing employees, why you’re committed to continuous learning, how your firsthand experiences have shaped your expertise, or what is now driving you. Be prepared to share this story in interviews, while networking, and even on your social media platforms. Your resume and LinkedIn profile can only show words, but you can control the emotions behind those words.

PHASE 3: Network, network, network

Now isn’t the time to be shy—have no shame! Leverage your professional network and the connections you made during your career. And connect with new people. Stay engaged within the community—attend events, seminars, or workshops that will keep you connected. Share your story with others and use your social platforms to benefit your brand.

PHASE 4: Keep a positive mindset

Try to surround yourself with positive-minded people who will willingly help you when you begin to feel flat or blue. Surround yourself with mentors, former coworkers, and professional connections. They will prompt you to remember your strengths and past achievements, and can be great sounding boards while you figure out what you want to do next. Be patient with yourself, the job market is intense right now. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed or not being positive, honor your feelings and take a hiatus.

PHASE 5: Be open

This time is about rediscovering yourself. Once you have decided on your negotiables and non-negotiables (i.e., the type of role you want, location, the work you will or won’t do, size of company, etc.), start opening yourself up to different opportunities. This could mean taking a step back, accepting a contract position to learn a new industry, volunteering some of your services to showcase strengths, or applying for a role that accentuates your transferable skills. Whatever it is, keep an open mind while doing it. Remember the saying, “An open mind will open doors.”


A layoff is just one chapter in your career journey. Lean into the notion that a greater opportunity awaits you. Take time to grieve and work through the loss of your job but don’t lose sight of what you bring to the table. The layoff can’t take away all the hard work you put in and the amazing things you achieved. Speak about your past experiences with a positive, grateful tone because they will always deserve to be celebrated. Take the layoff as an opportunity to leap into your next chapter—one that aligns with your goals and aspirations.

Talia Babel Jones
Talia Babel Jones is a former global Learning and Development manager from who was impacted by the mass layoffs of 2023. She is an enablement leader who jointly specializes in end-to-end learning journey program design and evaluation. She holds a passion for people management with an emphasis on diversity, inclusion, equity, belonging, and employee interest groups.