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Laid off! Should I apply to B-school/Graduate School? 0

Did you lose your job due to layoffs in your field of work? Whatever the reason, it is a great opportunity to take stock of your career. The following paragraphs contain a few different scenarios and recommendations for you.

3 Different Scenarios for Unemployed Applicants

  1. I loved my work

    Lucky you! In this case, you have several options:

    • Try to find a similar job in another company. Network with your friends from college or peers at companies that may be hiring to uncover job leads.
    • Strengthen or broaden your skills by taking online courses, or advance your skills and opportunities by applying to graduate school. An advanced degree could help you gain more responsibility and earn a higher salary in a field you love.
  2. I’m ready for a completely different challenge and career direction
    • Your layoff is presenting an opportune time to pursue a degree in a different field and facilitate your career change by preparing you for this new field. Business school could offer you multiple options for advancement. Or if, for example, you were a software engineer maybe you are thinking about further training in ML or AI or data science.
  3. I don’t know what I want, but I know I don’t want to do what I was doing
    • Seek career coaching to gain direction and focus.
    • Depending on your clarified career goals, graduate school can prepare you to make the move to your new field and achieve that new goal.
    • Find a position that moves you towards your new direction while also testing out whether it’s really right for you and providing valuable experience.

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How to improve acceptance chances when unemployed

If you are considering graduate school, think about the timing. If there isn’t sufficient time to submit a quality application for the next entering class, delay applying until the following year. Whether applying this cycle or waiting until next cycle, there are steps you can take while unemployed to enhance your application and chances of acceptance.

  • Visit with current students at schools you are considering and learn more about the program as well as their experiences. Make an appointment with the admissions office for a brief conversation about your background and goals. Attend admissions events. Follow the programs on social media.
  • Search for a position that moves you closer to your post-MBA or post-MS goal and gives you experience that a desired future employer will value.
  • Volunteer with organizations that could use your skills. You will gain valuable experience and have more content for your resume, essays, and interviews.
  • Network with friends and colleagues and ask if you could work on a temporary project with their company. If any of your friends own start-ups, you could offer your time and skills at reduced or no-expense to the company.
  • If you would like to start your own company, you could use this time to write a business plan.
  • Be creative and develop your unique list of options!

Graduate schools will appreciate that you used your time wisely. You will want to be honest about your situation—what resulted in the job loss and what actions have you taken since? If you lost your job as part of a large layoff during a time of increasing layoffs, the schools will want to know what you’ve done since the layoff, but they won’t “hold it against you.”

NEVER lie about a layoff. Don’t even think about omitting it or fudging employment dates. Being part of a massive layoff especially during a period of increasing layoffs will not reflect negatively on you. That’s why Kellogg and MIT Sloan are rolling out the red carpet for recently laid off tech workers.

However every few years we encounter an applicant who wasn’t accurate about a period of unemployment. They “accidentally shrank” a period of unemployment or “omitted” it entirely. The result? They either had their acceptance revoked or almost revoked.

Again, NEVER lie about a layoff.

With so many changes in the world of admissions, why not get expert guidance that is tailor-made for you? Accepted has on-staff coaches for career decision-making as well as consultants to facilitate the graduate school application process. Don’t go it alone! Check out our Career Coaching and Advising services here!

View our catalog of grad admission services!

In her 30 years of career and admissions experience while serving as the former Director of Cornell University Career Services and Cornell Johnson’s Career Management Center and as a Career Coach at Cornell’s College of Engineering, Dr. Karin Ash has facilitated students’ entry into the world’s best companies. As a member of the adcom, she also evaluated applications. She knows what schools and employers seek. And she can help you present it. Want Karin to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!

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