You’ve Lost Your Job: 5 Things SEO Professionals Need To Know

This sucks.

You’re likely feeling a combination of anger, fear, and possibly even doubting your SEO skills at the moment.

I know, I’ve been there.  It’s one of the main reasons I operate SEOJobs.com.

Before we get into the goodies of this post I want to iterate that it will be OK. You will find another job and hopefully, the reason you lost your previous role will only make you stronger in your future roles.

Let’s jump into this. Five things that SEO professionals need to know if (or when) they lose their job.

Please note that this post is written with US-based employment in mind. Employment /HR laws + practices will vary depending on your location.  I am also not an employment lawyer, nor do I attempt to play one on TV. 


1. Process What Happened

If your situation is anything like mine it goes like this.  You’re called into the office and the news of your departure is shared fairly quickly.  HR and/or Manager will quickly jump into the exit process that typically includes the timeline (often immediately), any severance being offered, exchanging of belongings, and potentially signing a release of claims (we’ll talk about this more)

For most people, this is a very emotional situation to be in.  My best advice is to talk less and listen. You’re going to have a lot of questions and ten times as many emotions. You may be tempted to try to justify/argue why you should keep your job but in 99% of the situations, the decision is final.

Take a deep breath. DO NOT sign any paperwork and remove yourself from the situation until you have a moment to process the situation.  Ask who you can reach out to follow up with any questions/concerns.

 

2. Severance/Benefits

Give yourself 24 hours to think through the feedback that was provided to you.  During your dismissal, your HR/manager may have discussed severance and when your benefits (mainly healthcare) will expire.

It’s fairly common for companies to offer you a severance based on your length of employment and/or contributions to the company. The general rule of severance is 1 or 2 weeks of pay for every year of service at the company.  This, however, is not legally required and may depend on the reason your employment is being terminated.

If severance and or benefits expiration was not communicated to you or you don’t have it in writing, this would be the time to reach out and have it provided to you.  Many companies with formal HR teams will have this emailed to your personal email shortly after your dismissal.

Please note that in many situations a severance package will be contingent on you signing a release of claims (no bashing the company/leaders, talking about your dismissal, or your severance package).

 

3. Signing Legal Documents and Unemployment

As mentioned previously, severance/benefits will likely be contingent on signing legal documents often releasing the business of any liability tied to your employment/termination

It’s in your best interest to read through any legal docs closely.

Some agreements are straightforward in the sense that by receiving X dollars, you won’t sue the company for wrongful termination. Others can require you not to share your experiences/opinions with anyone in-person or online etc.

Some less-than-stellar employers may try to have you sign a document saying that you are resigning or waiving your rights to unemployment.  This is just one reason why it’s important to not sign any documents during the initial dismissal conversation.

This is also the time to understand the fine details of severance. Will it be paid all at once or over X pay periods? Do you have any stocks/options? You’ll want clarification on the vesting/maturity of these as well.

The decisions you make here can have big impacts. Please do your research.

 

4. Non-Compete Agreements*

Non-compete agreements are legal documents most employees sign contingent on accepting employment at a company.  Companies tend to waive these around and attempt to enforce them with any and all employees leaving a company.

This non-compete typically asks you to comply with three major requirements:

  1. You will not share/take any proprietary technology, data, or information outside of the company.
  2. You will not solicit or attempt to take business or talent away from the company (most relevant for SEO agencies)
  3. You will not leave the company to work for direct competition.

Upon your termination, it’s very likely your HR/Manager will remind you of this agreement. You can’t do much about it now but it will serve as a reminder to read this closely in your next SEO role.

It is to your benefit to ask for a copy of this and ask if the company plans to enforce it (my company at the time let me out of #3 but made it clear that #1+2 wasn’t negotiable).

*Note that most non-compete agreements aren’t enforceable. That doesn’t mean, however, that your employer can’t attempt to sue you or otherwise make your life a bit miserable. 

 

5. Prep For Your Next Role (How To)

Getting let go from your job in an emotionally charged event. My advice is to not drag it out any longer than you need to.  Review the paperwork, consult a lawyer (if necessary) make your decisions, and move forward with your next employment opportunity.

Below are just a few additional steps to help you get back on your feet.

Update Your Resume

It’s time to dust off your resume.   Add new clients you’ve worked with, technologies /tools you’ve implemented in addition to new management experiences you’ve gained.

Update Your Social Media

When was the last time you updated your Linkedin Profile? Now would be the time to give it an update.  Jessica Foster wrote a great post about optimizing your profile.

Seek Your Next SEO Opportunity

It goes without saying that you are already signed up for the weekly SEOJobs.com email list. Right?  Well, just incase, you can sign up below.

SEOJobs Email

In addition to SEO jobs, below are a few more resources to help you with your job search.

  • SEOForHire – Recruiting services exclusively within the SEO pace.
  • Remoters.net – Not specific to SEO but a great space for remote first jobs
  • Linkedin/Indeed – I started this website due to the horrible user experience these big job boards provide SEOs. However, the reality is that they have the largest inventory of jobs.

I kicked off this post sharing a link to my personal experience of being terminated from my SEO role. I have so much empathy for those who go through this experience.

My dedication to the SEO industry is to continue to make SEOjobs as big as possible. I appreciate everyone’s love and support. If you know someone who is between jobs, please do them (and me) a favor by sharing this post with them.

Best of luck with your next SEO Job!

~ Nick