Laid off - what to do?

So, short story of my life

  • Based in continental Europe;
  • MSc in target university. Always have massive interest for real estate;
  • Ended up in a top development shop in my country, doing acquisition and AM;
  • Laid off after 3 years - now getting depressed at home for the last 4 months;
  • Local market is super small and basically stagnant. Some AM roles available in companies with "worse" reputation than my ex firm; 
  • Trying sooooo hard to move to London to preserve what's left of my career. I have a recruiters' pokedex in my mind, I've reached out to basically all of them. Same with all my contacts - nothing happened;
  • Had some interviews but couldn't get the job because;
  1. No sponsorship. 
  2. No pan-European experience (no shit, don't know where you can have pan-European exposure if you're not in the UK)
  3. For REIB roles, no REIB experience. Fair enough there, nothing to argue
  4. Limited asset class exposure in my former role (e.g. no exposure to logistics or office)
  5. I fear that being unemployed may be seen as a red flag for someone;

Any suggestions? I'm 27, don't think it makes sense to pursue a MSc in London (and I don't have money for an MBA). 

Open to provide more details. Not that I'm expecting life changing suggestions, it was just about lashing out

Danke (edit: I'm not actually from Germany, I just like to say Danke)


Hey there, I'm sorry to hear about your situation. It's tough, but remember, it's just a phase and it will pass. Here are a few suggestions based on the most helpful WSO content:

  1. File for Unemployment: If you haven't already, file for unemployment. Every dollar helps and depending on what country you live in, you can get some decent benefits for a few months to help pay the bills while you job search.

  2. Update Your Resume and Start Applying: Take a day or two to relax and clear your head. Update your resume if not already updated, and start applying. Set a goal for yourself, apply to a certain number of jobs per day.

  3. Networking: If you can squeeze in a little networking now, go for it so that you're well-positioned to know about and apply for openings when people focus on work a little more.

  4. Reach Out to Old Colleagues and Friends: You’d be surprised which of your old colleagues and friends might put your CV in another shop or back at a bank.

  5. Set Your Expectations: Given the current situation, the interviews etc might be a lot slower than usual. If you’ve been prudent, you have enough savings to get you through at least 6 months without having to move back to your parents' place.

  6. Stay Open-Minded: Don't be close-minded. Given the situation, you might have to consider roles that you wouldn't have previously.

Remember, getting laid off absolutely sucks but it's not the end of the world. Use this time to get your head on straight, blow off some steam, and reset. You've got this!

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.

Which market are you based in?

London market is very difficult right now and costs make it incredibly prohibitive. If you can speak German (guessing since you ended your post in Danke), Frankfurt/Berlin/Munich all have a decent offering of Pan-European investment managers. There are very limited acquisitions or new developments going on, you can always consider sharpening your teeth on the asset management side. But given you say you have no exposure to logistics/office, you should selective search managers in the asset class you have experience in, or be prepared for questions on why you are interested in switching / and do your home work.


I'm admittedly not familiar with how this works in Germany, and if you'd be "punished" more for having a big gap or an inferior job on your resume, but I think this comes down to three things: 

1. Do you need the money? If so, take one of those lesser AM roles. That at least removes on stressor and lets you focus on finding the next job. 

2. You mentioned getting depressed. Is your mental health in the trash from having nothing to do? If so, take one of those lesser AM roles. If you're in a bad place, you're not going to come across as well to potential employers. The AM role will get you out of the house and give you a purpose. 

3. If you're in a good enough place financially and mentally, your full time job is now networking and job hunting. It isn't something you just do for an hour or two a day. You're going to be doing it for 8 hours. If you literally run out of people to contact, you spend the next hour brainstorming about how to get in touch with other people, and then you contact them, or you research random prospective employers' entire business model on the off chance that they email you for an interview. This is your job now and if you are good enough at it, you get "promoted" to actually getting paid. Also, it's a great time to work on your fitness. You're probably in a better default place than us Americans, but everyone's fitness slides when you're working full time. Now's a great time to get back to that and it'll help release positive endorphins. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Hi, thanks for commenting

  1. Luckily I am not in the urge for money, I can economically resist for a few months
  2. Staying at home it's boring and depressing, there's not much to do. My fear is that, by accepting some "inferior" job, my CV will be ruined and in the future I will be cut off from some opportunities. Ideally I'd like to try to aim for something decent for the next month, then downgrade if there's nothing 
  3. I understand the importante of networking, but how do you actually do it? I mean, how should I approach people? Any direct suggestions? 
Most Helpful

I understand the importante of networking, but how do you actually do it? I mean, how should I approach people? Any direct suggestions? 

Great question. Again, some of this may be cultural, but in the States at least it's the same process of making a new friend or picking up a girl. You have to contact them, make a connection, and then form a relationship. 

For making a friend, you might be at a bar and see someone wearing a shirt of your favorite team. You buy them a beer, talk for a few minutes about the team, and then say "Hey you like football. I like football. Do you want to go to the match this afternoon?" You have similar interests. Maybe you'd enjoy doing those interests together. 

Picking up a girl, maybe you're at a club and not really feeling the music, and you notice a hot girl looking at you who isn't really feeling the music, so you go up to her and make a joke about the music and see if she wants to go do something else. You know she's interested because she was checking you out and you're assuming you have something in common - that neither of you really want to be there but you don't have anything better to do...yet. 

For networking, you're reaching out to someone in the industry, who you already know has something in common with you because you are in the same industry, and you're asking to get coffee (or something) and talk about their experience. 

"Mr. X, my name is Hans Gunter and I previously worked for German Development Co. I saw the article written yesterday about your mixed-use project in Downtown Munich and thought it was interesting you decided to go with [X architectural style] and include [Y niche use]. I am interested in connecting to discuss Bavarian Development Co. and any opportunities that may exist at your firm. Are you available for coffee next week?" 

Maybe most people you reach out to will ignore you, but some won't, and if they're willing to talk to you, that means that some part of them is genuinely interested in who you are and in the back of their mind, they're thinking if you may be a worthwhile hire. Even if they don't have any opportunities, you can ask them if there are any other people they know and are close to who you should also reach out to, and maybe they can make an introduction. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

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