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What to Do after Being Laid Off

Getting laid off is a terrible experience, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s actually a chance to start fresh and take on new challenges. Here are some steps you can take after being laid off that will help you move forward with strength:

Don’t panic

  • Don’t panic. This is a common reaction to being laid off, but it won’t help you find the right job or negotiate a better deal at your next one. Take some time alone to process what’s happened and then move on with your life.
  • Consider getting professional advice from a career counselor or resume writer if you’re having trouble getting started on your job search because that may be more productive than sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike (which it rarely does).

Make sure you receive what you are suppose to receive

If you’ve been laid off, or if your company has gone out of business, you may be entitled to severance pay. A few weeks’ notice or even a month’s salary can help soften the blow of losing your job. But don’t count on it; some companies will cut you loose with nothing more than a handshake and a “good luck.”

If your employer doesn’t offer severance, seek out other sources of funds that might be available to you. If you received group health insurance that coverage could continue for up to 18 months by paying COBRA premiums (a federal law requires employers who provide group health insurance to their employees). There may also be other benefits (life insurance in case something happens to the remaining wage earner) which may help offset any financial hardship caused by unemployment. Be sure to have the contacts and information needs for your other benefits such as 401(K), stock options, and pension as applicable. 

Some employees will make payments for outplacement services when someone is laid off from their job (either voluntarily or involuntarily). This service can include resume writing workshops or online programs where people learn how best to present themselves during interviews so they have better chances of finding another job quickly!

Review the budget

  • Cut out unnecessary expenses.
  • Look for ways to get rid of recurring charges, like your daily coffee shop trip. If you have a landline, consider ditching it and just using your cell phone for voicemail.
  • Look for ways to save on utilities like electricity and gas. Do you really need that extra light bulb in the kitchen? Can you keep the thermostat set at a lower temperature during winter months?

Update your professional branding

Review and update your professional branding to reflect where you want to go. This includes your resume, LinkedIn profile, and cover letter. If you have an online portfolio, review this to update as necessary. 

Focus and practice your elevator pitch about yourself, why you are looking for a new position, and what you can bring to the new employer. This will help when you start receiving phone calls for interviews. 

Recenter your focus for the job search

Once you’ve had a chance to take some time and process the loss of your job, it’s time to figure out what you want to do next. There are two important questions you should ask yourself:

  • Do I want to stay in my industry and look for another job within my company?
  • Does this layoff open up opportunities for me elsewhere—a new field or location? If so, am I willing to make that change?

Utilize your network

After you’ve had the chance to process your emotions, it’s time to get back in the game and figure out what you need to do next. One of the best ways to do this is by leveraging your network. A strong connection can be a great asset when it comes to getting a job, so use them! The following tips will help you take advantage of your network and find new opportunities:

  • Use your connections to find out about job openings. Your contacts might be able to tell you about something that’s opening up at their company or another company they know about. Before asking for help, though, make sure that there isn’t a reason why they should turn down your request—for example, if there’s already someone else in line for the position (and let’s face it: people are more likely than ever before). If everyone agrees that this would be an excellent fit for both parties involved then go ahead with confidence!

Decompress and reward yourself for your hard work

After being laid off, it’s important to take a break and decompress. This is especially true if you have been working hard for your company. You deserve a reward! For example, consider treating yourself to a massage or going out for dinner with friends. It’s also important not to beat yourself up about the situation. Don’t drown in self-pity or wallow in fear—instead, focus on what your next steps should be (this will help keep things in perspective).

While you may not want help from people who don’t understand what you’re going through, sometimes asking for assistance can be beneficial—especially because some of them might offer ideas on how they’ve handled similar situations successfully before (and these might work well for you too). If that happens, don’t hesitate: ask away!

Develop your plan for the job search 

Try to make the most of your time by being efficient in each stage of the job search. If you have a hard time getting started in the morning, perhaps wake up 10 minutes earlier than usual and spend those extra minutes doing something that will help you get ready for work.

As far as applying goes: write down a list of companies where you really want to work first then narrow down which positions are available within those companies based upon your skillset and experience level (ie: entry level vs manager).

Getting laid off isn’t the end of the world; it’s the beginning of a new chapter with new opportunities

Losing a job is never easy, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. There are plenty of things you can do to land on your feet in no time. Here’s what you should do right after being laid off:

  • Don’t panic: Even though it feels like everything has been taken away from you, this is not the case. You still have your skills and qualifications, which means there are plenty of jobs out there that require exactly what you have to offer! Take some time to reflect upon these things before taking action next.
  • Stay positive: After assessing yourself for strengths and weaknesses, update your resume and LinkedIn profile with new information about any classes or certifications that might boost your chances in finding employment again quickly. While updating these documents may seem tedious at first glance—especially if they haven’t been touched in years—the process will prove helpful later when searching through job postings on sites like CareerBuilder or Monster Careers.*


If you’ve been laid off, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are many others out there who have also been let go from their jobs and can provide insight on how they coped with the experience. Take some time off before jumping right into job searching so that when it comes time to apply for positions again, you’ll be well rested and ready to go!

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