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7 Things to Do When You’re Laid Off

Whether you know a layoff is looming or didn’t see it coming at all, it’s never easy to receive a pink slip. However, it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone, and just because you lost your job doesn’t mean you’ll lose everything else.

As emotional as a layoff might be, stay level-headed and take the steps needed to move forward once you’re ready.

  1. Request Documentation – Go to Human Resources and ask for a layoff letter. This provides documentation that you were let go based on reasons outside your control, whether a company restructuring, economic downturn, or the like. It’s one thing to say you were laid off in future job interviews, and it’s another to prove it with a paper trail.
  2. Know What You’re Owed – Make sure you receive the proper amount you’re due and that deductions or 401k contributions are correct. How does your company handle unused PTO? If you get paid out for a certain amount, look for that.

It’s also good to know what to expect on the way out and what can help keep you financially afloat during a transitional period. Ask about severance packages and know the paperwork you need to file for unemployment. Employees in good standing and let go are qualified to receive unemployment.

  1. Revamp Resume – A layoff might present itself with many career questions. Should you change industries? Have your passions changed? Do you want more job flexibility in your next position? Use your resume as a tool to answer those questions for a future employer. Don’t forget to add to it what you accomplished in your most recent job.
  2. Audit Social Media Presence – Consider any digital presence as a representation of your brand. This is a great way to promote a consistent brand and connect with more people associated with the industries you’re interested in or your passions. In addition, you can’t underestimate the power of being digitally savvy when someone is willing to consider you as a potential new hire. If you don’t know where to start, LinkedIn is a great first step.
  3. Connect (or Reconnect) With Your Circle – Put your connections to work for you as you get closer to starting your job search. Come up with a list of people who can help accelerate your next job prospect, whether that’s your actual connections or their connections. If you don’t find success within your own circle, keep asking around and expanding your network.
  4. Research High-Demand Industries – Certain fields always need employees. For example, if you were someone interested in the healthcare field following the pandemic, the demand within that industry was at an all-time high. Think of trends or shifts in consumer behavior. For example, more people are investing in food and online delivery services. With this comes increased demand for drivers, supply-chain personnel, sales, and administrative employees within those industries.
  5. Start Job Search – Once you’ve processed the emotional and logistical changes that come with a layoff, it’s time to get your job search moving. If you start to feel anxious about having the layoff conversation with hiring managers, take comfort in knowing you have the layoff letter to prove you’re a quality employee, not someone kicked to the curb because of something within their control. And don’t jump at the first opportunity that comes your way if you’ll be settling. Know your worth and commit to finding a position that values what you bring to the table.

Have you been laid off? What was the best thing you did following the layoff, or what do you wish you had done differently? Join the conversation on LinkedIn. Also, check out What Should You Look For in a Job?