12 Things to do if You've Been Laid Off
You may not have seen this coming and it can really be shocking when it happens. Once you get over the shock, you will likely experience a range of emotions: anger, panic or depression. In order to get back on track, focus on what you can do to start your job search and get back in the game. And, remember, being laid off is different than being fired, which is usually tied to your personal performance on the job. Lay offs happen for all sorts of business reasons that 1) you may not even be aware of and 2) might very well have nothing to do with your capabilities as a professional.
1. First of all, don’t do anything right away. Depending on your current financial situation, take a break for a few days (or weeks) so you don’t have a “knee-jerk” reaction you might regret. You may be dealing with some strong emotions and not be in the best place to start talking to recruiters or networking with colleagues.
2. Delete any sensitive info. As soon as you get the news, remove any personal information from your computer and your desk, locker, etc. Keep any contact information, performance reviews or anything you might need for your job search.
3. Talk to your HR Department. Find out what severance packages might be available, what will happen with your benefits and get a formal letter of layoff. You’ll need that for unemployment insurance.
4. Call someone you trust. Talk to someone who will support you and remind you of your successes, be positive and empathetic. You really don’t need “job advice” right now. Find someone who can help boost your morale level.
5. Apply for Unemployment Insurance ASAP – it’s a pain, but it’s worth it. You’ve likely been paying for it, so take advantage of it. For information about how to apply and what you need to bring with you, click here.
6. If you have student loans, contact your loan servicers. You may be eligible for student loan forbearance that will give you a short break from those payments, even though you may continue to accumulate interest.
7. Get your application materials ready for the job market. Time to update your resume and figure out how you’ll discuss the circumstances of your layoff. Prepare a brief statement that mentions how you enjoyed your work at the previous company and discuss the business reasons that led to the layoff. Whatever you do, do NOT bad-mouth your former employer.
8. Clean up your social media accounts. Remove any photos or comments that don’t reflect the image you want to present. New employers will be searching your online presence and you want to put your best foot forward.
9. LinkedIn is your friend. When you find a position you’d like to apply for, see if you know anyone that can make an introduction or share insight into the company. Keep your profile up to date and anytime you make a business contact, add them to your network.
10. Develop a plan of action. Figure out how much time each week you’ll spend looking for jobs online, going to networking events and reaching out to former colleagues and friends. Make sure you build in some “downtime” doing something you enjoy to relieve stress. It’s important to remain upbeat and positive during your new job search.
11. Let everyone know that you’re looking for work. There’s no shame in being laid off. It happens and people understand that. You may be surprised at how many people will step up to help you.
12. Keep your eye on the big picture. Getting laid off is no one’s idea of a good time, but it could lead to something much more interesting and get you moving in a different direction or to a better situation. This change may be a great opportunity that takes you to the next level in your career.