14 Things to Do After a Layoff
In 2022, 15.4 million workers were laid off from their jobs in the U.S.
28% of Americans have experienced layoffs in the last two years alone, and 48% report having layoff anxiety.
It’s no wonder. Tech layoffs have continued into 2023, and slowing growth has triggered fears of a looming recession. Your job may very well be safe, but the lack of stability is still concerning.
If you have been laid off, note that losing your job is a challenging experience. Whether you saw it coming or the layoff took you by surprise, the experience can be very stressful.
But in most cases, being laid off isn’t a sign of anything you did or didn’t do. And it’s important to remember that losing your job is not the end of the world. This article will list 14 things to do after a layoff:
1. Take time to process your emotions.
Layoffs can be very emotional. If your finances allow, give yourself some time to grieve—to feel the anger, sadness, or confusion that may come up. Don’t suppress your feelings or pretend that everything is fine. It’s perfectly okay that you’re upset.
2. Revisit your career goals.
Take a few weeks to evaluate where you are in your career and where you see yourself over the next several years. Make a list of what you liked about your last job and what you hope to change in your next role. Consider your skills and interests, and set new goals.
3. Adjust your resume.
Make a few tweaks to your resume—or revamp it entirely if you feel ready to make a change. Make sure the document is current, and that it lists your most recent experience and skills. Then, tailor your resume to the next job you want by rewriting your objectives.
4. Update your LinkedIn profile.
Similar to your resume, you’ll want to make sure your LinkedIn profile is current. Take a careful look at your page, and confirm you’re listing your most recent experience and achievements. Don’t be afraid to make it clear you’re looking for new work.
5. Network with your community.
Eager to touch base with other people? Reach out to your personal and professional contacts—and let them know you are searching for your next position. Bonus points if you explore networking events and use LinkedIn to speak with others in your industry.
6. Consider further education.
With more time on your hands, you may choose to update your skills. If going back to school isn’t an option, consider enrolling in a course or obtaining a certification instead. There are plenty of programs that can boost your marketability.
7. Build your budget.
Even with a severance package, losing your job can be financially stressful. To avoid monetary strain, create a budget for living expenses and the occasional splurge. This will help you manage your money until you secure your next position.
8. File for unemployment.
If you are eligible for unemployment benefits, file promptly. (You can do so as early as the week you become unemployed.) These benefits will allow you to support yourself—and your family—while you search for your next position.
9. Consult a career coach.
Feeling lost post-layoff? You may want to meet with a career coach. A trained professional can help you pinpoint your strengths, clarify your goals, and help build a timeline for your job search. A single session or two may be well worth the investment.
10. Plan your job search.
There’s no (inherent) pressure to look for your next job right after you’ve been laid off. You should, however, set clear milestones. Develop a plan that will help you organize your job search. Set weekly and monthly goals, and track your progress.
11. Start applying for jobs.
Now that you’ve planned your search, you can start applying for jobs. Set your minimum salary, decide whether you’re open to relocating, and target roles that reflect what you’re willing to do. Aim to send out a certain number of applications each week.
12. Prepare for job interviews.
Once you start getting interview requests, research the company. You may also want to brush up on your interview skills. Consider conducting practice interviews with a partner or friend—and think about researching common interview questions.
13. Consider freelancing or consulting.
A freelancing or consulting role can help you earn money during your job search. You’ll gain experience, build skills, and even develop a loyal roster of clients. Some people enjoy freelancing and consulting so much, they decide to go all-in.
14. Create a routine.
To stay in a good headspace, follow a post-layoff routine. Take care of yourself by working out, eating well, and reaching out to your support network. Take weekends off from your job search if possible, and celebrate those small wins along the way.
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