Getting laid off, especially unexpectedly, can cause a lot of stress and concern. How quickly will you find a new job? How will you explain that you just got laid off to a prospective employer? Where do you look for a new job? How do you start the job search process?
These are all valid questions. Millions of people have experienced being laid off from work, so you’re not alone. Below are seven tips focused on what to do when laid off to help you quickly land your next job.
If you just got laid off, take care of necessary housekeeping items (like researching unemployment benefits and continuing health insurance coverage, for example) and then give yourself a moment to catch your breath. It will help you go into your job search with a clear head. As you take a day or two to process what happened, you can create a checklist with the help of this article. Your lay off checklist can support you in moving forward and having a plan for finding a new position.
Now that you’ve given yourself a brief period to process the fact that you just got laid off, it’s time to officially start your job search process. Make a list of companies and positions you might be a good fit for and start searching online for openings.
If you’re searching during a tight job market with limited opportunities, think about the transferable skills and experience you have that might be applicable to other industries. There are also free online career assessments to help you take a fresh look at your strengths, values, and interests.
As you’re searching for jobs, you should simultaneously be updating your resume so it’s good to go when you’re ready to apply. First, ensure you’re using a modern resume format that will best serve your unique background and career goals. Next, check each section of your resume to confirm that it has your latest and greatest information while thinking about which details could be removed based on how relevant they’ll be to your audience.
On a similar note, each time you submit your resume for a new position, it should be modified as appropriate to align with that role. One way to do this is to pull keywords from the job posting that fit your experience and abilities, and naturally incorporate them into your resume. Your cover letter should also be tailored to the company and position.
As you update your resume, you also want to take a look at your professional social media accounts. It’s common practice for companies to conduct online searches of candidates, so be sure to polish your profiles, get an updated headshot if necessary, and remove anything you don’t want potential employers to see. Actively engage your network on social media as well by making connections and engaging in discussions related to your field.
Practice responding to common interview questions, especially if it’s been a while since you last looked for a job. It can be nerve-racking to figure out how to talk about being laid off while networking or during a job interview, though a question will undoubtedly be asked about it. Have a short, honest, and succinct response to share that ends on a positive note. For example:
“My company went through a downsize during the recent recession, and the majority of my team’s positions were the first to go. I’m grateful for the experience I gained while employed there, and am now excited to now have the opportunity to take my career in a new direction.”
Reach out to your network of contacts (via social media as mentioned above or other avenues) and let them know that you’re currently job searching and what you’re interested in. It’s also great to offer support from your end as well. For example:
“Hi, Jim. I’m currently in the market for a new job, and I’m open to positions in social media marketing and communications. If you see something you think I might be interested in, I’d appreciate it if you could pass it along. And, if there’s anything I can do to support you at this time, please let me know. I’m happy to do what I can.”
As you’re searching jobs and pursuing interviews, consider any skill gaps you might have or credentials that might make you more marketable when a recruiter looks at your resume. Check out free and low-cost online courses in your industry to gain valuable skills.
Grief, anxiety, and anger are all common emotions that follow being laid off from work, but it happens to the best of us and can be overcome with the right action plan. Follow these steps to know what to do when laid off from work so that you can land a new job sooner than later.