What to Do After You've Been Laid Off

There are a lot of changes taking place in our post-pandemic world and nation-wide layoffs are on the rise. If the company you work for is facing financial challenges and planning to downsize, or if you’ve already been let go from your job, you’re probably feeling pretty anxious about what the future holds for you, your family and your career.

Change can be inherently scary, but there are a few simple steps you can take to mitigate the strain these situations can cause. So, just breathe and take it step by step.

Step One: Reframe Your Thinking. Keep an eye on your thought process. The most immediate relief you can provide for yourself and your loved ones is to reframe any negative thoughts you’re having about why you were (or might be) laid off. It’s easy to take these things personally and start to worry that you’ve messed up somewhere along the line or that other employers might not want to hire you if one organization didn’t want to keep you. But, the truth is, layoffs are more about the financial and future planning of the company than they are about the employees who get caught in the crossfires. If you find yourself wondering about your worth, take some time to inventory all the assets you bring to the table, meet up with friends and colleagues who can remind you of your valuable contributions, check out inspirational books or podcasts or go to a yoga class … in other words, take care of yourself and your mental health.

"Focus on companies that align with your values."
Step Two: Define Your Desires
Before tweaking your resume and sending it out to every organization you think you might be able to tolerate working for, take 24 hours to really define your desires. What kind of job would be truly fulfilling for you and also meet the financial needs of you and your family? What size organization are you interested in working with? Are you looking for a position with upward mobility? What sort of company culture would excite you? Are you willing to relocate? When you get clear on what you need to be and feel successful, it will be much easier to identify positions that hold true potential versus those that might be a waste of your time and energy.

Step Three: Do Your Homework
Now that you have a better idea of what you’re looking for in a position, you’re ready to start preparing your resume to submit to places that align with your values. At this pivotal point, don’t forget to do your homework. Read each job description carefully and check out the company’s online presence to collect some keywords you can include on your resume, as well as in your cover letter. This will help your application stand out in the stack.

Step Four: Set a Schedule
If you’ve already been laid off you’ve probably found yourself with an unusual amount of time on your hands and you may feel inclined to fill it with endless job hunting and resume re-writing, but this can quickly lead to overwhelm and burn out. Instead, try setting certain hours or days that are dedicated to sending off information, checking for responses from hiring managers and preparing for interviews. Not only will this save your sanity, it will provide a sense of accomplishment and forward momentum. If you haven’t been laid off yet, but are preparing for the potential, setting aside one hour an evening or a couple hours on the weekend to get your backup plan together will allow you to rest a little easier in the interim. ...

When you step back and take the time you need to regroup after an unexpected change, work out what excites you most for the future and really research ways to set yourself apart from the crowd, you’re certain to set yourself up for more success, less stress and hopefully the career of your dreams.