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4 Things To Do Right Away When You Get Laid Off

A layoff can be a shock.

It’s normal to have a range of emotions including anger, sadness and even relief.

An abrupt change might make you wonder how to proceed and remain productive without the routine of work.

Here are four things you can do right away to assess your situation and determine your next steps.

1. Take a beat.

You’re between jobs, and it may be an urgent priority that you have, for financial reasons or others, to find something new now. But, depending on your specific situation, this might also be the perfect moment to devote time to an area you've been too busy to prioritize.

Maybe that's spending a little extra time with family and friends, becoming proficient in a new skill, or funneling more resources into your side hustle. The silver lining of unemployment is that it can be a great excuse to stretch your legs a little.

Pause for a moment to evaluate what this time off could mean and identify your top priorities. You have the power to decide your next move. If you rush to land anything to avoid being without a job for too long, you may end up looking for your next move again sooner rather than later, or you may regret focusing solely on your search instead of enjoying the downtime.

2. Perfect your pitch.

What problem do you solve? When talking about your next move, it can feel more comfortable, and is often easier for people to understand what you do when you talk in terms of the problem you solve or solutions you offer.

For example: "I work with small businesses to streamline processes and introduce procedures where there were none before." This approach allows you to offer a solution, rather than just asking for a job.

Also, consider how you’ll talk about your layoff while keeping the tone forward moving. You’ll want to start on a positive note by sharing what you did well or enjoyed at the company, then mention the position elimination. Promptly follow up with what you’re looking for in your next role so the conversation continues effortlessly with a focus on the next move rather than the layoff.

3. Activate your network.

Whether you’ve let your relationships and networking efforts lapse or kept them up to date, it’s time to make sure you’re on people’s minds and that they can keep an eye out for opportunities for you.

Ensure that friends, family members, and contacts know that you’re on the market and how you provide value to companies. Oftentimes layoffs come in waves. Look at the people who were in any previous waves and where they are now working. Those contacts might have openings on their teams.

It’s also a good practice to partner with former colleagues who are looking for complementary, not competitive, roles. You might come across opportunities for which they are qualified and vice versa.

A good place to start is on LinkedIn. Hopefully, you’ve been keeping up with professional contacts via this social media platform. From here, you can easily interact with people you’ve crossed paths with over the course of your professional career. This is a great place to start activating your network.

4. Refresh your resume.

Once you start your job search and activate your job seeker network, it’s very likely that employers will start to ask for your resume pretty quickly. Ensure that you have something ready to share. Make sure your most recent employment experience is included and update any industry jargon that may have changed since you last refreshed this document (because for many, it could be years.)

Layoffs are more common than most of us realize and oftentimes propel people into better and more exciting roles. Try your best to focus on what’s next and stay positive. These four steps will set you up for success right away.


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