As the world advances, positions, departments, even whole companies and industries are replaced with new, more technologically advanced businesses. Getting laid off is a natural consequence of progress; you’re not to blame.
And you’re not alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 1.5 million people are laid off each year. Suddenly being without your main activity can be shocking. At first, you might make lists upon lists of tasks you suddenly have the time and capacity to do, but with a glance at your bank account, that feeling evaporates.
The loss of your job is one of those negative life experiences. But you will be okay! Your first “job” when getting laid off is to step back and set yourself up for success going forward.
1. Take Time to Mourn
There are plenty of things to miss about your position. Coworkers you were specifically close with, a comfortable company culture, office perks, and maybe even that person who would occasionally get on your nerves.
Don’t feel silly if you progress through the 5 stages of grief. It’s okay to feel the loss of your job. Instead, embrace the feelings and work through them with loved ones or a professional.
2. Assess Your Finances
One of the first questions you had when you received your pink slip was “How am I going to afford my expenses?” It should be a concern, but with careful assessment, you will be able to survive until starting a new job.
To begin assessing your finances, review your expenses for the last few months. Calculate your utility, rent/mortgage, insurance, and other necessary budget items to determine how much you have to spend each month. Next, look at your “wants”. These budget items usually have cheaper alternatives, or can be omitted entirely. For instance, if you stopped at a pricey coffee shop before work each day, try brewing some at home. Consider downgrading your gym membership, or temporarily shifting to your local recreation center or working out for free at a nearby park. Reducing small expenses gives you a financial cushion in case the job hunt takes longer than you anticipated.
3. Take Care of Yourself Physically and Emotionally
Even without the daily trials of the workplace, life is still stressful. It’s easy to stay at home for days on end scouring job boards, eating ramen, and not bothering with a shower. If you feel a frown pulling at your mouth just reading this sad scene, keep in mind the importance of self-care when working on your job search.
Be sure to use self-care techniques that treat both your body and mind. Experiment with stress-relieving techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and even working out. By keeping up with your self-care, you feel better and be more confident. That means you’ll present better for job applications and interviews.
4. Reach Out to Your Network
When forced to leave an organization quickly, preserve the professional relationships your position fostered by continuing communication with your colleagues. This, along with your broader network, are some of the best ways to gain information on new positions. After all, one of the strongest types of candidates to an HR team is an employee referral.
5. Update Your Resumé to Reflect Results
In your newfound downtime, you should reflect on the knowledge gained from your position. A great way to do this is by updating your resume with your tenure, skills, and professional takeaways from the job you recently held. One of the best things to focus on when updating your resumé is the progress of the company and results that were your responsibility.
Upload your results-focused resume to career sites like LinkedIn and Indeed, and update your profile. This way, recruiters and other hiring professionals see your experience and the impact you could have at hiring companies. Be sure to list yourself as open to new opportunities, so recruiters can reach out to you with viable new positions.
6. Take Skill-Related Classes
Working 40+ hours a week does not allow you many opportunities to expand your knowledge outside of the skills you immediately need for work-related responsibilities. Take time to foster professional skills, diving deeper into opportunities for you to grow into and beyond your role.
One cheap option to grow your skills is at your local community college. Adding new skills demonstrates you’re using your time wisely and are eager to apply your newfound knowledge in a new role.
7. Work With a Recruiter
When in a comfortable position, messages from recruiters or staffing firms seem silly. Why would you entertain the idea of changing jobs? But it’s a recruiter’s job to find a match between candidate and hiring company. Reach out to reputable staffing firms to learn about positions they’re looking to fill.
Don’t be afraid to talk to a recruiter, either. They will take time to get to know you, your skills, and the type of team you work well with. Then, they can keep an eye out for fitting opportunities at the companies they work with.
8. Keep a Positive Outlook
Your job search might wear on, but try to keep your spirits up. Self-care, as mentioned above, helps improve your mood. Maintaining a positive outlook means believing in yourself and that you will find a new position that fits your skills.
Positivity allows you to stand up straighter, sound better in phone interviews, and present your best self. That self is the person companies want to hire.
9. Consider Part-Time Work
In the interim, consider assuming a part-time role. Not only will this earn you some money, but you’ll also keep up a routine, and maintain your good workplace habits. Staying busy will also increase your interactions with people, boost your resume, and encourage your positive perspective.
What Not To Do
1. Don’t Look at the Layoff as a Personal Failure
Remember, a layoff is not your fault. The entire company could be downsizing, shifting strategies, or improving their technology. No matter the reason for the layoff, you are not to blame.
Keeping this in mind allows you to focus forward and assume your next position with confidence.
2. Don’t Talk Badly About Your Former Employer
Since losing your job was not your fault, it may be tempting to blame many factors of your former employer. But bashing the company does nothing but hurt your personal professional brand and foster feelings of resentment. It’s best to take the experiences you had as learning ones, improving yourself, professional conduct, and business knowledge from how your former employer operated.
3. Don’t Hide Your Situation from Family and Friends
Feeling embarrassed or ashamed of your sudden unemployment is bound to happen. But do not isolate yourself from your support network of family and friends. These people care about you and your well-being, so hiding the truth from them puts a strain on relationships of the utmost importance to you. Instead, be transparent and tell them what’s going on. If you have friends or family who will worry, keep them up to date on your job search and let them know if their worry is creating a negative environment for you.
Keeping these tools in mind, you’ll be able to quickly bounce back from being laid off.
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