If you've been laid off from your job, there are several steps you can take to set yourself up for success in finding a new job. Layoffs and furloughs can be especially frustrating because they are caused by external factors, so it can be difficult to feel in control of your situation. Being proactive about your situation early on and taking steps to protect your financial and mental health can help you work through the stress of an unexpected career change.
In this article, we'll explain the most important steps to take after being laid off to adapt to change, find a new job and ultimately grow your career through overcoming challenges.
What to do after being laid off due to COVID-19
Once you've been laid off from your job, it is important to prepare a strategy for coping with being out of work by managing your finances and eventually finding employment again. Although being laid off can feel isolating, many people have gone through the process of recovering from a sudden layoff and there are plenty of resources available to help you take control of your situation.
Following these steps after losing your job can help you avoid recover from a layoff, allowing you to leverage the time as an opportunity for growth:
1. Confirm the details of the layoff.
2. File for unemployment.
3. Practice self-care.
4. Draw up a budget.
5. Reassess your goals.
6. Seek out a mentor.
7. Consider changing industries.
8. Treat your job search like a job.
1. Confirm the details of the layoff
Whether you had heard rumors about layoffs around the workplace or your layoff was a complete surprise, talking to your manager about the exact details of your layoff is the first step you should take. Being fully informed about your employment status can help you stay informed and plan ahead.
Ask whether you have been fully laid off or simply furloughed until economic conditions improve. Ask your employer for a transparent answer about the possibility of returning to work after a period of time. This can help you decide whether to look for a short-term job while waiting to be re-hired or begin searching for something long-term. If you were furloughed, you should also find out whether or not you will have benefits such as health insurance and how long those benefits will be available after your last day.
2. File for unemployment
Filing for unemployment right away can help ease the financial strain of losing your job. Some states might take several weeks to send out your first unemployment check, so you may be able to receive your benefits faster by applying as soon as you learn about your layoff. The process is different in each state, so don't be afraid to ask others for advice and instructions to navigate your state's application. To file for unemployment as quickly as possible, spend some time preparing all of the documents that might be needed, such as:
- Social Security number
- Banking information for direct deposit
- Employer contact information
- Dates of employment
Read more: COVID-19: Unemployment and Job Loss Support
3. Practice self-care
Once you've taken care of your unemployment application, it can be helpful to spend some time processing the state of your situation. It is important to spend time on relaxing activities you enjoy to de-stress, like journaling or talking with a trusted friend. It is normal to feel frustrated, sad and lonely after being laid off, especially if you loved your job and had a good support system at work. Practice affirmations by reminding yourself that the layoff was not your fault and that you still have access to the skills and qualities you used to excel at work and eventually find another job.
Related: How to Deal With Job Loss
4. Draw up a budget
Even if you already use a budget, you will likely need to make some financial adjustments while waiting for your unemployment benefits to come in. Make a list of all of your expenses, ranking them by importance. Create a timeline that estimates how long your savings would last if you couldn't find work right away or if your unemployment check got delayed. To give yourself extra peace of mind, eliminate non-essential expenses until you have the complete picture of how your layoff could influence your finances.
4. Reassess your goals
After being laid off, take your newfound free time to analyze your current career path. Make a list of the things that you enjoyed most about your job and a list of the things you would change at your next position if possible. An unexpected change can help you assess your priorities from a new perspective and could even give you the inspiration you need to pursue your passion or advance your current career path.
Related: Setting Goals to Improve Your Career
5. Seek out a mentor
After being laid off, it is important to remember that many other people are in the same situation as you, in addition to the people who have gone through layoffs during past periods of economic stress. Reach out to any experienced colleagues at your old job who you admire, or post on a professional social media site asking for advice. Building a relationship with a mentor can help you get guidance that is specific to your industry, while also having the added benefit of creating a place to vent and receive emotional support.
6. Consider changing industries
After a layoff, you might consider looking for resilient jobs in an industry that still has high demand, even during times of economic hardship. Look on job sites for the types of positions with the highest demand and compare those job postings with your current skill set. You may be able to apply your existing skills to a new line of work, at least temporarily, even if there aren't many jobs in the field you trained in.
Related: Companies Hiring During COVID-19
7. Treat your job search like a job
Once you feel confident about the types of jobs you want to pursue, set aside daily time for job searching activities. Treating your job search as if it was your full-time job can help you stay motivated to keep applying. Take regular breaks as you would at work, and talk with a friend about things you found challenging each week and things you're proud of accomplishing.
You can develop momentum by creating a regular schedule where you do different activities like editing your resume, looking for job postings and following up with past applications. It can also be helpful to set a daily application goal, rewarding yourself in small but meaningful ways when you've hit your goal.
Read more: The Essential Job Search Guide