How to Bounce Back from a Layoff

It’s a conversation that nobody wants to have. You’re called into the conference room for a meeting that’s not on your calendar, only to see the head of HR sitting there with paperwork piled in front of them and it hits you — you’re getting the pink slip and are being let go. Whether you knew it was coming or you’re caught off guard, a layoff is a difficult situation for anyone to go through.

Despite the fact that nearly 1.5 million people are reportedly laid off annually in the U.S. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there’s no rule book written for how you’re supposed to react to a layoff.

While you might not be able to control a layoff, you can control how you react and bounce back.

What To Do When You Get Laid Off

If you’ve recently been laid off by your company, there’s a good chance you aren’t sure what your next move is. While it may feel like a setback, it’s the perfect time to change your mindset and look at it as a new opportunity. We’ve laid out some tips on what to do after a layoff to make sure you bounce back in no time.

1. Give Yourself Time to Mourn

If you’ve been a go-getter throughout your professional life, you might be eager to get back on the horse and start looking for new work. While it’s important not to waste too much time before beginning the new job search, it’s also important to take time to mourn the loss of your job. It can be a grieving process, and that’s okay!

The Kubler-Ross Model grief cycle states that there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It may take you some time to work through these five stages following a layoff, so it’s important to give yourself adequate time to accept the cards you’ve been dealt.

2. Assess Your Finances

When you’re let go from a job, it’s vital to take a look at your savings and how long you can realistically survive without an incoming paycheck. This is an opportune time to take a hard look at your spending and your wants versus needs. There are non-negotiable expenses, such as rent and utility bills, but you might want to consider putting a brief hold on expenses that are strictly wants. Make dinner at home rather than going out to eat, or go for a run outdoors and put a temporary hold on your gym membership. Using financial tracker and money management apps like Mint allows you to sync all of your accounts, cards and bills so you have a top-level understanding of where you stand financially. It’s a simple way to track your spending and ensure you keep your finances in good standing. It’s also a smart idea to have an emergency fund in place for situations like this.

3. Take Care of Yourself Physically and Emotionally

Getting laid off can be a shock to the system, so it’s important to make time to focus on your physical and emotional wellbeing. Stanford University recommends maintaining supportive relationships, taking care of your body with exercise and sleep, writing or journaling to vent your emotions, and if necessary, seeking professional help.

4. Reach Out to Your Network

Your departure will likely be sudden, and there’s a strong possibility that you won’t have an opportunity to say goodbye to your colleagues and teammates. If there are people that you want to stay connected to, send them a quick email with how to stay in touch. While it might feel a bit uncomfortable at first, these are important professional relationships that could help you get a future job.

This is also a great time to leverage social media to market yourself. Update your LinkedIn profile with your most recent employment information, publish thought leadership articles on subjects you consider yourself to be well-informed, and leave your thoughts or comments on posts shared by people in your industry. Networking, even via social media, is a great way to meet new people and potentially open new doors for yourself professionally.

5. Update Your Résumé to Reflect Results

A skills- or results-based résumé is a great way to show future employers how you can help them reach their business goals. Rather than having your previous titles as the point of emphasis, consider highlighting your accomplishments. This can help show hiring managers that your layoff was not performance-based and you have a lot to bring to the table. Clearly defining your accomplishments should put you in a position for interviews, which will also give you the opportunity to explain your layoff in person rather than in your résumé or cover letter.

6. Take Skill-Related Classes

If you’ve been interested in a different industry, but don’t have the experience or skills to get there, the time following your layoff is the perfect opportunity to pursue that dream.

Check out the courses available at your local community college — even a weekend class with a skills certification can help your résumé stand out to hiring managers. Learning a new skill may also help improve your outlook on the current situation and give you the confidence you need for your next career move.

7. Work With a Recruiter

A good recruiter or staffing agency has connections all over the business world. When they recommend a candidate to a hiring manager, that manager is definitely going to listen. Whether you’re looking for another full-time gig immediately, or you want to pursue some contract work, recruiters can find the right fit for you — and fast.

According to the American Staffing Association, recruiting and staffing agencies help place nearly 17 million people in full-time and contract roles each year, with a third of those in  contract positions being offered full-time jobs after the conclusion of their assignment. If you’re struggling with your job search, a recruiter is a great person to have in your corner.

8. Keep a Positive Outlook

It can be easy to panic and give into feelings of sadness and self-doubt, but keeping a positive outlook through these difficult times can make a huge difference. Rather than focusing on your perceived failure, shift your mindset to be positive and recognize your hard work and accomplishments.

9. Consider Part-Time Work

While you’re planning your next career move, make the most of your time by taking on part-time work. Not only will it keep you busy and improve your resume, but it can also supplement your income while you don’t have a steady salary.

Whether it’s driving for a ride-sharing service or pursuing a volunteer position for a local charity, there are plenty of options to keep you busy and stay positive after a layoff.

What Not To Do When You Get Laid Off

While there’s a lot that you can do after a layoff to set yourself up for future success, it’s not always easy. To put yourself in the best situation to move on from getting laid off, here are a few things to try and avoid.

1. Don’t Look at the Layoff as a Personal Failure

There is no reason to blame yourself when you get laid off. Layoffs are most commonly the result of internal company changes, or even changes in the economy — not a reflection of your effort or your performance.

2. Don’t Talk Badly About Your Former Employer

It can be easy to place blame on your employer — they are the ones that you let you go, after all. But the world is a small place, and word travels fast. Whether it’s in a job interview or a casual conversation with friends, there’s no guarantee that your words won’t get back to your former employer. It’s best to turn the negative into a positive and focus on the future, rather than the past.

3. Don’t Hide Your Situation from Family and Friends

It’s common to feel embarrassed or ashamed because of a layoff, and it can be difficult to share those feelings with family and friends. Even if the thought of talking about it is daunting, telling people close to you what you are going through can help you get through the tough days or weeks ahead. Accepting help from the people who care about you can help alleviate some of the negative emotions and remind you of how strong your support system is.

Being laid off from work can be a huge and unexpected change in your life. By focusing on the new opportunities in front of you rather than dwelling on the negative circumstances, you can change your mindset and bounce back from a layoff in no time.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.