Laid Off? Do These 10 Things to Reset Your Career

Career Advice
Person sitting outside of business
Person sitting outside of business
minute read

If you’ve been laid off, the experience can be a shock at first — but it also provides a great opportunity to align your vision and goals with a new position that meets your career plans.

It’s a word no one enjoys hearing, yet it’s all too common in today’s work landscape. Yes, we’re talking about layoffs. If you’ve found out your role is being eliminated or you are being laid off from your job, you’re likely reeling from the shock. And yet you’re also asking yourself, “Now that I’ve been laid off, what do I do next?”

Creating a plan for yourself post-layoff is key to getting back on track with your career plans as soon as possible. These ten steps will help you work through your emotions and move toward landing your next exciting position in the workforce.

1. Process the News

Being laid off is a genuine loss that deserves to be grieved over. While shedding tears might not be your style, you will likely experience a range of emotions — from anger and disappointment to confusion and embarrassment. It’s best to acknowledge these emotions and work through them. As you do, they will lessen, and you’ll gain energy for your job search.

2. Adjust Your Mindset

While it’s normal after a layoff to feel negative, it’s important to look for the positives too. Focus on things that build you up and encourage you. Remind yourself of your accomplishments. Remember that being laid off is not a reflection on your skills and performance — and you have a lot to offer to your next employer.

3. Plan for Your Finances

One of the biggest reasons losing a job can be difficult is the effect it has on your budget. Breathe through the initial moment of panic, and keep in mind there’s a lot you can still do. Learn what your company is offering, such as severance pay, COBRA coverage, and outplacement service. Apply for unemployment benefits as soon as you can, because the process can take time to complete. Reach out to lenders to see what options you have. If you have student loans, ask to have them paused until you find your next job.

4. Update Your Resume, Portfolio, and LinkedIn Profile

Think about ways your job has built up your skill set, and make notes of any accomplishments and wins you’ve achieved while there. Gather anything that isn’t confidential, such as performance results and presentation decks, and add them to your portfolio. Connect with your coworkers and managers on LinkedIn, and ask if they’ll give you a recommendation now, while you’re fresh in their minds. Update your role descriptions — and pay attention to adding in keywords that fit with the type of position you want to land.

5. Be Strategic as You Apply for Jobs

Resist the urge to send your resume to every job you can find. Instead, consider what you want your next role to look like. Do you want to work at a big company, a small one, or a nonprofit? Would you like to stay where you are, or are you willing to move to a new city? What type of work hours do you want? Is it a must for you to work from home? Once you have clarity, it’ll be easier to spot job postings that fit you, so you can apply specifically to them.

6. Consider a Career Change and Other Opportunities

Ask around, and you’ll discover that many people you know have lost a job unexpectedly. And that sudden event, while initially a shock, landed them in a position they now love. So, embrace this chance to create a new vision for yourself. Ask yourself what you’d really like to do. What type of job would truly fulfill you and get you excited to wake up and go to work? Will you need training, certifications, or an internship to get you there? This is a perfect time to enter a new career path (like a tech career). Take the steps required to move forward.  

7. Reach Out to Your Network

Finding a good job continues to be driven by good word-of-mouth recommendations. Be willing to let others know you’re in need of a new role. Tell them what type of position you’re looking for, and ask if they’ll connect you with people they know who are looking for help. Set up informational interviews with new connections and relaxed coffee/drink meetups with people you haven’t seen in a while.

8. Establish a Healthy Routine

Job searches average around six months from start to finish — a lengthy time to have your routine upended after being laid off. Make the most of your time by creating a schedule that supports your career search, physical health, and mental well-being. Establish set hours to look at job postings and send in resumes, but also make time to exercise and engage in self-care. Do things you love doing, so you stay encouraged during your search.

9. Volunteer and Give Back

A great way to use your time wisely, as well as to open yourself up to new work opportunities, is to volunteer. Giving back is a great way to boost your mood and benefit your community at the same time. You can gain or build on skills that are beneficial in the workplace, meaning your volunteering can be added to your resume. And you’ll meet a lot of people from different industries, areas of town, and backgrounds, expanding the likelihood you’ll hear of open roles that you might not otherwise have found out about.

10. Tap into Community Resources

Your community likely has many resources available to help people find employment, so take advantage of what’s out there. Library systems often have employment support programs, as do colleges, especially if you’re an alumnus. At inTulsa, our Talent Network helps connect people throughout our area and across the country with job opportunities in Tulsa. Using resources like this can make it easier to find the perfect match between your skill set and goals, and employers looking for stellar employees like you.

Summing It Up

If you’ve been laid off, the experience can be a shock at first — but it also provides a great opportunity to align your vision and goals with a new position that meets your career plans. Remember, you have a lot to offer your next employer, and you can move toward your next role successfully as you embrace what’s positive about this season of your life.