What to do After Being Laid Off
“Unfortunately, we must inform you that your position at this company has been eliminated. We’re going to have to lay you off, permanently.”
These are the words no employee wants to hear. Unfortunately, these words have been spoken too often in a year businesses are battling the economic challenges of the coronavirus. The truth is, layoffs have happened throughout history and will continue after the coronavirus, whether it’s due to an economic downturn or a result of a company’s financial and business decisions.
What should you do if you experience a layoff? It’s a situation that leaves us feeling angry, frustrated, hurt, and vulnerable. We question if we’ll be able to make ends meet and if our career is over. If you find yourself in this situation, we’ve put together a list of to-dos to help ease the stress.
BEFORE LEAVING THE EMPLOYER
Get a layoff letter. If you don’t receive one, request a letter from your human resource department. The letter outlines the circumstances of the layoff. It’s also a helpful resource to explain to potential employers about your time off.
Review benefits. Upon being laid off, you may or may not receive unpaid benefits. Be sure to ask about unused paid time off, sick days, business expenditures, etc.
Clarify your health insurance coverage. A company may or may not continue to provide health coverage for some time after laying off employees. If not, you will need to consider COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). COBRA provides health coverage for individuals who lose their job for a limited time and may charge a full premium price.
Consider your 401K. If you’ve established a 401K with your current employer, determine if you’ll leave the plan with them, roll into another account, cash out, or take any other steps.
Ask for a referral letter. A referral letter from a manager is a great reference for future employers and highlights how you were a value to the company.
AFTER LEAVING THE EMPLOYER
File for unemployment. It’s important to file for unemployment immediately to ensure you’ll receive benefits as soon as you’re eligible.
Review your finances. A layoff could mean financial difficulties. Review your savings and list your expenses. If you have a budget, tighten it. If you don’t have a budget, create one. Eliminate nonessential expenses and adjust your lifestyle as needed to make ends meet.
Take time for yourself. Emotions will flood through you like anger, sadness, hurt, and others. It’s okay to let yourself feel them and grieve the loss of your job. Vent to family and friends and do things that you enjoy like a favorite hobby, go for walks, or pamper yourself.
Don’t trash talk the employer. A layoff can make us boil with rage (often rightfully so) but, it’s crucial to maintain professionalism. It shows class and speaks volumes about your character, especially to future employers. While your time was cut short at the company, it still provided an opportunity to gain experience, learn new skills, and network. Focus on the positive.
A layoff isn’t the end of your career. Remember, layoffs are the result of a company’s action, not a reflection of your performance. The road you were taking to reach your career goals has simply changed. And you’re not alone. Just about everyone has experienced job loss in one form or another and survived.
PREPARE FOR A NEW JOB
Analyze your career goals. Are they the same, or have they changed? Is it time to change careers? Are you ready to seek a position with more responsibility or challenges? This is a great time to define what you want.
Update your resume. Your resume is the ideal opportunity to highlight your value to future employers. Freshen up your resume to show the impact you had on your current employer and career accomplishments. Also, assemble a work portfolio.
Upgrade your skills. Take career development courses, offer freelance services, or perform volunteer work. Bettering yourself and staying busy while being laid off keeps you relevant and shows future employers your potential.
Prepare for interviews. Brush up on your interviewing skills, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve had one. If you’re asked about your time off, be honest about your layoff (it’s nothing to be ashamed of). Explain why you were laid off but keep it short and straight to the point. Don’t bad mouth the employer and focus on the experience gained and accomplishments made when employed there.
Begin networking. Tell your friends and family you’re looking for a new job. Ask former management and coworkers if they know if anyone is hiring. Share on social media, especially LinkedIn, that you’re job searching, or create a personal business card to distribute.
Search and apply with Twin City Staffing. Just one application with Twin City Staffing can open the door to many opportunities. We are a staffing agency in Minnesota hiring manufacturing, warehousing, general labor, transportation, skilled trades, and office administration jobs. We offer both temp-to-hire and direct-hire positions. We get to know you and your skills so we can match you with the right company that helps you excel in your career.