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What To Do When You Get Laid Off?

got laid off, now what?

Each week, we answer your most burning questions about job search, interviews, and career. Have a question for an HR but haven’t had the chance or courage to ask? Just tweet it to @freesumes with the hashtag #AskAnHR and we might feature your question and your tweet in our next Ask an HR edition.

Without further due, here is this week’s question:

What To Do When You Get Laid Off?

One of my most valuable life lessons is the essential need to manage your career.  While layoffs have been soaring in recent months, and getting laid off can be extremely disruptive and stressful, it provides the opportunity for you to manage your career to the next step of your journey and beyond.  The action steps below are crafted with my best wishes for you to land the job and achieve the fulfillment that you desire.

10 Steps To Take When You Get Laid Off

  1. Take care of yourself. 
    Give and receive emotional support from family and friends, and involve them as appropriate.  Establish a financial plan to take you through your transition.  Improve your diet, exercise and overall wellness.  Your job search can only be effective if put your best self forward.
  2. What did you learn though the layoff experience about yourself, your performance, your role, your supervisor, the organization and culture, and your place in it?  Keep these learnings in mind through the next steps.
  3. Articulate your goal. 
    What role (or roles) would you enjoy, be challenged by, succeed in and be an appropriate next step in your career? 

    Improve your overall situation instead of just finding another job.  Do you prefer certain organization types, cultures and workplace environments? 

    How much risk are you willing to accept? 

    In the interest of career management, think strategically and have an endgame in mind so that your next step is more likely to take you to your longer-term goals.  Determine your willingness to relocate and set your parameters.  Be prepared to re-visit and adjust your goal as you acquire data and experience the looming ups and downs through your job search.
  4. Update your resume, LinkedIn profile and presence on professional platforms.  Ensure that they highlight your brand, value proposition, skills and accomplishments as they support your goal.  Be prepared to adapt your resume to each job to which you apply.
  5. Take an honest inventory of your skills, experience, certifications and education. 
    Compare them to the requisite skills and credentials you find in desirable job postings for your next step. Do you have specific needs for upgrades to close gaps?
  6. Practice interviewing and your elevator speech. 
    Always be on you game and ready to promote yourself.  You never know when an opportunity may appear.
  7. Engage and expand your network. 
    Build and nurture your relationships with strategic allies.  Inform your contacts that you are on the job market in search of your goal.  Be willing to ask for help, listen to their advice and give back in return.
  8. Seek out career advice from the numerous resources available.
  9. Don’t limit yourself to job boards and the standard job search resources.  Cast a wider net, post on LinkedIn and other professional sites, write blogs, participate in onsite and virtual meetings and events, and stretch your comfort zone.
  10. Be prepared for job offers, salary and benefits negotiations, and closing your deal!


  • Gary Palma, SHRM-SCP

    Gary Palma is a certified US HR professional with over 30 years of experience. He has served as a senior HR executive in manufacturing and other business organizations. He has provided HR and employee... more

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