What to Do After a Layoff

February 10, 2014

Deciding what to do after a layoff is tricky because there are so many things to think about at once when you’re laid off. You worry about how to pay your bills, find a new job, handle your expiring benefits, find health insurance, tell your friends and family, and relaunch your career.

To help you know where to start I put together the “5 Hour Layoff Kickstart” that walks you through what to consider and what to do right after a layoff. You can get the report by calling me, toll free – 1-844-2NEWJOB.

A layoff feels devastating not only because it’s so unexpected but also because it can turn your whole life upside down. It’s not just your job that’s been rudely interrupted – it’s your ability to pay bills, provide benefits for your family, and even pursue your life plans. It feels like everything changes in just a few minutes after that brief phone call or layoff meeting.

The rest of this article talks about some important steps to take after a layoff but if you’d like more in-depth information about surviving a layoff and a plan for hour-by-hour & day-by-day action then submit your email below or call me at 1-844-2NEWJOB:

It’s important that you take immediate action when you are laid off. Here are the things to do right after a layoff:

1. Find out about your severance package.

Ask the human resources representative about your severance package. With a layoff, you might receive full or reduced pay temporarily. You might also have access to healthcare benefits and other benefits for a set period of time after your layoff.

However, it’s important to realize that some of these benefits might cost more. COBRA, for example, is very expensive. You will have to plan for the reality after your layoff.

2. Apply for unemployment benefits.

Next, apply for unemployment benefits. If you are eligible for these benefits, they can help you provide for your family as you look for another job to help you get back on your feet.

You should also find out about other public assistance programs that might be able to help you along while you are looking for a job. If you qualify for certain programs, it makes sense to take advantage of them while you look for another source of income. Remember: It’s more about providing for your family than your pride.

3. Prioritize your expenses.

You need to take a hard look at your budget. To tell the truth, it’s better if you have looked at your expenses and prioritized them before your layoff.

Take a look at where your money is going, and prioritize the spending. Cut out the items that you don’t need, and that can drain your bank account. You can also look at where you can cut back by saving money on energy, groceries, and in other categories. Consider using frugal tactics to help you make changes with your budget so that your dollars stretch further.

4. Brush up your career paperwork.

If you haven’t kept your resume up to date, now is the time to clean it up. You should also tweak your cover letter.

Let your network know you’re looking for work. Someone might be able to point you in the right direction. It’s better if you have maintained a career network over time, but if you haven’t, you should work to remedy that lack as quickly as possible.

Attend networking events, and participate in workshops designed to help you improve your resume and your interview skills. Many cities and states have workforce service departments. You can receive help with your career paperwork by making use of these resources.

5. Consider alternative ways to make money.

Now that you are squared away with your unemployment benefits, and you’ve reformed your budget and done what you can for your career, it’s time to consider alternative ways to make money.

Hopefully you have an emergency fund that can provide you with a little help remaining financially solvent. However, even supplemented by unemployment benefits, your emergency fund isn’t going to last forever. You can get a little help for your situation by looking for other ways to make money.

Start a side gig, or see about some other type of income. You can sell items you aren’t using any more, or do odd jobs. Find ways to make a little extra money so that you aren’t relying entirely on the emergency fund and the unemployment benefits.

Who knows? The side gig you start while looking for a new job might turn into a true primary source of income, and you may not need to go back to work.

Have you been the victim of a layoff? How did you survive? Leave a comment!


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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2 Responses to What to Do After a Layoff

  • Survive The Valley

    Good practical tips.

    One important step that I’d add is asking for references. You want to be crystal clear on where you stand with your manager etc. so you know they’re willing to provide you with (a great) reference as you begin looking for other positions. Sooner or later you’ll run into needing to gather some, so better to ask your manager and coworkers early rather than reach out later.

  • Stephen Brian

    Nice Post. Thank you very Much for Sharing. Please Kindly Keep up it.