Five Actions to Take Immediately After Being Laid Off

There’s no getting around it: losing your job is a terrible thing to have to go through. But the most devastating impact it has is not the hit to your budget: it’s the body blow a layoff delivers to your self-esteem, and the inertia that can result.

Because inertia is the enemy. A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston showed that employers frequently disregard job candidates who have been out of work six months or more. So the best thing you can do to improve your longterm prospects is to take a deep breath, gather your resources, and act fast. Here are five steps you should take.

1) Line up your reference. When you sit down with your boss to talk about a severance package, bring up the subject of how he or she will describe your work and the terms of your departure. Unless your performance has been awful—and with most layoffs, performance is not the issue—your employer feels badly about letting you go. Coming up with a mutually agreeable account of your employment and departure may be a relief. And it will be a huge help to you as you prepare to make your next move.

2) Breathe. Exercise. Do what you need to do to stay healthy and keep positive. Because nobody wants to hire someone who appears depressed, lethargic or angry.

Being laid off in a tight economy is no cause for shame. But badmouthing your employer does not reflect well on you and can present a red flag to potential employers. The best strategy when discussing your employment status is to focus on what you are doing to revamp your skills and refresh your career. Resilience, creativity and an upbeat outlook are all attractive qualities, to friends and prospective employers alike.

3) Get your financial house in order: Get a separation letter, secure a severance package if possible, and file for unemployment. You may also need to inform your creditors of your employment status and seek their help in working out revised payment schedules. But take a look, too, at where you can cut spending. Do what you can to relieve the financial pressure; looking for work is hard enough without worrying about bounced checks.

4) Get out of the house. You must, of course, take advantage of all online channels for job hunting. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and robust, and look for postings on jobs boards such as Monster.com. But the most likely channel to a new job is someone you know—and the best way to stay top-of-mind with your network is to talk to them in person. Lunch, coffee, even a phone call—these are the interactions that will lead to opportunities. Make sure you talk with at least one person each and every day.

5) Bring in a professional. The experts at PSG know how to help you inventory your skills, assess your experience, and connect you with the career opportunity that will turn your layoff into the chance of a lifetime. Browse our top job opportunities in Jackson to find your next exciting job!