Alice Twu
September 20, 2023

6 things to remember if you've been unexpectedly laid off

Many employees are heading into the holiday season feeling uneasy about their job security due to recent layoffs, budget cuts, and hiring freezes. U.S.-based employers announced 76,835 job cuts in November, a 127% increase from October 2022.

Job loss and unemployment can be linked to depression and anxiety, leaving many people with a lack of motivation to continue job searching. If you’re one of these people, Perfeqta’s Career Coaches urge you to not put your professional goals on hold since hiring will pick up again.

If you’ve been unexpectedly laid off, our team compiled a list of 6 things you can prioritize to help you transition into a new role.

Focus on legal paperwork first.

Get all your legal documents in order, review your severance package, and file for unemployment if needed.

Make sure you know when you’ll receive your final paycheck and review your employee handbook to find out how your company treats unused vacation and sick days, as some may compensate you for that time.

Read through your severance agreement carefully to ensure this wasn’t an unlawful termination. If you’re unsure, get in contact with an attorney.

Your severance package should also explain your health insurance status and options. Typically, you can qualify for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) or shop for another health insurance plan in the marketplace under the Affordable Care Act (ACT). Your unemployment benefit options and the length of time you’re covered will depend on your state. Check out CareerOneStop for more information on how to receive local help.

Save all communications and essential documents.

Transfer important documents to an external hard drive. This may include all emails or screenshots of messages between you and your employer documenting your termination.

If you’re in an industry where you need portfolio pieces when applying for jobs, save projects you’ve worked on in case you lose access. Remember to review your employee handbook to make sure you adhere to company policies around proprietary information.

Get your finances in order.

Check the status of your pensions and retirement plans.

You have several options if you have a 401(k) plan. Depending on how long you’ve worked for the company, you may consolidate your previous plan with a new one, roll it over to an individual retirement account (IRA), or take a lump sum payment. If you have a defined benefit pension and are not close to retiring, transfer what you have into another plan.

Layoffs have a significant impact on people’s financial standing. It’s okay to take on less-than-ideal jobs to make money during this tumultuous time. It is also wise to think about where to cut costs and stretch out your savings temporarily.

Layoffs can happen to anyone, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of about the lifestyle changes you must make to adapt.

Prioritize your mental health.

Try to limit stress by taking more time to rest, finding joy in your daily activities, and leaning on your community. You can also come up with daily affirmations to remind yourself that this is a temporary challenge.

Scheduling therapy sessions or seeking professional guidance can also help you process your job loss and find the motivation to continue job searching.

Update your skills and work experiences.

You may need to update your resume and LinkedIn profile as you search for a new job. That is where working with a Career Coach can be extremely helpful.

A Career Coach can help you identify your strengths, outline your professional goals, and better communicate your value and experience to a hiring manager. Some coaches will also review your resume and LinkedIn profiles and recommend how to better attract recruiters. With their help, you can develop a job search plan that feels achievable and aligned with your personal values.

Reach out to your network and nurture relationships.

Not all companies advertise open roles on job search platforms and instead rely on referrals. Connect with industry leaders, schedule informational interviews, and build relationships with the people in your current network to stay up to date on hiring opportunities.

Remember to also network down and across with people who have different years of experience. Someone in an entry-level position now may have a close relationship with a decision-maker at a company or can be a decision-maker themselves soon enough.

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