Layoffs happen. They are a reality that many workers face, and they can feel like a major setback. If you’ve been laid off recently, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. And taking the right steps can help you get back on track as quickly as possible. Here are seven steps that can put you in a better position to land your next job.
Find out about severance
Your employer may offer a severance package—typically a number of weeks or months of pay. The amount of severance you receive often depends on how long you’ve been working for the company. Find out what kind of severance package your employer is offering and consider how it will affect your finances going forward. Knowing the specifics can help you plan accordingly and budget for upcoming expenses.
It’s sometimes possible to negotiate for more severance. While you don’t have a ton of bargaining power, you may be able to negotiate a better package or other benefits like extended health coverage.
File for unemployment
If you are eligible for unemployment benefits, file as soon as possible so you can get your benefits on time. Unemployment can provide you with a steady source of income and help you keep up with bills and expenses while job searching. Keep in mind that you may not be eligible for unemployment while you are receiving severance.
It can help to familiarize yourself with unemployment laws in your state. For example, in some places, you can work a certain number of hours per week or make a certain amount of money and still receive full or partial benefits.
Understand how your benefits are impacted
A change in employment status will affect your healthcare coverage and other benefits. Not all benefits will be affected in the same way—for example, your health insurance may last for another month or two while your group life insurance benefits might end the day you’re laid off (remember, this is different from an individual policy, like whole life insurance). Human resources will likely brief you on benefits as part of the layoff process. If not, reach out to them and ask for details.
Know what you want in your next role
A layoff can be an opportunity to reevaluate where you are in your career. Take time to reflect on the past role and consider what you want from your next one. Write down what you want from your next job, including location, salary range, industry, and benefits. Taking time to figure out what you want from your next role will help when you start applying for jobs.
Decide whether this is the time for a career change
If you’ve been thinking about switching careers, a layoff could also be the opportunity to make the change. Take some time to research different industries and career paths to gain more insight into what the right move might be. Once you know what your next move is, find out what you need to do to make the switch.
Connecting with colleagues in your industry might be the key to finding your next job. Get the word out on professional networking sites that you’re looking for a new role. Reach out to friends and acquaintances to see if they know of any opportunities. A personal connection can go a long way during the application process.
Once you’ve updated your résumé and know what you want from your next job, it’s time to start searching for positions. There are a few things you can do to streamline the process—set up alerts from relevant job boards, have several versions of your résumé ready, and have a few cover letter templates that highlight certain skillsets. As you apply, keep track of your applications with a spreadsheet. This way, you’re less likely to miss follow-up emails from hiring managers.