What to Do If You Lose Your Job

Do you worry about getting laid off work? Perhaps it’s already happened to you.

I received a call from a client, Lynn, recently. She was in a panic. “My company is in trouble. It looks like another round of lay-offs is coming. I probably should update my resume and get some help. But I survived the ones that happened last year and the year before. I think I’ll survive this one, but I’m thinking maybe I should prepare, just in case. On top of that, I’m not sure I want to stay in this field anymore.” I didn’t hear anything from Lynn for four weeks. Then I received this message on my phone, “Lori, help! It happened! I was laid off! What do I do?”

I find this to be an all too common experience. You see the early warning signs: the best employees find another job, the company rumor-mill overflows with stories of difficulties and impending lay-offs, and then perhaps you are attending company meetings to reassure everyone that things are “fine.” Finally it happens: staff cuts and formal lay-offs. The writing was on the wall for months, maybe years, but you ignored it, hoping things would just work out.

So what do you do if you find yourself in this situation? If you missed the signs or are blindsided by a lay-off, here are few key actions you can take to gain control of your career.

  1. The first thing you need to do is visit your local office of unemployment to claim your benefits. Today you can do this in person or online! This will get money coming in right away. Most unemployment benefits are NOT retroactive, so sign up right away to get yours started. And pay attention to the rules of your state to maintain your benefits, and follow them to the letter. Treat that as a part time job.
  2. Next, set up a structure or schedule of self care. Losing a job is a significant loss, so treat yourself accordingly. Give yourself time and space to grieve the loss of your job. Make sure you are getting physical activity, fresh air, sunshine, and eating healthy foods. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. You will need both mental and physical strength for a successful job or career transition.
  3. Get clear about what you want in your next job. Do you want a new career? Now is a great time to make that move. What do you want from your next job? Be specific. The most successful job searches in this market are targeted, so take some time to develop a clear vision of your target job and company. If you’re not sure what you want, consider hiring a career coach to help you get clarity.
  4. Now update your tools: resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile. Refresh your connections with your network, in person and online. If you need support, don’t hesitate to invest in an expert (a resume writer or career coach) to help you with your job search. Remember, your career is the source of income for you and your family. Isn’t it worth an investment to have someone partnered with you to ensure you are able to create opportunities for success?
  5. Finally, create a tactical plan and detailed schedule to get the job you want. Then follow your plan.

Suddenly losing your job can be a scary experience. But you can regain control of your career and your destiny. Just follow these steps, get the support you need, and you will be have a thriving career again in no time.

As one final caution, if you DO see the signs, take heed, and then take action. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile. Refresh your contact with the people in your network. Lay the foundation to prepare for a new job search, and consider starting that search now.  And remember, I’m here to help and support you.  Click on the Programs and Services or Products tabs above to find the support that’s right for you.


7 comments to What to Do If You Lose Your Job


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Client Stories

When I first met Lori, I was in a rut. Having spent 25 years in the same industry, I was bored, max’d out and didn't know what to do next.  I was pigeon-holed into an industry that I was not so fond of, and saw no way to get out.  I felt trapped. Lori understood my predicament, as she had seen it all before -- she was sympathetic, but resolute in knowing that she could help me find answers.  I took great solace in that! 

Through several sessions and dozens of exercises, I began to get a clearer picture of who I am, and where my strengths and talents truly lie.  Working with Lori, I was able to translate that understanding into updated, targeted resumes that quickly produced interviews and gave me the confidence to express myself better than ever before. 

Consulting a Career Coach should be mandatory for anyone in today's work force, and Lori is the best at her profession.

Robert J. Norris, Warrenville, IL