You’ve Been Laid Off. Now What?

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated February 2, 2021

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Personal Finance
November 30, 2017

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Getting laid off often comes as a shock. Instead of wasting time feeling bad about the situation, you should take action so you can find a new job and get your career back on track.

When you get laid off, you may have access to severance pay, outplacement help and other benefits. Make sure you talk to someone in HR about the details. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to collect additional pay and benefits as you leave the company. Try these tips for health insurance for anyone who’s been laid off.

You should also talk to your HR representative so you can agree on a story that explains who and why you left the company. The details of your leaving could play an important role in whether you qualify for extended benefits for unemployment.

Getting laid off doesn’t mean that the company wants to fire you. It often means that the business had to cut finances or eliminate certain positions.

If you have done your job well, you probably have several supervisors and co-workers who won’t mind writing positive recommendations that will help you find a new job.

You probably haven’t updated your resume since you got your last job. Now is a good time to add information about the skills you’ve learned and the projects you’ve completed over the last few years.

Make sure you double-check the contact information on your resume, too. You don’t want potential employers calling an old phone number or sending emails to a dead address.

If you have professional profiles on social media sites like LinkedIn, you should update your information there, too.

Each state handles its own unemployment services, so the application process will vary from place to place. Typically, you can apply for unemployment by visiting your state’s unemployment website. You may need to provide proof that you got laid off. Your employer may also need to submit forms showing that you qualify for unemployment benefits.

Getting unemployment can take a few weeks, so you shouldn’t wait too long to start the process. With some luck and persistence, you’ll find a job before you even need to access the benefits.

Unless you need money immediately, spend a week or so updating your information and filling out forms. Once you feel settled, you can start pursuing new job opportunities. In the meantime, try one of these creative ways to make ends meet.

Getting laid off doesn’t have to cause a lot of turmoil in your life. Use it as a chance to explore new job options. You may find a better position that pays you more money and helps you learn skills that will further your career.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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