Recently I was laid off and the news hit me like an unexpected bag of papas thrown straight at my gut. What I wanted to do was find the darkest corner in my home, curl up into a little ball and cry, but thanks to the help of friends and colleagues, I took a moment to do some very important things before I gave myself time to wallow. Now I think it’s only fair that I pass on the knowledge that I was given about what you should do immediately after getting laid off to anyone else who may need it. Ready?
1. Get references. If you are laid off due to downsizing and you are offered a reference, take it. Even if you aren’t offered a reference, if you are leaving on good terms ask for one. You can make easy for whomever you are asking and request a recommendation via LinkedIn. While getting laid off I was offered references and I was going to wait awhile before following through, until a good friend told me to do it pronto, because the person writing the reference would be more likely to write the best reference they could, because dang it, you just got laid off.
2. Apply for unemployment. As soon as you find out that you have been laid off, pretty please apply for unemployment. Don’t put it off; don’t be too proud, just apply. You want to get this process going because it’s probably going to be a few weeks before you see any of the money, and heaven forbid there are any complications.
3. Freshen up the resume. Have an updated resume ready to send off at a moment’s notice. You never know where you next job opportunity will come from and you’ll feel better knowing that you’ve done the best you can to represent your skill set in writing.
4. Update your LinkedIn profile. We live in an ever increasingly digital world. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile rocks. Not sure if yours does? Have a colleague look over it and give you advice and also check out the LinkedIn blog for tips on creating the perfect LinkedIn profile. As you apply for other jobs you better believe that potential employers will be looking you up online and if your LinkedIn profile is a mess, they may get the impression that you are a mess, too.
5. Reach out to your community. Let those you know and trust help you. You will be surprised at how kind and supportive people can be. Trust me: you are not the only person who has ever been laid off. People will offer advice, contacts, support and most importantly keep an eye out for potential opportunities for you. You can look for other jobs all by yourself, but imagine how many more employment possibilities could cross your path if you have the help of others.
Now that you’ve gotten those things taken care of, it’s okay to take a moment to feel the loss. But please remember that this is just a setback and not the end. Good luck!
Image via eole/Flickr