1. Careers
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Job Loss Checklist

What To Do After a Layoff or Termination


When you have lost your job, it's important to check on compensation due, benefits, references, and unemployment. If you have been fired or laid-off and haven't been informed about benefits, contact the Human Resources department at your former employer or your manager to request information on the status of your benefits. Your state department of labor may also be able to inform you about what you are entitled to receive.

Review this Job Loss Checklist to make sure that everything is covered, then focus on your job search.

How to File for Unemployment

Businessman holding plant pot and drawer, colleagues smiling in background
Sean De Burca / The Image Bank / Getty Images
If you have been laid off from your job you may be able to file for unemployment online without visiting an unemployment office.

Employee Benefits When You Lose a Job

Overview of the employment related benefits that you may be eligible for when you resign, get fired, or get laid-off from your job.

Fired - How to Handle a Termination

Information on how to handle getting fired.

Health Insurance (COBRA)

COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) gives employees and their families who lose their health benefits the option to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time.

Pension Plans / 401K

If you are enrolled in a 401(k), profit sharing or other type of defined contribution plan, your plan may provide for a lump sum distribution of your retirement money when you leave the company. If you are participating in a defined benefit plan your benefits will begin at retirement age.

Last Paycheck

Information on when will you receive your last paycheck if you resign or are terminated from your job.

Severance Pay

Severance pay may be given to employees upon termination of employment and is usually based on length of employment. If you are laid-off from your job or your position is eliminated, the employer may provide severance pay, but isn't required to.

Vacation Pay, Overtime, and Back Pay

You may be entitled to accrued vacation, overtime, and sick pay when you leave your job.


Reference and recommendation letters, sample recommendation letters and reference lists, how to ask for a reference, who to use if you didn't leave your job on good terms, and how to use references.

Department of Labor

The US Department of Labor and the local state department of labor offices can help you with information on employment-related laws, regulations, and compliance information.

Start a Job Search

Here are all the resources you'll need for a successful job search including how to write resumes, CVs, cover letters and other employment letters, where to look for jobs, and how to conduct a job search.
Related Video
10 Things to Do After a Layoff

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.