You may, however, be able to turn a layoff into a new career. Here's how to handle unemployment, start a job search, and more advice on what to do when you get laid-off.
Prior to the actual news, rumors of downsizing often run rampant through an office so employees may be at least somewhat prepared for a layoff announcement. In other cases the news is a surprise - you're shocked, unpleasantly surprised, and not at all sure what do next.
Check Your Benefits
If you do have an inkling that there's going to be bad news be prepared to ask what benefits terminated employees are eligible for. If you've already been laid-off and haven't been informed about benefits, call the Human Resources department at your former employer or your manager to request information on the status of your benefits:
- Ask about severance pay, accrued vacation, overtime and sick pay, pension benefits, and eligibility for unemployment insurance.
- Severance packages may be negotiable. You have nothing to lose by asking for more than what's offered.
- Request information on continuance of health and life insurance benefits. Your employer, if the firm has over 20 employees, is mandated by law to offer health insurance coverage through COBRA to terminated employees for at least 18 months. However, it is worth asking if you will be covered for a certain period of time at no cost to you.
- Ask about outplacement resources - some companies provide job search assistance.
- Request a reference letter for your files.
Assess Your Goals
Refocus your energy and use this unexpected windfall of time as an opportunity to reassess your career goals and to get on track to find a new position. Many job seekers have turned a termination into a positive experience. A forced departure from a job has often opened a path to a new, more satisfying, and better paying career that wouldn't have been considered under other circumstances.
What next? Resources like unemployment, career planning, resumes and cover letters, networking, and, of course, job listings, so you can get going on a job search.
Where to file for unemployment, how to file, what you need, eligibility requirements, disqualifications, extended benefits and more unemployment insurance information.
Ten Steps to Find a New Job
Ten steps to take to find a new job, including where to look for jobs, the top job sites, how to use your connections, how to ace the interview, and how to follow up.