The Layoff Series: What To Do After a Layoff

03/03/2023Devyn Gaydos
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It seems like you can’t go a day without being inundated with headlines and stories about layoffs, cutbacks, or hiring freezes. According to, over 110,000 people have been laid off from work in the tech industry in 2023 so far. If you’re one of those 110,000, this blog series is for you.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be giving you a step-by-step guide about how you can handle a layoff including what to do, how to stand out in a tight job market, ace your next interview, and more.

We're starting off with the most common question people have: "What should I do if I get laid off?"

What To Do After a Layoff

Each company handles layoffs differently, but regardless of how they go about it, there are a few things that you need to do to make sure you have all of the information you need to move forward.

When You’re in the Moment

Even when facing the emotional turmoil that a layoff causes, there are some practical things that need to be covered.

Get the information about the layoff in writing. Some companies choose to deliver the news via personal calls and while that is the better way to handle it emotionally, you will want a paper trail of the situation.

Your company should be responsible for communicating with you about any severance pay, health benefits like COBRA, and 401k management. But if they don’t proactively communicate, don't be afraid to ask.

Take some time to note down any accomplishments you’re particularly proud of so you can add them to your resume. For example, “Expanded platform member base by 35% in 60 days” or “Increased profitability by 7% by reducing operations overspending.” Those numbers help to back up the story on your resume and help companies to see the value they can expect from you. You could also ask any existing managers for reference letters or simply connect with them (and your coworkers) on LinkedIn so you can reach out when the need arises.

Take a Breath

Going through a layoff often feels like a personal insult. For many, it’s not just the anxiety of being out of work that hits hard, it’s the abrupt change to your routine, stability, and even your identity. 

After you’ve taken care of your initial needs (all those steps above), give yourself a little bit of time to process and take care of yourself mentally. 

This is harder than it seems. 

Most people want to jump into action and begin polishing their resume and getting back on the job search, but giving yourself time to process will help you handle the rest of the journey better. 

And remember, it will take you more than 24 hours to fully process it, but taking at least some time for yourself to acknowledge and name your feelings can help you approach the rest of this journey with the compassion that you deserve.

Think About Your Next Move

That’s right, we said “think.” Don’t jump immediately into job searching, networking, and promoting yourself until you know exactly what you want to do. Dealing with a layoff is one of those times in life when you’re essentially forced to consider what your next move should be.

Here are some prompts to help you plan your next step:

  • What did you like or dislike about the responsibilities of your last role?

  • What accomplishments are you most proud of throughout your career?

  • Are there any roles or career paths you’ve always wanted to go for, but never gave yourself permission to?

  • Are there any dream companies you wish you could work for?

  • Have you ever considered working for yourself? If so, what would you do if you were your own boss?

  • Is there anything you’ve had on your to-do list that you’ve wanted to learn, but just haven’t found the time for?

  • What sort of pay, flexibility, and work environment do you need to feel most content with your life?

One of the things you may discover is that it’s not just time for a new job, it’s time for a break or a career change. We recently sat down with our Head of Product, Cecily Guggisberg, to highlight her story of taking a career break after facing burnout and if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed, her story will resonate and give you the inspiration you need.

Once you are more confident about the path you want to take, you can share your goals with others.

Update Your Network and Get To Work

When you’ve worked through the emotional impact (and that may take a bit) and considered what you’d like your next move to be, it’s time to update your professional networks so that everything public is up to date.

We've shared some suggestions about how to announce your layoff on LinkedIn here. But first things first, remember to update your experience, open to work status, and make a post about what sort of role you’re looking for and what your experience is.

Make sure you update your CareerCircle profile, too! Remember to include any extra experience, training, or certification you went through at your last role. 

From there, rebuild your resume. Add in any concrete data and results that you have from the projects you worked on at your role.

We’ll be diving into how to search for a new job and stand out in the crowd in our next installment of this series, but as you start your job hunt, try to schedule it like you’d schedule your work hours. It can be easy to get completely absorbed in job searching when you need a new role, but if you go too hard, you’re just going to burnout.

Schedule your hours of working (because job searching is work), and try to limit your efforts to those times. Remember to take time off, too! You deserve vacation days just like any other worker does.

We know that being laid off is never on anyone’s career plan. It can be emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting, but please remember that you are not alone. We hope that this series will be a resource to help guide you through this tough time and always remember that the CareerCircle team is here to support you. In the next installment, we’ll be looking at how you can kick off your job search in the right way and stand out in a crowded applicant pool. Stay tuned!