How To Handle Being Laid Off From Work: 10 Tips

group of people who were laid off line up for a new job interview

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Being laid off can provoke many feelings and lead you into a dark place. In this post, I’m going to go over how to handle getting laid off from work.

In the end, you must remember that this job loss is a temporary situation. Dealing with being laid off can be tough, but you’ll get through it. Let’s get right into it.

1. Manage Your Emotions

In an effort to handle being laid off from work, your emotions may be running high. You may feel upset, defeated, devastated, and hopeless. It may feel like you did something wrong or that you failed at your job

But, oftentimes, the reason you were laid off was completely out of your control. Companies cut back during economic downturns or when people are simply no longer needed to perform a job role that the company once required. This has nothing to do with your performance.

What you have to do is center yourself. Realize that you did nothing wrong and that this is a temporary issue that will be remedy once you’ve landed a new job. You will find future employment, and you may even end up in a better place than you were at your previous job.

2. Remember: You Were NOT Fired, You Were Laid Off

Tell yourself this: You were not terminated. Being fired often happens from poor performance, insubordination, or similar reasons. You were let go, and this happens more commonly due to a company reducing staff to save money or reorganize its structure and at no fault to your performance.

Know that layoffs happen all the time, and they are out of your individual control. When you’re applying for your next job, keep reminding yourself that you were not fired.

It’s important to keep this in mind when you’re on your next job interview. You may be asked why you left your previous job, and you’ll want to state that you were laid off and not fired.

Understanding this will help you handle the situation because you’ll go into your future job hunt, confident that you have done nothing wrong.

3. Take Care of Yourself

It’s important to take care of yourself while you handle being laid off. Give yourself some time to process what’s happened. Reach out to a friend or family member or talk to your significant other. Find a low- or no-cost activity to do to clear your mind.

While you’ll probably want to find another job as soon as possible, you will want to give yourself some time to get through the initial shock.

Find something to do during your free time when you’re not hunting for a new job. This could be reading, doing a craft, playing a game, watching a favorite movie, or more.

4. Request a Letter From Your Employer That You Were Laid Off

When you are laid off from work, make sure to get a letter from your employer stating such. It’s important to discern that you were laid off and not fired. This might best be done by making a phone call or sending an email to human resources.

You are not at fault. When you return to the job market and apply for your next job, your prospective employer will understand a layoff versus if you told them you were fired for poor performance. By having the letter in writing, you can provide proof that you were in-fact laid off

Make sure to get this letter on the company letterhead to prove that it’s official. Use this letter when providing references on interviews.

5. Apply for New Jobs Steadily

Work on your resume and cover letters and then start your new job search as soon as possible. When applying for new jobs, pace yourself.

If you’re unsure of the best way to update your resume or cover letters, consider hiring an agency to help you. ResumeWriters has been in business since 1999 and assists anyone from military to executive to student in writing resumes. They will also guarantee that you get a job interview within two months, or they’ll rewrite your resume for free.

You might feel the desperate need to get your resume in front of as many potential employers as possible. This will lead to burnout, and burnout will certainly not help you when you’re already feeling down about being laid off from your previous job.

Instead, set up a schedule and focus on applying for a specific number of jobs per day. Set up specific times of day to apply for new jobs and, in that time, refine your resume, touch-up your cover letter, and research jobs that you want to apply for. Update your LinkedIn profile as well.

By scheduling time to spend on applying for new jobs, you’ll lower your chances of getting overwhelmed, which will help you deal with being laid off more effectively.

6. Ask for Help

You don’t have to be in this alone! Network with former colleagues. If you’re involved in social media, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, use those connections to your advantage. It’s quite possible that someone you know knows of a job opening and can help you connect.

Never be afraid to ask for help even if the help you need isn’t related to getting a new job, such as getting help processing how you’re dealing with being laid off from work. You may want to talk to a counselor to help point out your strengths and show that you’re able to bounce back and get back into the swing of things.

7. Find Out About Continued Health Insurance Coverage

When losing your job, whether by a layoff, getting fired, or leaving, you will become eligible for COBRA, which will allow you to have continued health insurance benefits if you elect for it. 

While COBRA can be very expensive compared to what you’ve been paying while employed, it may be beneficial to have while you seek out your next job. 

The worst thing you can do is have a lapse in coverage. Make sure you find out what will happen to your health insurance. If you can’t afford or are not eligible for COBRA, go to and fill out an application for health insurance.

8. Register for Unemployment Compensation

The moment you’re laid off, apply for unemployment benefits. If you wait too long, you might lose your ability to collect. Even if you receive a severance package, you may still qualify for unemployment.

Don’t pay a service to do this for you. Go in person, call, or go online, depending on how your state handles how to file for unemployment.

9. Don’t Take It Personally

Remember, you weren’t laid off from work for something you did. It may feel like you were singled out or did something wrong; however, layoffs occur for various reasons. 

Rise up from the layoff and know that this is a temporary situation and that you will find employment again soon.

10. Don’t Burn Bridges When You’re Laid Off

It’s tempting to throw a fit and burn bridges. You might want to go on social media and bash your company or people you once worked with, including the person who laid you off.

This will never help you, even if you think it’ll help you feel good. First, it’s extremely unprofessional. Second, potential hiring managers might see a social media rant and avoid talking to you. And third, it’s not going to change anything even if you think it will make you feel good.

Keep your emotions in check and don’t burn bridges. You’ll thank yourself later.

Wrapping It Up

Being laid off feels cruddy, but it is not the end of the world. You will recover from this, and you will find gainful employment again. Just keep plugging at it. Take a little bit to collect yourself and then work out a plan to touch up your resume and begin applying for jobs again.

When you find a new job, you’ll get right back on track, and your lay off will, hopefully, be out of your head in no time.

Have you been laid off recently? I’d like to hear how you’re holding up. Drop a comment below.

Being laid off can be devastating but the key thing to remember is that it has nothing to with your performance. Here are things you can if you are laid off.

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