11 Things To Do Immediately When You Get Laid Off

2008 November 7
by Kyle Bumpus
from → Career and Jobs

Being laid off is pretty stressful, especially if you happen to be smarter than all the people who didn’t get laid off. Or at least, that’s how I felt when I got laid off. But never fear, I’ve come up with ten concrete actions that, if you do them exactly, you are guaranteed an even better job in the field of your choice or your money back. In particular order:

  1. Spruce Up Your Resume – This is a no-brainer. If you couldn’t figure this one out on your own, there’s probably a reason you were laid off to begin with. To increase the odds of anyone actually reading that spiffy new resume, consider using one of the free resume posting services such as Monster.com or HotResumes.com to distribute your resume all over the internet. Check out my post Elements Of A Good Tech Resume if you happen to be looking for an IT job.
  2. Tell EVERYBODY You’ve Ever Met, Immediately – Trust me on this. Some people might feel self-conscious about the fact they’ve been laid off, as if it’s due to their own short-comings. Bollocks. Everybody knows somebody, and that douchebag you met at the party two weeks ago just might know somebody who’s hiring. So give douchebag a call and let him know you’re looking. You probably shouldn’t call him douchebag, though.
  3. Give Your Resume To Everybody, Even If They Don’t Ask – Even if your grandmother isn’t hiring, she’ll probably frame your resume and hang it on her wall because that’s what grandmas do. Old people tend to know a lot of other old people, so maybe the CEO of a major corporation (these people are usually old) will see your resume hanging on grandma’s wall at a bridge game and offer you a job. It may seem like a long shot, but it’s still better odds than playing the lottery. Speaking of which…
  4. Play The Lottery – Maybe just one ticket. Who knows? You may never have to work again!
  5. Shore Up Your References – Get in touch with your old boss and coworkers as quickly as possible to ask for references. It helps if you buy them a beer before asking, but that part is optional.
  6. Stop Spending Money – Sell your house and move under a bridge. I hear panhandling pays well. If you don’t want to go to that extreme, at least cut back on eating out, partying, and cable. Do you really need 18 HBO’s and every Cubs game on tv (they’ll never win, anyway) for $5,205 per month? Probably not.
  7. Freelance – This may not apply for some, but in many industries (software, accounting, data entry, writing, etc) freelancing is a viable alternative to full-time work. Even if you can’t find enough free-lance work to fill all your time, every dollar you earn freelancing helps stretch your savings that much further. Some good sites to find freelance work (especially in the IT field) are craigslist, eLance, and oDesk.
  8. Get A Girlfriend/Boyfriend – Now that you aren’t busy all the time, you’ll have plenty of time to find a new girlfriend or boyfriend. After all, lack of time was the only reason you didn’t have one before, right? Right??!??!? But yeah, nothing works better on the ladies than saying “Hi, I was laid off today” with a sad puppy-dog look on your face. I’m not even kidding. Even if you weren’t laid off, you should try that one. Would I lie to you?
  9. Start Your Own Company – Who needs a job, anyway? If you can’t beat’em, join’em. There are plenty of businesses you can start without much capital; blogging, for instance. I hear porn sites do quite well, too.
  10. Learn New Skills (Or Brush Up On Some Old Ones) – If you’re a java developer, why not pick up C#? If you’re a good people person, why not study up on how to become a “life coach” (whatever that is) or an international spy? I don’t know how well spies get paid, but it sure seems like a cool job.
  11. Go On Vacation! – Go on, you deserve it. Unless you’re completely broke, a short vacation will rejuvenate and get you fired up for your job search. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, either. Something as simple as a weekend camping in the mountains or at the beach would do the trick.
  12. SUPER SPECIAL BONUS HINT - Join and/or update profiles on popular social networking sites such as Linked In or Facebook. These sites are invaluable networking tools in the internet age. You can also follow me on twitter (@KyleAAA)! It probably won’t help you get a job, but it will make me feel important.

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18 Responses
  1. 2008 November 8

    This may seem like a crazy idea but I feel that has soon as you get home you should send your boss a thank you note, for giving you a chance to work for them..

    Chances are the boss had no choice but to lay off. You never know, by showing gratitude it will keep you in the good books, and when times get better you may have a chance of regaining your position. Just my opinion…..

  2. 2008 November 8

    That’s actually a great idea. If nothing else, it can help you secure a good reference.

  3. 2008 November 10

    Cool… If everyone who is laid off has this attitude, then I think being laid off wouldn’t be a nightmare any more…


  4. 2008 November 10

    Hmmm…. I wonder how much you really can make panhandling? One guy used to stand at a corner with a sign saying “Need $18 to pay the rent.” People would hand him cash out their car windows…presumably $20 bills. Only two of those an hour would pay more than I’m earning…tax-free. ;-)

    Seriously: I actually calculated whether I could (should?) consider selling my house and living out of my van. Now that the pet dog is no longer a gigantic German shepherd, I could do it…tho’ around here one might prefer to have a Ger-shep for a vanmate.

    Well, you’re young and you’ll soon have a new job — or with any luck, maybe you’ll conceive a way to earn a living through your own enterprise and end up a rich old guy who’ll notice some future young gent’s resume on a grandma’s family-room wall.

    Hang in there. Things will work out.

  5. 2008 November 10
    Bonnie permalink

    Studenomist, I’m sorry, but…have you ever been laid off?!!! People generally feel shock, disbelief, anger, and all sorts of other emotions that I hope never to have to feel again after being laid off. I wanted nothing to do with a company who followed me out the door and gave me next to no severance after being an A-plus employee, let alone send them a thank-you note. For what? Making my life a living hell?Sorry. Anyway, Amateur, I hope everything works out for you. Your tips are good, especially the one about letting EVERYONE you know about your being laid off–an acquaintance is who actually helped me get a new job after being laid off. I hardly knew her myself but she knew someone who knew someone…and voila.

  6. 2008 November 12
    Jack permalink

    One of the first things you should if you have worked an extended contract (6 months or more) or were a fulltime employee file for your unemployment benefits immediately when you get home. Even if your layoff or contract ended on a Friday if you call your State on that Friday you will get credit for the whole week – this way you will receive your first check in about two weeks instead of three. Of course once you’re done with that let your recruiters know and start looking for a new job right away. It’s often easier to get back to work in first few weeks after your layoff for some reason – maybe it’s because your skill set is still fresh and you interview better. This is all based on my own experience

  7. 2008 November 12
    BeenThere permalink

    Take a (slightly) lower salary than you are worth with the agreement that you will be reviewed in six months, it will show you are willing to work with your new employer’s budget, and if you are good, your first raise will make up the difference.

  8. 2008 November 12
    giovannn permalink

    Post your resume in every job website(monster.com, dice.com) . And most of all apply.

  9. 2008 November 13

    That stuff about GET A GIRLFRIEND, you got to be kidding me. I told to two girlfriends whom I had known a while(more than 6 months each) and was willing to take it to the next level. They just dumped me. They started giving me reasons how they were busy, and cannot meet me. I learn’t my lesson and even I started dumping girls who don’t have a job and are dependent on money.

  10. 2008 December 29

    People always hate to talk about when they are laid off. But as it has become every day’s news headline since Yahoo started it with cutting 1500 of its task force last year, now a need of platform has been in demand where people can express their selves in words how they are feeling about their company, whey the got laid off was that justified or not.
    And every thing they want to tell anonymously.And http://www.layoffgossip.com is providing you that platform.

  11. 2009 January 5
    Lisa permalink

    Right after I was laid off in November, my friend sent me the link to this article saying that I should come to Vegas to visit him, and on that trip, I could take care of the vacation and boyfriend part of your 11 items. Needless to say, that friend is now my boyfriend, which is the silver lining to an otherwise crappy situation. Maybe it doesn’t work for everyone, but it was definitely worth the money I forked over for a plane ticket! More people should definitely follow your advice on that one.

  12. 2009 January 5
    Lisa permalink

    Right after I was laid off in November, my friend sent me the link to this article saying that I should come to Vegas to visit him, and on that trip, I could take care of the vacation and boyfriend part of your 11 items. Needless to say, that friend is now my boyfriend, which is the silver lining to an otherwise crappy situation. Maybe it doesn’t work for everyone, but it was definitely worth the money I forked over for a plane ticket! More people should follow your advice on that one because you never know what can happen.

  13. 2009 January 5

    Nice! I’m a matchmaker! I expect to be invited to the wedding (so long as there’s an open bar).

  14. 2009 January 13

    I have a very close friend, who graduated from Harvard. Worked for ML for over 8 years, last year he’s laid off too. OMG, now the banking industry is badly hurt, how long it would take for those financial background guys like him get back to the job market. Banking jobs are not there as much as before as easily seen on http://www.joboutlets.com and other job sites in the region

  15. 2009 January 15

    Great tips! This morning I wrote a somewhat similar article on tips for finding a job in a recession after you’ve been laid off. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no magic trick for finding a job right now, but there are some things you can do to at least increase your chances of landing an interview…

    “What to Do if You’ve Been Laid Off: Finding a Job in a Recession”

  16. 2009 January 29

    Maybe a job layoff is a time for you to reflect back on your life and your career.

    is taking another job going to change much for you?
    Are you in it to just survive or actually make a difference?

  17. 2009 March 10

    I quickly joined an unemployment social network (http://www.freeagentnet.com is a good one) in order to meet people in the same situation, get some good info, and swap tips with people who had been looking for a while. I met some great people who pointed me in the right direction for the search and gave me some general tips (good ideas for saving money, etc).

    I definitely suggest doing the same — if nothing else, its a casual place you can go and talk with others that know the frustrations of not having a job. The ability to keep your finger on the pulse of your sector (who’s hiring, where people are finding interviews) is very useful, and helps the search dramatically.

  18. 2010 December 29

    I will add one more thing – refinance your home mortgage! (particularly if you know you are going to get laid off ahead of time). I knew that I would be leaving the company and starting up my own business, but now that interest rates have declined – I am unable to get our mortgage refinanced, which would have really helped to reduce our monthly expenses. Mortgage expense is the largest expense for most families.

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