What Should You Do if You’ve Been Laid Off?

Layoffs happen most frequently in January after holidays have passed and the new year’s budgets have been finalized. Learn how to respond to a layoff.

January 5, 2023

Being laid off is tough. No one likes layoffs. Many businesses avoid layoffs for as long as possible. Some even outsource a restructuring to a consulting firm or an outplacement firm.

Yet when an organization simply can’t justify the number of employees they’ve hired, hard decisions follow.

Layoffs happen most frequently in January after holidays have passed and the new year’s budgets have been finalized. Some employees may receive outplacement services or severance, but not every company can offer them.


What should you do if you’ve been laid off in 2023?

I’m going to outline five things that you should consider in response to being laid off.

1. Consider an outplacement programme

Most outplacement pros have more knowledge of the careers industry than general job seekers, so leveraging outplacement can accelerate your job search.

Some outplacement firms are better than others. One might offer canned videos on job search practices and stock comments in the margins of your previous resume.

Another might offer custom resume development, year(s)-long coaching services, market researchers, and social media advisors.

Before agreeing to outplacement services, review the package to decide if it’s right for you.

Some companies will allow you to select your own partner for outplacement services or even offer a budget you can apply to a coach, resume services, or job search tools.


Here are some outplacement firms that you could consider


2. Find support from within your network

Most people need some emotional support to process a layoff. A job loss can blow your sense of self-worth, so finding or creating a support system to help you through the loss is crucial.

Even after you have processed the loss and vented your emotions to a trusted friend, colleague, career coach, or counsellor, you will continue to benefit from support throughout your job search.

It can be challenging to stay motivated and focused through a job search, so job search clubs, career coaches, and tracking tools can help.


3. Begin budgeting early on

Most people need some time to process being laid off. Based on severance, unemployment, and the status of your savings, you may decide you can take a break or you may decide you need to get serious about hitting the market.

Most people land new jobs in months, not weeks, and the higher-level position you are targeting, the longer it can take to build the confidence of the hiring team that you’re worth a substantial investment.

4. Prepare yourself to hit the job market again

You don’t want to start job searching unprepared. Update your career collateral — resume, LinkedIn, letters, and bios.

Check your social media profiles to make sure your posts would pass a background or character assessment. Practice common interview questions and prepare answers to questions that could be uncomfortable for you, such as why you left a role.

While you want to brush up on your resume and interview skills before you hit the market, don’t get stalled here either.

Your resume, LinkedIn, letters, and bios are living documents, meaning they can be customized and revised as you uncover more about an industry or a role.

Similarly, no interview is perfect, so don’t try to script and choreograph every possible scenario. Set a timeline based on your budget and target, then stick with it!


5. Make sure you stand out from the crowd

In recent years, the hiring process has become more complex. In response, many job seekers have clamored for shortcuts, hacks, or methods to skip elements of the hiring process.

While it’s important to play to your strengths, develop new skills to stay competitive (such as video interviewing), and follow best practices within your industry, candidates can stand out by simply doing things right:



If you find yourself facing a layoff, please know there are many resources available to help you through the process. Set clear, actionable goals for yourself.

Find the tools and support you need, then persevere until you find that next role — one that just might be even better than the last!

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About the author

Erica Reckamp

Erica believes candidates deserve to be evaluated based on their strongest contributions and proudest professional moments.

Job Search Like a Pro was founded in 2004 as an exclusive, referral-based business offering premier services leveraging insights from HR, recruiters, career coaches, and outplacement professionals to deliver custom content based on current employment research and trends.