Getting laid off is pretty scary and it can really play with your self-esteem. First, I want to start by saying amazing people get laid off all the time. Keep reading or watch the video below to find out what to do if you get laid off.

What to Do If You Get Laid Off

As an HR professional, I have let go of entire teams when made redundant during an acquisition, or simply when the company needed to downsize and cut costs. It was really unfortunate but it’s not personal. At the end of the day, a business is a business but you’re also still the CEO of your career.

That’s why if you’re affected by a layoff, I want you to know that you are worthy, deserving, and amazing regardless of your current employment status. Plus, the idea of climbing a singular career ladder is a rarity in today’s modern age.

What to Do if You Get Laid Off

What to Do if You Get Laid Off

Repeat after me: Amazing people get laid off all the time. MY employment status or career does not define my value or my worth.

Still, the news may be devastating and shocking – so in this blog post (and the video below) I want to share 13 things you can do as soon as you learn you’re laid off – or think you’re about to be.

Helpful Things to Do When Laid Off

1. Forward Self Any Future Portfolio Materials

Before losing access to your work email and systems, forward to yourself or take screenshots of anything you want to include in your future portfolio – praise, testimonials, performance evaluations, campaigns, presentation decks, etc. – anything that isn’t confidential is fair game!

2. Ask for LinkedIn Recommendations

Ask co-workers, clients, managers and HR to write you a testimonial on your LinkedIn profile. Here’s a sample of what you can say.

“Hi ________,

I hope this message finds you well. As I strengthen my LinkedIn profile, I was wondering if you would be open and willing to leave me a recommendation. I am seeking a position in the , and I would like to highlight my strengths in .

No worries if this isn’t up your alley, but I just wanted to ask since we’ve worked together before. If I can be of any assistance or reciprocate on your end, please let me know. Hope to stay in touch!


Your Name”

This is so in the future if you do have reference requests checks and you lose touch, you can pass HR on to your public profile.

3. Feel Your Feelings

Take time to ride out your emotions – don’t suppress or bottle them up inside. If you’re angry, sad, ashamed, disappointed, humiliated – examine all of these emotions and let them out. If you have insurance and/or able to seek out therapy – I highly recommend it. I’ve worked with jobseekers who have grieved their job for weeks to months – all of this is normal.

4. Check with Your State to File Unemployment Benefits

Check with your state on what your unemployment and severance pay options are. If you are able to file for unemployment, do so immediately as it can take time to process. It’s worth consulting with an employment attorney to either review or negotiate your severance package options.

5. Ask Company for Assistance in Job Search Support

If you know you need job search support and your company didn’t offer it, see if you can ask for financial assistance. Many companies will provide outplacement services for good will and to help soften the blow. You’ll be surprised how much they have budgeted, the average package is $2,000. Here’s an example of what you can email to your HR:

“Dear (HR/Manager’s Name),

I am still processing the news of the recent layoff but I understand that tough business decisions need to be made. I have learned a lot in my past # months/years at Organization and am thankful for the opportunity to hone my skills.

As I think about my next career chapter, I realize I will get further faster with the support of a job search expert and community by my side. I would like to ask if Organization is able to help me with the program costs as part of my exit package.

I found a career coaching program called Happily Hired Formula. It’s a program that helps with everything from personal branding to networking/interviewing to land aligned offers as quickly as possible. The cost is just {insert cost} and their guarantee is to support me until I land my next position.

Any assistance the organization is able to provide would be invaluable. Thank you for your consideration and let me know if you have any questions.



6. Trust the Process

Remind yourself that you have all the inner resources to not just survive, but to thrive. While it may be challenging to see it now; a layoff is a redirect to put you on a path that can be even better aligned for you.

7. Clarify Your Vision

Take a pause and check in with yourself to ask what you really want. Not what you think you should do or what you’re pigeon holed into. Create a vision of what would be truly rewarding, meaningful, and invigorating to wake up to. Get clarity on being able to describe the type of work you’re doing, how it makes you feel, and what values you express.

You can map this out into a short term and long term goal. If you have trouble with this, know that there are resources out there to help with this, let me know in the comments if you’d like me to create a video of my favorite coaching exercise and tool to help people chunk down big goals.

Recommended post: Career Clarity: The Most Important Yet Overlooked Aspect of Job Searching

8. Don’t Be Afraid to Share!

Don’t be afraid of letting people know about your situation. Almost everyone knows exactly what you’re going through – having been affected personally or knows someone close that has. You’ll be surprised at how much support and leads others are able to provide when they know you’re looking and what you’re looking for.

9. Find Activities and Routines that Energize You

Put in a job search routine that includes staying away from refreshing job boards and your inbox… fill your days with activities that fuel you. For example, I like to read and journal for an hour each morning, play with the kids, go on morning walks or do yoga, meditate, cook… try to do 2 non-job search related activities you love each day.

10. Update Your Resume and LinkedIn

Block off time to update both your resume and LinkedIn as it relates to the dream job you’re looking for. You’ll feel more excited when people ask for your marketing materials, and you’ll be more energized to put yourself out there knowing you have an awesome personal brand in place.

Recommended post: How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Multiple Target Roles

11. Put Together Dream Org Contacts List

Put together a dream list of organizations and identify the decision makers – from hiring managers of your department to recruiters you have a common interest with… send a solution message to them and introduce yourself. If you’re not sure what this is, you can check out my free training in the description box. Networking and guaranteeing your visibility is so crucial. The golden rule in job searching is to have more conversations than applications.

12. Know Your Monthly Expenses

Know exactly what your living expenses are and how much you’ve budgeted. If you truly are living paycheck to paycheck, focus on getting any type of bridge job to give you the mental and emotional space you need to focus on a dream job. You will make the best decisions when you operate from a place of abundance vs. scarcity and fear.

13. Do Not Be Ashamed of Your Layoff in Interviews

Don’t be afraid of telling your interviewer you were laid off – here’s an example of what you might say:

“After spending X months or years at Organization, I really loved what I was doing and was so proud of achieving XYZ. Unfortunately, I along with my team was part of a company wide restructure. I’ve had some time to reflect on what I’m looking for next and I’m really excited about your org/position because…”

There is nothing wrong with having an employment gap or being laid off!

Recommended post: How to Address Employment Gaps on Your Resume and In Interviews

What’s the difference between fired and laid off?

The difference between being fired and laid off really comes down to why someone’s leaving their job. When someone gets fired, it’s usually because they messed up, didn’t do their work well, or broke some rules at the office. Basically, they didn’t meet the expectations their boss had for them.

On the other hand, being laid off has nothing to do with how well someone’s doing their job. It’s more about what’s happening with the company or the economy at large. Lately, there have been a lot of widespread layoffs in the news because many companies over-hired and are now trying to downsize. To be clear, when someone is laid off, it has nothing to do with them personally, but reflects bigger company changes and restructuring.

What’s the difference between terminated vs laid off?

Being terminated is essentially the same as being fired, whereas being laid off means losing your job because of company-related reasons, like budget cuts or reorganization, and not because you did something wrong.


I hope you found this post helpful. I just want to emphasize that there is nothing wrong with being laid off!

If you’re feeling any shame, guilt, embarrassment, humility, sadness, grieving, anger, or fear, that is all 100% normal.

I know it’s hard to believe it when it’s so fresh, but I promise you that you are now being put on a path that is more aligned for you. There’s a better opportunity for you — this is just the catalyst to create that. Whether you’re looking for more pay, more autonomy, more flexibility, more challenge, a better workplace, something more aligned with your soul mission, it is there for you.

I have had so many clients tell me that they couldn’t see it in the moment, but on the other side, they were so grateful for their layoff because it opened up new doors, new opportunities, and a new path.

Whatever you want to achieve, you can make it happen.

Let me know in the comments what tip you found the most helpful and if you have any other tips to share.

I can’t wait to hear where you end up landing and know that you will get happily hired!


If you’re ready to find a role that truly feels like your calling (even if you don’t have experience), check out my FREE on-demand masterclass to get the freshest strategies on how to go from feeling stuck to landing more ALIGNED interviews & offers.

How to Land Your Dream Job Free Masterclass

How to Land Your Dream Job Free Masterclass


Emily Liou and her team believe that everyone can land their dream job. Want to find out more about how you can wake up happier on Mondays? Whether you like to work at your own pace or have a group to hold you accountable, there’s a Happily Hired job search program to shortcut your job search today.

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