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A Guide to the Landing Zone: Taking Flight After a Layoff

Laid off: Taking Flight After a Layoff

Is there anything more stressful or disorienting than being laid off? Unfortunately, this is a reality for many of us. The number of Americans laid off each year varies, but from 2000-2024 it averaged 1,923,240. Even employees at giants like Google and Tesla aren’t immune.

There is, however, an opportunity following the initial shock. Now’s your chance to take charge of your career and land an even better job.

With the help of this guide, you will be equipped with the tools and strategies you need to navigate the job search post-layoff. You’ll learn how to make it easy for yourself to land in the “landing zone” and launch yourself into your next career move.

Take a Breath and Acknowledge Your Emotions

After being laid off, you might feel angry, sad, or fearful. Don’t bottle these feelings up. Instead, talk to your friends, family, or a therapist.

There’s also strength in numbers. If you are laid off, consider joining a support group for laid-off workers. You may be surprised at how many others have experienced the same thing.

Understand Your Package

You should read your severance agreement carefully, as it contains the following information:

  • Continued payment of your salary.
  • The continuation of health insurance benefits, such as COBRA options.
  • Outplacement services (if offered).
  • A non-compete clause.

If you have questions, contact an employment lawyer. Consultations are often free.

Secure Your Finances

What is your next move? Review your financial situation and take the following steps:

  • Review your budget. Understanding your financial situation is crucial. Track your income and expenses to determine how long your savings and severance will last.
  • Contact creditors. Don’t wait for the situation to get worse; be proactive. Creditors often offer temporary hardship programs.
  • File for unemployment. You may qualify for unemployment benefits. You should research the claim process and file it as soon as possible.

To help you navigate this period, you may also want to speak with a financial advisor. Since money is tight, check out free or discounted financial advice like Advisers Give Back, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or the Financial Planning Association.

Reframe Your Mindset

Rather than viewing this as a setback, view it as an opportunity. During a job search, reframing your mindset can help you see the situation as a catalyst for self-discovery and growth. Also, by changing your perspective, you can explore new career paths, develop new skills, and eventually find a job that fits your passions.

Network Like a Pro

You have the opportunity now to leverage your professional network.

  • Reconnect with old colleagues. Contact former co-workers, managers, and clients. Let them know you’re on the job market and open to new opportunities.
  • Leverage online platforms. Take part in professional networking groups on LinkedIn and attend industry events both virtually or in person.
  • Inform your network. Make your job search known to your network on social media.

Gear Up for the Job Hunt

Here are some tips to help you feel confident and increase your chances of landing a new job.

  • Polish your resume and profile. Be sure to tailor your resume to highlight the skills and accomplishments relevant to the position you’re seeking. Also, your LinkedIn profile needs a professional headshot and an impactful summary.
  • Craft a compelling cover letter. Don’t just rewrite the job description. Instead, craft an engaging cover letter that highlights your unique value proposition and why you’d be a great fit.
  • Expand your search. Use job boards, professional associations, and company websites to find jobs. But, don’t limit yourself to advertised jobs. Also, speak directly to recruiters and hiring managers.

Chart Your Course – Define Your Ideal Job and Leverage Resources

When defining your ideal job, consider your passions, interests, skills, and values. Then, identify a company culture, work environment, and job responsibilities that fit your goals.

You can also gain clarity about your ideal job by conducting informational interviews, researching industries and job trends, and seeking guidance from career counselors or mentors.

Embrace Continuous Learning and Skills Development

This is a great time to invest in yourself. To make yourself more attractive to candidates, consider the following.

  • Take online courses. Udemy, Coursera, and EdX provide online courses to enhance your skill set.
  • Pursue professional certifications. Potential employers might notice your resume if you have industry-recognized certifications.
  • Volunteer your skills. Getting involved in volunteer work keeps your resume active and provides you with networking opportunities.

Try Your Hand at a Side Hustle

After being laid off, someone might consider a side hustle for several reasons:

  • Financial security. While you look for a new job, a side hustle can replace your lost income. It is especially important if you have bills to pay and unexpected expenses.
  • Stay busy & productive. A side hustle can give you purpose and keep you busy between jobs.
  • Explore new skills. With a side hustle, you can explore new interests and develop valuable skills for your next job.
  • Test the waters of self-employment. Side hustles are a low-risk option for those considering starting their own business.
  • Career backup plan. Another income stream can provide a safety net if you are laid off again or lose your job unexpectedly.

Practice the Interview Game

You never know when a potential employer will contact you. Therefore, be prepared when the interview call comes.

  • Practice makes perfect. Research the company, practice common interview questions, and rehearse your answers.
  • Highlight your value. During interviews, emphasize your accomplishments and quantifiable results. Remember that you’re selling your skills and experience.
  • Negotiation ninja. Be prepared to negotiate your compensation before accepting an offer.

The Power of “No”: Prioritize Your Well-Being

Job searching can be draining. This is why taking care of yourself during this stressful time is so important.

As a first step, don’t accept the first offer you receive. If an opportunity does not align with your desired salary, work culture, or career goals, it’s okay to say “no.”

In addition, you can prioritize your well-being by;

  • Maintain a routine. Create a daily routine with exercise, healthy meals, and quality sleep. Maintaining consistency keeps you focused and structured.
  • Stay positive. Make sure you celebrate small victories and keep a positive attitude.
  • Seek support. If you need it, ask your family, friends, or mental health professionals for additional help.


Getting laid off can be a challenging experience, but it can also be an opportunity for growth. You can successfully navigate this transition by taking proactive steps, staying organized, and maintaining a positive outlook. Resilience and adaptability are also necessary to bounce back stronger than ever.

Image Credit: Ron Lach; Pexels

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CEO at Due
John Rampton is an entrepreneur and connector. When he was 23 years old, while attending the University of Utah, he was hurt in a construction accident. His leg was snapped in half. He was told by 13 doctors he would never walk again. Over the next 12 months, he had several surgeries, stem cell injections and learned how to walk again. During this time, he studied and mastered how to make money work for you, not against you. He has since taught thousands through books, courses and written over 5000 articles online about finance, entrepreneurship and productivity. He has been recognized as the Top Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and Finance Expert by Time. He is the Founder and CEO of Due.

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