6 Ways to Handle a Layoff During a Rocky Economy

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A layoff can happen at any time, and as the year draws to a close, we can expect to see more layoffs. While this may sound like gloom and doom, there are some positive ways to handle a potential layoff, and successfully make a new career move.

6 ways to handle a layoff

1. Allow yourself time to grieve

A layoff can cause you a lot of grief. It’s okay to allow yourself time to grieve. In fact, it’s best to do so before you jump right into another job search.

During the job search, it’s important to also manage your grief, so you don’t allow negative reactions to spill over into your job search.

Hiring managers and recruiters can easily pick up on any negative feelings or attitudes when interviewing you. You have to learn to manage your emotions during those crucial interactions.

2. Develop a new outlook on your career and your life

One of my past clients who suffered a layoff chose to have a very positive outlook on her situation.

She started calling herself “funemployed,” because she now had the time to do some things she didn’t when working 40 hours a week.

Once she had her brief period of fun, she then turned her focus toward her dream of starting her own business.

A layoff can be used as a time to pursue your passions, to discover new ones, or to give yourself or your family some much-needed quality time.

3. Be realistic about how long it may take to find your next job

It’s important to have realistic expectations when it comes to how soon you may find your next opportunity.

The average job search following a layoff can take three to nine months. This is also true even in a good job market. You should expect to devote at least 20 hours per week on your job search, if not more.

Be patient with the process, and try not to take the first thing that comes along, especially if it’s not a good fit. How do you determine if a company or job is a good fit for you? Check out the post below.

You don’t want to find yourself looking for another job again a year from now. Allow yourself to be a little selective for as long as you financially can.

How to Tell If a Company Is a Good Fit for You

4. Don’t waste too much of your time on online job boards

Most people who find themselves facing a layoff immediately jump online, and start applying for jobs through job boards.

While you want to use all the resources at your fingertips, you also want to use your time wisely.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Since 80% of the current workforce found their jobs through networking, you should spend 80% of your job search doing the same.

You should spend the other 20% of your time responding to job ads, preferably with a more targeted approach. What does a more targeted approach look like? Check out my post, “What Are the Best Alternatives to Online Job Boards?

What Are the Best Alternatives to Online Job Boards?

5. Learn how to sell yourself (without feeling like a salesperson)

In today’s job search, accomplishments are king! You’ll have to sell your experience by showing the results of your skills and previous job duties.

Now is the time to start making a list of your on-the-job accomplishments, and start collecting any numbers or figures to quantify the results of your work. Many people fail to collect this information before their layoff.

You should make a regular habit of recording this information every six months, whether you’re looking for a job or not. Then, you’ll want to add it to your resume.

Having accomplishments on your resume will help you secure more interviews, where you’ll have the opportunity to tell the story of those accomplishments. When backed up with details and quantitative data, your stories will feel more like sharing information than selling yourself. And the details of your stories will help you land more job offers.

6. Take advantage of available resources

In addition to my work as a career coach, I work under contract providing outplacement counseling.

This is where a company provides and pays for all career coaching for each person being laid off. It’s usually part of the employee’s severance package.

While most employees take advantage of this service during a layoff, I’m shocked at how many who don’t.

I mean, it’s free! The company is paying for this service. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of every resource made available to you?!

If your company doesn’t offer outplacement counseling as part of your severance package, ask for it! What do you have to lose at this point? The worst thing they can say is no.

And if they do say no, there are still some affordable and helpful options for you to brush up on your job search skills (see below).


A layoff can be devastating, but it doesn’t mean you’ve lost your ability to work. Remember to be realistic, use your time wisely, and utilize available resources such as the following:

  • Free advice: this blog provides a lot of it, from tips on résumé writing, interviewing, and networking, to encouragement when the job search gets tough. Check out the different categories of information available.
  • Goal-Achievement Plan: when you subscribe to the paNASH newsletter, you’ll receive a complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan, to help you set new career and job search goals.
  • Affordable online instruction: when your employer doesn’t provide you a career coach or you can’t afford one on your own, there’s the option for paNASH’s affordable on-demand videos, available online 24/7.

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