No one wants to get laid off, but it happens, even to the best of us. Economic, leadership, and industry changes can impact your career. Most times it’s out of our control. What you can control is what you do next.  I always say that the candidates who best handle the news of layoffs are the ones to bounce back quickly. 

I spoke with some of our Toronto recruiters to see what advice they suggest for people who were just laid off. Here are the top actions they recommend:

Take Time to Process Getting Laid Off

Getting laid off can be a big blow to take. Allow yourself a moment to process the news emotionally. It’s normal to feel a range of emotions, and taking time to acknowledge them is important. Take a few days to let the shock, anger, and emotions dissipate. Give yourself a couple of days to reset while you work out the details of your exit from the company. Try not to take the news personally. It’s easier said than done, but often times many external factors contribute to such decisions; they are not made lightly and majority of the time do not reflect employee performance.

Clarify Details with Your Employer

It’s important to gather information and know what to expect next. Speak with your employer to understand the terms of your layoff, including the reason for it, your last working day, and any severance package offered. Get clarification about rights regarding unused vacation days, sick leave, and other benefits.

You also need to ensure you have all documentation in place. Request a formal layoff letter for your records. Obtain documents related to your severance package, benefits, and unemployment. Consult a lawyer to review these documents. 

Apply for Unemployment Benefits

File for unemployment benefits as soon as possible to avoid delays in receiving financial support. You can apply for EI benefits on the Government of Canada website. 

Create An Interim Financial Plan

Once you have your EI benefits figured out, reviewing your financial situation and creating a budget to manage your expenses while you are between jobs is important. Cut unnecessary costs and prioritize essential expenses. It could take some time to find a new role. On average, it can take 3-6 months. So plan your finances accordingly. 

Get Back Out There – Update Your Resume, LinkedIn Profile, And Network 

Review your current professional standing. Refresh your resume with your most recent job accomplishments and responsibilities. Update your LinkedIn profile and let your network know you are open to new opportunities (use the “Open to Work” feature if comfortable).

It’s also time to get networking. Reach out to your professional network, including former colleagues, mentors, and industry contacts, to let them know you are looking for new opportunities. Attend networking events, join industry groups, and participate in online forums relevant to your field.

Start The Job Hunting

It may have been some time since you last looked for a job. A review of current best practices and places to look at may be required. Begin searching for new job opportunities on job boards, company websites, and through recruitment agencies. Customize your applications for each job to match your skills and experiences with the job requirements.

It’s also important to think outside the box. This could mean considering temporary or freelance work. Look for temporary, part-time, or freelance work to maintain income and stay active in the workforce while you search for a permanent position.

Better Yourself – Add Skills, Knowledge, and Credentials

Getting laid off is also an opportunity to better yourself. Use this time to take online courses, attend workshops, or earn certifications that can improve your employability. Focus on skills that are in demand in your industry or that align with your career goals.

Seek Support

Taking care of yourself is paramount. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Lean on friends, family, or support groups to help you cope with the emotional impact of being laid off. Consider speaking with a career counsellor or therapist for professional guidance or emotional support.

A Final Word On What To Do If You’re Laid Off

You will succeed in the next chapter of your career if you stay positive and persistent. This is a fresh start. Maintain a positive outlook and be persistent in your job search. Rejection is a normal part of the process, and staying motivated is key. Set daily or weekly goals for your job search activities to keep yourself on track.

By taking these steps, you can navigate the aftermath of a layoff more effectively and position yourself for new opportunities and future success.


More Job Search Advice From Our Toronto Recruiters

How to Expertly Address a Past Layoff in an Interview

How Recruitment Experts Say to Rebound From a Layoff

Was Being Laid Off a Blessing in Disguise? 4 Tips to Improve Your Resume

Have You Been “Career Cushioning” in Case You Get Laid Off?

Magda Jarota Marketing Recruiter

Magda Jarota

Magda Jarota is a Director on the Marketing Services team, specializing in communications and public relations, with a broader focus on strategy, advertising, design and all things digital. Before joining IQ PARTNERS, Magda spent five years at a boutique recruitment agency, where she led a variety of searches within public relations, communications, strategy, design, marketing and advertising. While there, Magda led the company culture initiatives as well as internal recruitment strategy.

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