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By: Jody Waddle on April 13th, 2023

7 Steps to Help Manage Your Layoff Experience Successfully

At DemandLab, we like having our team share their expertise and areas of interest in their own voices. In this blog, part of an ongoing series, our Human Resources Manager Jody Waddle discusses tips to help job-seekers in today’s market.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of opening an email from your company manager to read the words, “I’m sorry,” followed by the gut-wrenching words that your employment has been terminated. It brings instant shock, uncertainty, and fear in even the most seasoned individuals.

This experience will bring a flurry of emotions and questions, like “now what?” and “why me?” and “why now?” It is understandable to feel defeated and question the situation. Embrace those questions and understand you may not have answers immediately.

With a plethora of best practices information saturating the internet, in this post I want to provide you with clear, substantive suggestions for a seamless and successful transition to your next work adventure. As an experienced Human Resources professional, I’ve compiled a list of seven steps to focus on to help any individual navigate the journey.


Take this moment to sit with the news and breathe. To breathe is natural, and many would think this is not as valuable information as actionable steps, but trust me, it’s crucial.

Experiencing a significantly drastic event like this requires you to pause and take stock of what has happened so that you can move forward. In January 2023, 1.7 million individuals experienced a layoff, and research by the American Psychological Association has shown that a focus on mental health is a significant factor in job-search effectiveness.

Coming to terms with the raw emotion will require effort to work through. Layoffs are a significant event in a person’s life, so you’ll need time to process the event healthily.

#2 Talk.

You’ll likely find lots of information to help guide you in your search for a new role. However, there are a few places to focus on helping you process the experience.

The first is people close to you, whether a partner, friend, mentor, or anyone else who can provide that outlet for you. Seeking out help is not a sign of weakness but a signal of your strength to find the resources you need and a means by which you can better take care of yourself.

Should you find this is not providing you with the help you need, there are other avenues to turn to, such as mental health resources. They can assist you with processing what has happened and finding closure.

While it might seem counterintuitive, accepting your previous company’s help may also be beneficial. Your previous company may offer extended health benefits, placement services, or recommendations to assist affected employees like yourself. Allowing this moment to reset can help you segue more easily into the next action-oriented steps.

#3. Refocus.

When you’ve spent the time to breathe, reach out to those you trust, and recover from the shock, you can think about your next adventure. This requires a refocus on what aspects of your next employment will match your lifestyle needs and support your personal goals. It is the moment when you can predetermine and prioritize what you require in your next opportunity.

Refocusing is an actionable process to help you determine what you need in your next position. Whether economic, cultural, growth opportunities, work-life balance, or flexibility, the point is to ensure you have sufficiently thought through and prioritized your expectations. Include items you are willing to negotiate on.

For example:

  • Do you and your family require more PTO?
  • Is it a positive culture you seek?
  • Are you looking for that Great Place to Work and won’t accept anything less?

This is the time to prepare that list and research the companies to match the job you need and the company you want to work for.

Using this information, you have a solid basis to formulate how to find your next workplace. Using tools such as job search engines, company review sites, and various Top Company lists, you can find a fantastic organization that meets your standards and needs and begin to prepare your approach.

#4 Refresh.

We’d all like to think our resumes are up to par while we are still working, but this isn’t always the case. Occasionally, life gets in the way, or comfort in your current situation allows these ongoing updates to slip. This is your moment to shine, demonstrate your potential, and prepare yourself both online and offline.

Your first task is to polish up your online profile, whether that be via LinkedIn or a personal webpage. It can be as simple as making sure your timeline is accurate. It can also extend to uploading certifications, asking for recommendations, and updating your picture to a more recent and professional standard. Use the upper word limits of LinkedIn’s sections to fully represent your experiences, skills, assets, and accomplishments. Fly that “Open to Work” flag on your profile picture, and post an appropriate announcement reflecting this.

Your next task, which you can do in conjunction with your LinkedIn revision, is to update your base resume to match the timelines, positions, and accomplishments you’ve listed on your LinkedIn. Your resume must reflect your background, not an embellishment beyond your experiences.

Following these updates, revisit relationships and connections for online and offline possibilities. As you’ve already created the ideal list of companies, finding those mutual connections within the company can provide a helpful boost to your application. Tap into your network and reach out to people you’ve previously worked with, volunteered with, or even connected to at company seminars. Inquire with your neighbors if that works, but by using these preparations, you are ready for the next step.

#5 Schedule.

Focusing your full, undivided attention on seeking your next job adventure can be draining. Scheduling job-search time into your days also allows you to set aside appropriate time to recharge and breathe. Schedule the time and stick to that schedule, as this improves your ability to focus on the task at hand. Set timers throughout the day to step away to recharge.

To keep this daunting activity in check, I highly recommend you track your time, activities, applications, and interviews as if looking for a job were your job. Maintain a spreadsheet or document of your ideal companies, applications, emails, and interviews. This action keeps you from making the indelible error of forgetting who you’ve interacted with, when, and the details of that interaction. You can also track any potential learning or upskilling possibilities and whether you’ve added those to your LinkedIn and resume.

Take the time to tap into your previous company’s cross-skilling, training, or recommendation opportunities and add this to your repertoire. Stacking up your experience and organizing it well will help prepare you for the interviews.

#6. Practice.

Interviews are often nerve-wracking for many individuals, especially after a momentous incident like being laid off. Proper interview preparation and practice are essential to help you ease the fear.

Practicing doesn’t only require you to provide that elevator pitch of your work life, but it allows you to prepare for unfolding the important details, such as how you will address the company-wide layoff.

Use your support system, process your experiences, recite your accomplishments, practice answering questions, and read up on the most common interview techniques for the company you are meeting with. This practice ensures you have the highest chance of bringing your best self to every interview.

#7. Celebrate Successes!

Searching for that next career adventure can be draining, but the sweet taste of success after receiving an offer will make it worth it.

Take time with each step, work through your plan, schedule ahead, plan for the occasional miss, and then celebrate your milestones. Managing a company layoff experience is within your power to control. It requires a presence of mind to accept, refocus, and move forward into the next adventure.

Did you know DemandLab has been named a Great Place to Work? And that we’re hiring? Check out our open positions.