What to do when you get laid off from work?

Being laid off from work can be frustrating and it may feel like an enormous setback in your career, but remember, it is not the end.

The COVID-19 pandemic has played a significant role in causing layoffs and affecting professionals across the globe.

Well, you are in the right place if you are looking for ways to get back on track to kick-start your career.

When you get laid off from work, take some time to analyze the terms of your layoff and plan your next step accordingly.

Read on to get an insight into the following questions:

What Does Being Laid Off Mean?

Being laid off from work means being relieved from your current position of employment with no fault of yours.

Your performance or deliverables are not necessarily the cause of being laid off from work. In fact, most layoffs are because of the company's need to cut costs due to some economic crisis or the need to downsize.

To be laid off from work simply means your employment has been terminated for reasons unrelated to your performance.

Is Layoff Temporary or Permanent?

It can either be a permanent or a temporary layoff depending on the reasons behind the need for layoff by the company.

  • Temporary Layoff: A temporary layoff means that your termination from the job is just for a short period or a specific time set by the organization. The employer may call you back at any time and you may still have rights to certain employment benefits.

  • Permanent Layoff: On the other hand, if you are permanently laid off from work, it means that your employment has been terminated indefinitely.

Reasons for Layoffs

Most layoffs happen when an organization is going through some issues that make it difficult for them to pay their employees.

Some of the common reasons a company tends to lay off employees are listed below:

  • When the company plans to downsize to cut costs
  • When the company shuts down part of their production operations
  • When the company needs to restructure
  • When the company faces a shortage in funds
  • When the company is going through some merger or buyout situation
  • When the company is in some debt or faces a natural disaster

What to Do When You Are Laid off from Work

To be laid off from work may change your perspective of various things and in such time you need to ensure that you are prepared before making the next step.

Here are some things you need to do if you are laid off from work:

Assess the Situation

When you have been laid off from work, you need to understand the circumstances in which you have been terminated by your employee.

It may be a temporary or a permanent layoff, so you need to assess the situation and plan the course of your career accordingly.

Request for Laid Off Letter

When you are laid off from work, you need to ensure that you have an official letter stating your termination from work.

Check for any errors or details that may affect your next job. It should clearly state the reason for your termination and highlight your contributions and achievements without being overshadowed by any negative remarks.

Also Read: How to ask for a letter of recommendation?

Check for Benefits and Insurance

Employees who are laid off from work are eligible for certain benefits, so make sure to check yours.

Some employers provide employment-related benefits and health insurance for a certain period. They may also give you a month's salary in advance, mostly when you have been laid off early in the month.

Examine Your 401(k) and Pension Plans

Check if you have a defined-contribution plan 401 (k) or a defined-benefit plan for a pension.

Examine your 401 (k) and pension plans and decide if you should cash out, transfer the value into another plan, or invest it according to your retirement date.

Remember what lies ahead of you and make good use of what you have at hand because you will still need to pay bills before you land your next job.

Whether you have a defined-contribution or a defined-benefit plan, make the best use of it.

Inquire About Severance Package

When you are laid off involuntarily, they may provide a severance package based on the period of your employment.

Inquire about your severance package and inspect the details to ensure that it is up to industry standards.

Although most employers normally offer 1-2 weeks of severance pay per year of your employment tenure, you can try to negotiate.

Collect Your Last Paycheck

Collect your last paycheck before you leave your job. Ensure that they pay the right amount due in full after any necessary deductions.

Check for any unused paid leaves, vacation, or sick days off and seek payment for them if the policies of your company make it liable for you to be paid for them.

Finally, inquire when and how you would be paid because sometimes they may pay you immediately but at times after a certain period.

Register for Unemployment

It is a smart move to register for unemployment when you are laid off from work. Doing so can significantly help you cut back on spending your emergency fund.

Visit your local employment registration office to check your eligibility for unemployment benefits. Check if you are entitled to any benefits from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act.

Update Your Resume

The next important thing you need to do when you are laid off from work is to update your resume.

Add any new achievements or work history along with new skills that you have acquired on your resume. Doing so will help you make a positive impact during your next job application.

Also Read: How to write a resume that can land you a dream job?

Research Jobs

Look for jobs that align with your skills and experience level. Look for job portals and vacancies wherein you can put your potential to use.

To land a new job, you need to do your research thoroughly.

Some of the best job portals to look for jobs are:

Apart from these suggestions, do your research to find suitable jobs.

Prepare for Interviews

Preparing for an interview beforehand is one way through which you can ensure that you make the best impression on the recruiters/interviewers.

It can boost your confidence level and cut down any jitters that you may have before the interview. Your mind will be alert and you can tackle any question or situation during the interview with a positive mind.

Also Read: The best interview preparation course

Difference Between Layoff, Fired, and Furlough


As explained earlier, being laid off from work means being terminated from work due to some financial issues faced by the company. It often occurs when an organization needs to downsize or cut costs by letting go of its employee or employees.

Being laid off does not mean that you have failed to contribute to the company's growth or underperformed in any way. They may still entitle you to some benefits and have a high chance of being rehired for the job.


Being fired from work means a permanent termination that may be due to your lack of performance. There is no guarantee that they would entitle you to benefits or receive compensation in such a case.


It is a leave of absence from work that is temporary. When an organization furloughs its employee, they expect one to resume work after a certain period. During this time, you may have reduced working hours or take an unpaid leave of absence.

Also Read: How to answer why you are looking for a new job during interview?

Key Takeaways

  • Being laid off from work does not mean that your termination is permanent.
  • Do not jump to conclusions when you are laid off from work. Instead, assess the situation and make plans.
  • Examine the nature of your layoff and review your benefits and entitlements during layoffs
  • Update your resume and prepare for interviews if you intend to apply for a new job when you are laid off from work.
  • Research jobs and apply for new ones that resonate with your level of skills and experience.

Use Hiration’s 360 Degree Career Platform for all your professional needs, including interview preparation, LinkedIn profile review, resume, and cover letter building. We provide 24/7 online chat assistance.

Additionally, you can write to us at support@hiration.com for any other queries.

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