10 tips for surviving a layoff


With the unemployment rate continuing to climb, laid-off workers must reorganize their lives and their finances all while grappling with the emotional grief of losing a job. How can they cope?

Surviving a Layoff: A Week-by-Week Guide to Getting your Life Back Together (Adams Media) by finance writer Lita Epstein is a comprehensive guide to streamlining one’s life after a layoff covering everything from how to tell family and friends to finding extra ways to make money.

Epstein offers 10 tips for surviving a layoff.

  1. Work on yourself before starting to look for a new job. You will need to work through the five stages of grieving just like you would after any other loss. Be certain that you’ve gotten past the stage of anger before starting job interviews.
  2. Talk about the layoff with your spouse and children. Talk about what’s happening in age appropriate ways.
  3. Divide your friends into two groups: those who you will depend on for emotional support and those who you want to include in your job search network. After your initial layoff, only discuss the layoff with those who you plan to depend on for emotional support. Avoid those who you want to include in your job search network until you’ve got your anger under control.
  4. Write down your layoff story. Develop it into a 30-second spiel and a longer two- minute spiel. Practise it in front of the mirror; then practise it with family and friends. When you’re ready to tell it without breaking down or showing anger, you’re ready to start looking for a job.
  5. About 90% of jobs are found through networking, so as soon as possible after the layoff start developing your list of people in your professional network. This can include former co-workers, vendors or professionals you worked with on you last job, people you know from professional or trade associations and anyone else you know that may be able to introduce you professionally.
  6. Don’t write up one resume and print lots of copies. Tweak each resume based on the job description of the position for which you are applying. Don’t lie, but do develop descriptions of your previous positions that emphasize the position description of the job you seek.
  7. Job search websites are a good place for research, but don’t expect to find a job by just answering ads on these websites. Computer software programs cull the resumes looking for particular key words. You will have a better chance of making it to the top of the list if you edit your resume to use key words you find in the job description online to describe your past experiences.
  8. Seek out professional or trade associations related to the type of work you want. Many of these associations have job search boards. Jobs on these boards get fewer responses and your chances of getting an interview are better.
  9. Go directly to the websites of companies you want to work for and see what types of jobs are available. Try to find someone in your network who might have a contact inside the company with job openings. If that doesn’t work, then apply through the company website.
  10. When you do get interviews, find ways to calm yourself just before the interview. You’ll make a much better impression if you’re able to calm those nerves.