It’s 4:00 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, and you’ve just learned your company has come under new ownership. There are some changes coming down the pike. On Monday morning, you receive an email stating there will be a company-wide meeting at the end of the month. Next thing you know, you are sitting in that meeting and being told that you and your coworkers no longer have jobs.
In this moment, you have a few options. You can hit the panic button, throw a pity party, or take a deep breath and assess the situation. We suggest the latter. Although layoffs can be scary situations, they can alternatively end up being the career transition you didn’t know you needed.
To help you navigate through this time of uncertainty, here are five steps you should take immediately once you’ve been laid off:
1. Take Time to Regroup
Change is never easy, especially when it is forced upon you. When you find yourself in the midst of a life-changing occurrence, you are bound to feel a wide range of emotions. It is important that you never make a major decision while in an emotional state. Instead, take time to assess what has happened, regroup, and decide where you want to go from here.
In terms of how much time you need, that will be different for everyone. No matter what, though, you should give yourself at least a day before making any big moves.
2. Update Your Resume
Once you have calmed down and found time to breathe, assess where you want to go. Believe it or not, getting laid off can provide a good opportunity for a career change.
First, decide whether you want to pursue the same type of career or change directions. Then, update your resume and make sure you can easily tailor it to the positions you’ve decided to apply for.
3. Assess Your Financial Situation
This is one step that should absolutely not go overlooked. It will be easier to alleviate your stress once you know where your finances stand. Your financial state will drive your job search and determine whether you should begin working part-time while you continue to search for your next career move or you have time to spend on going after a dream job that might take longer to land.
4. Leverage Your Network
It is important to note that getting laid off is not the time to begin networking; your network is vital to your career growth and should be nurtured even when you are employed. With that being said, now is the time to leverage that network you’ve spent time curating. Over time, you have created contacts within your industry. If you have put in the time to grow those relationships, you can now reap the benefits.
One good practice is to reach out to your network via email to fill them in on your current employment status and the type of job you would like to land next. Putting yourself in a vulnerable position is scary, but by taking this step you place yourself in front of professionals you trust. You also open yourself up to their professional circles, increasing your reach.
Don’t forget about your social network: Be sure to update your LinkedIn and state on your profile that you are looking for a new career.
5. Set a Date
As you begin your job search, you should set a timeframe. Pick a date, and if your search hasn’t yielded results by that date, you’ll know it’s time to change tactics.
If you realize that what you’re doing isn’t working, you may need guidance from someone else. You can look for that guidance from a recruiter, temp agency, mentor, or even a career placement center at your school or university.
Meghann Isgan is the team success manager at Readers.com.