Getting laid off can affect your confidence and how you look at future career opportunities. Even if you take some comfort from knowing that most people are laid off at some point, it can still be a shock when it happens to you. And it’s entirely human to have feelings of rejection and uncertainty.

What can you do to stay confident and take care of yourself if you’re facing job loss?

Press “pause”: Take a few days to assess and for any shock or anger to wear off. You want to make smart decisions about your next move, and it’s not a good idea to burn any bridges with your previous employer – especially if you want references for new opportunities.

Start fresh: If you find that you’re feeling sorry for yourself, face these feelings and get support in working through these emotions. Some employers offer out placement programs that include counselling. You can also make a list of your accomplishments.  If you start applying for positions when you’re still angry or feel insecure remember that recruiters will be assessing your attitude and how speak about your previous employer.

Talk to loved ones: Talk with your family and friends. They can be great sounding boards if you need to vent a little or if you need some guidance. Moral support can count as much as financial support.

Review your budget: Apply for employment insurance benefits immediately. Then make a budget that includes paying off high-interest debt such as credit cards, and reducing expenses to the bare minimum. Put off any major purchases and look for ways to save during this time.

Get professional help: If your former employer offers severance services such as career, financial and stress counselling, take full advantage of them. They can often include some knowledge sharing as well as networking that can be invaluable as you look for your next opportunity.

Reset your perspective: Find a way to talk about your layoff in the most positive way possible and use these words in cover letters, posts and conversations. Inform all your contacts that you’re looking for new opportunities. It will help to have a clear idea of what you want and what you offer. You never know who may have a helpful connection or who may be a valuable reference. 

Look outside the box: Be opportunistic and think beyond your skills sets. Consider:

  • Starting your own business
  • Consulting in your area of expertise
  • Teaching at a community college
  • Going back to school to train for a new career
  • Applying your skills to support a non-profit organization

Take care of yourself: Make sure you’re eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep. It all helps in maintaining a positive attitude and the high energy levels you’ll need to land that next job!

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