What to do When You Lose Your Job

It’s the moment everyone dreads. Your boss, or maybe your boss’s boss, calls you into a meeting and you just know it’s going to be bad. There’s no shame in losing a job. It happens to everyone. Whether it’s because your employer felt you weren’t suited to your position, or something uncontrollable like department, company, or industry-wide layoffs, job loss is a problem many people will have to face at one time or another.

Going over your severance package, if you got one, can be a really scary process. You may be left wondering what exactly you’re supposed to do next. And you may be dealing with some mental and emotional fallout from the loss of your job. Try not to panic, though, because the overwhelming majority of people will rebound from a job loss just fine. It’s reported that 78% of fired executives will eventually make it to a CEO position. So don’t count yourself out just yet!

If you do find yourself in the unfortunate position of losing a job, it’s important to make the right moves following a job loss to make sure you keep your career on track. We’ve got a quick list of what you should do when you lose your job.

File for unemployment

This is absolutely the first thing you need to do the day after you lose a job. Depending on your state, filing for unemployment can be a bit of an ordeal, so the sooner you start the process, the better off you’ll be. Plus, this will give you a chance to assess your health insurance options as that will be one of the primary concerns you’re likely to have, especially if you lose your job close to the end of the month.

Reach out to contacts in your field or industry

You may be tempted to begin immediately applying for jobs but give yourself half a day to do a little research first. Talk to colleagues and other people in your industry. Take a look at industry websites, message boards, or even just social media hashtags. Is there an industry-wide shake-up? Are there openings within a specific sector of your industry that you haven’t considered before? You can save yourself a lot of job search headaches if you get a good overview of the job situation for your entire industry before you jump into sending out your resume.

Do you want to keep doing what you were doing?

While you may be in a panic to get any paycheck back in the pipe, it might be a good idea to think about your longterm career plans and goals. Do you need to consider a career pivot? Is this the time to go back to school and train for a different career altogether, or perhaps to shore up your job prospects by tackling a graduate degree? One of the few acceptable reasons for a gap in your resume is education. This may be a good time to think about exploring new paths.