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Stephen Belovarich
Stephen Belovarich

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What To Do When You've Been Laid Off

It comes without warning.

"I'm not sure if you have heard yet, but unfortunately we've lost the
contract and therefore your last day will be today."

Don't panic! The timing is never convenient. Do whatever you need to keep calm in this stressful time. Stop everything. Take a deep breath.

Preparation Is Key

It's best to be prepared for times like these. Here's a list of things you can do to mitigate the impact of losing a job.

  • Update your personal website and resume a month into a new job. Save your resume in the cloud formatted for Word. This ensures you can send out your resume at a moments notice and company's HR can quickly ingest the document.

  • Make a list of contacts you can email to let know you are on the market. Recruiters, CTOs, Hiring Managers, you know... the decision makers.

  • Save up a month's income in a savings account. That way you can have a little buffer. That's easier said than done, but emergency funds will help you get by while you interview.

  • Attend meetups and make connections. Sometimes people show up recruiting for talent. You also learn something new hopefully.

  • Begin interviewing at least three months before the end of your contract or the end of the company’s fiscal year, whichever comes first. If the contract ends without notice that's another story, but maybe you get lucky and it happens within this window. I always recommend developers interview somewhere else at least once a year, no matter how good things are at their current job. It helps to stay in practice, because interviewing for tech jobs is a skill in itself.

What To Do Immediately

When you find out you are being laid off, there are things you should do immediately.

  • Send an email to your contacts with your resume attached.

  • Flip the switch on LinkedIn that lets recruiters know you are back on the market. It's in the Privacy Settings under the Job Seeking Preferences Section.

Checklist For The Next 24 Hours

Even though you may have responsibilities at your current job, you now have a second job: finding a new job. Over the course of the next 24 hours you should complete the following:

  • Make any updates to your resume.

  • Write a short bio that explains your current objective.

  • Follow up with recruiters.

  • Apply to a handful of jobs.

  • Join a community where you can network, either online or in person.

Checklist For The Next 5 Business Days

Within the first week you should complete the following:

  • Keep open lines of communication with recruiters.

  • Apply to as many jobs as possible.

  • Take practice tests online.

  • Make a backup plan for generating income while you find a job.

  • Learn something new to expand your skillset.

Some Helpful Tips

  • Spend time with family and friends.

  • Get exercise, take care of yourself.

  • Eat healthy foods.

  • Don't abuse depressants like alcohol.

  • Keep a positive attitude.

  • Build a small app using a tool you’ve never used before.

While looking for a new job, it is very important to stay communicative. Keep all lines of communication open. Routinely follow up with recruiters. I have found it most difficult in the past to apply directly. Applying directly usually results in a long, drawn out process. Recruiters are there to help move the process along and may be better at pitching your skills than even you are. Forging relationships with dependable recruiters is extremely important to making the period you are unemployed shorter.

If you are out of practice with white board interviews or coding challenges, it wouldn't hurt to spend a couple hours a day practicing. Odds are a similar question will be asked in the interview.

What's most important is your well-being right now and your family's well-being, so focus on making healthy, economical decisions.

Never forget you are providing a service to employers and have to explain the value you will add to the team.

Just remember you are a professional. Your skills are in high demand. Someone out there needs you on the team. Pretty soon you'll score a new gig.

Do you need help preparing for interviews?

I help other engineers practice for interviews on Codementor. Request a session today.

What advice do you have for others who just got laid off? Comment below.

Top comments (3)

gogorichie profile image
Richard Lewis

Solid advice thanks for sharing.

geeayallah profile image
Gee Daniel Ayallah Yallah II

Thanks for this insightful article.

sanidz profile image

Advice: Enjoy free money and update ln profile.