By Oleander Johnson

Reeling from the effects of Covid-19 and a looming recession, mass layoffs have already begun upending the lives of American workers nationwide. Such a sudden change can be challenging to adapt to, leaving many people unsure of how to cope in the immediate aftermath. The United States is entering a new era where inflation is rising rapidly, and anyone can lose their job at a moment’s notice, a stark reality for folks simply trying to make ends meet.

If you’ve suddenly found yourself without a job, there are options to help you move forward. Here is a guide on four simple steps you can take after getting laid off.

File for Unemployment

When you are ready to file for unemployment, make sure you qualify. While eligibility requirements often vary by state, one requirement is true regardless of your location – you must have been let go due to no fault of your own. You will not qualify for unemployment benefits if your employer fired you for probable cause. The compensation you receive and how long you can continue to receive those payments also depend on where you live. After your state approves your application, you must resubmit weekly to show you are actively looking for a new job.

Get Your Finances in Order

After filing for employment, you should act quickly to collect your final payment and develop a financial strategy. You will want to budget your remaining money carefully, ensuring you have enough to pay your bills and put some in an emergency fund in case something goes wrong, like an unexpected medical bill.

The general rule of thumb is to have three months of savings in your bank account. If your company provides a severance package, you should also factor that money into your budget. Unemployment checks can take time to arrive, so having a solid financial plan will help you survive during your job hunt.

Update Your Resume

Your resume or CV should accurately portray your credentials, previous job roles, accomplishments, and skill set. Getting laid off is never ideal, but you can use this opportunity to update your resume to ensure it aligns with the positions you apply to. As part of the refresh, modernize your resume or CV so it is easy to scan and review. Some employers may only spend a few seconds looking at each candidate’s resume, so you should focus on highlighting your best qualities, including your responsibilities at each position, especially for your most recent one.

 Start Your Job Search

It is easy to feel you need to rush into your job search after a layoff. Unless you absolutely know what position you want, ease your way into it – otherwise you risk feeling overwhelmed. Look for different ways to job hunt, and see which works best for you, like career boards, job placement agencies, trade associations, networking events, and job recruiters.

Remember to stay positive. Sometimes getting an interview can be challenging, and rejection is a normal part of the process. Your drive to succeed and find employment will drastically improve your job search experience in the long run. Persistence is key.