What Should You Do When You Lose Your Job?

Job loss is one of the most challenging experiences you can have. Besides the financial toll, it can also have significant emotional and mental impacts. If you lose your job, you should give yourself time to recover internally, especially if it was one you truly enjoyed. After that, your next step is to pick yourself up and start searching. These tips can help you get started.

File For Unemployment Benefits

If you were laid off by no fault of your own, you would likely qualify for unemployment benefits. In some cases, you could still receive assistance even if you were fired. Check your state labor department’s website to find more information.

Find Health Insurance Alternatives

Ask your employer or HR department about ways to keep your current health insurance plan or find ways to secure new insurance so you stay covered while you’re in between jobs.

Decide What You Should Do With Your Retirement Plan

The future of your retirement plan depends on the retirement vehicle you have. For example, pension plans, IRAs, and 401(k)s work much differently, so ask your employer about your options so you can keep saving for retirement.

Create A Budget

Unemployment benefits will be much smaller than your regular income, especially if you live in a state with low unemployment payouts. Depending on if you have emergency savings or not, money may get tight, and safely, unemployment won’t be enough to make ends meet. A budget will help you meet your needs until you get back on your feet.

Update Your Resume

Before you begin your job hunt, make sure you give your resume another look. It will be processed by potential employers’ applicant tracking systems (ATS) and read by hiring managers. You should add your most relevant skills and add appropriate qualifications for the potion you’re applying for. Doing so will significantly improve your chances of being picked for an interview.

Revamp Your LinkedIn Profile

Just like employers check Facebook, they’ll probably check your LinkedIn profile, so make sure your social media profiles are squeaky-clean and updated. Make sure your bio, work history, and other information is accurate and corresponds to your resume. 

Network With Other Professionals

LinkedIn is excellent for connecting with other professionals who could help you land your next job. Whether it’s your old alumni group or other people in your industry, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals if a position becomes available.

Get References

Networking is a good time to think about people who could give you a positive reference. If you were fired from your last job, this is particularly important. Ask a few people if you can use them as references so they can expect an unknown phone call once you begin interviewing.

Look At Jobs Sites

Once you update your resume and social media accounts, your next move is to visit job sites and applying for relevant positions. Indeed.com is one platform where you can find job openings from a variety of sources in one place. 

Try to only apply for jobs that align with your qualifications and interests — and are located in a place you don’t mind working. Don’t apply for positions that aren’t a good match, or else you’ll only end up wasting your and the hiring manager’s time.

Write A Focused Cover Letter

Try to find resources that teach you how to write a targeted cover letter. This document is your chance to convince the employer why you’re qualified for the job. Highlight your skills and expertise and explain how you could benefit that particular company.

Calculate Your Net Worth

Potential employers might ask about your previous salary during the interview process. This factor is important, so you should go in with certain expectations. For instance, you may have a minimum wage you need to afford your bills. Or, you could have an idea of what you should make.

Online salary reports help determine your worth, so you don’t get shorted by an employer who just wants cheap labor. Learn how to negotiate so you can secure a fair wage.

Practice Interviews

Practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to job interviews. Look online for common questions hiring managers ask during interviews, so you have the answer prepared. Also, learn the best practices for virtual interviews since many companies are transitioning to online interviews. 


  • Doyle, Alison. “What to Do When You Lose Your Job.” Career Tool Belt, 26 Dec. 2020, www.careertoolbelt.com/top-20-things-to-do-if-you-lose-your-job/.


Ian Schindler