Layoff Survival Guide

Layoff Survival Guide

Your position has been eliminated. 

The dreaded words every corporate employee never wants to hear.

The words millions have heard in the last 5 years in the tech industry alone.

Experiencing a layoff can be a challenging and distressing event, impacting both your professional and personal life. Coping with a layoff requires resilience, self-care, and a proactive approach to navigating the situation.

Trust me, I've been through it. 

To help my community I have created a practical guide for surviving layoffs - both on and off LinkedIn - with steps to take to get your next dream job.

Step 1: Acknowledge Your Emotions

It's normal to feel a wide range of emotions such as shock, anger, sadness, or anxiety.

Allow yourself to experience and acknowledge these emotions without judgment. It can be tempting, but do not post on LinkedIn or other social media sites during the first month of processing emotions. Collect your thoughts before you post. 

Step 2: Get your Personal Documents

Get all your personal documents. While I advise never keeping personal files on a work computer or at an office - many do. So make sure to contact HR to ensure that you get all your personal items back

Step 3: Set Boundaries on Who you Follow

Workplace trauma is real. In a viral 2021 X thread we saw just how prevalent workplace trauma is and how much impact it has. When going through a layoff, a lot of my clients find it very traumatic to see that same company in their LinkedIn feed, so take the time to unfollow the company and set healthy boundaries with LinkedIn network hygiene: blocking or unfollowing anyone that you do not want to remain connected to at that company.

You can also click the three dots of any of your former colleagues posts that you want to stay connected with, but just don't want to see their posts on the company in your feed. 

Step 4: Know your Rights and Get a Lawyer

When companies do layoffs they are often doing them for cost-cutting reasons so many try to do them as efficiently as possible. This efficiency is often in the form of unfair compensation or severance packages so know your rights and reach out to a lawyer for advice.

I highly recommend watching Nicole a Canadian Employment Lawyer on TikTok or Craig a US Employment Lawyer on TikTok to know your rights in advance. It might be an upfront expenditure, but I've seen severance packages 5X their initial offering simply by hiring a lawyer. 

Step 5: File for EI

Once severance is established then officially apply for EI benefits. Do this right away so that it gets processed and can kick in right after your severance is completed. 

Step 6: Evaluate your Financial Standing

Layoffs create an intense amount of financial stress so it's important to get an handle on your finances immediately. 

  • Alert your Financial advisor or bank of your layoff as they will have helpful advice for navigating. They can provide valuable insights on managing debt, prioritizing expenses, and planning for the future.
  • Calculate your emergency fund: Assess how many months you can survive without full-time employment.  This includes covering essentials such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, and other critical bills.
  • Factor in any severance package, accrued vacation time, or other payouts from your former employer. This will give you a baseline understanding of your financial runway.
  • Review subscriptions:  Consider canceling or pausing services such as cable TV, streaming platforms, music subscriptions, magazine subscriptions, and gym memberships.
  • Trim on the luxuries: Look for opportunities to reduce expenditures like going on a shopping hiatus, cancel hair/nail appointments, cancel upcoming trips or unnecessary expenditures that you can get a full refund on. 
  • Explore affordable healthcare options: now that you're no longer under company insurance you need to ensure you are covered if a medical emergency especially if not in a country with universal healthcare. 

Step 7: Practice Self-Compassion

Be kind to yourself during this challenging time. Avoid self-blame and negative self-talk. Remind yourself that a layoff does not define your worth or abilities. Repeat after me: Your job is not your Identity. You are more than your title. 

Step 8: Establish a Routine

Without a work routine days can feel pointless. Establishing a daily routine can provide structure and stability during a period of uncertainty. Set small goals for yourself to stay productive and focused. Maybe it's time to go to the gym, read, create content, hang with friends, listen to music, create art or write. 

Step 9: Seek Support

If you're struggling to cope with the emotional impact of a layoff, reach out to friends and family. Also consider seeking support from a professional therapist. They can provide guidance, coping strategies, and a safe space to explore your feelings. 

Step 10: Focus on What You Can Control

While you may not have control over the layoff itself, focus on the aspects of the situation that you can control, such as updating your LinkedIn, networking, or exploring new career opportunities.

Step 11: Update your LinkedIn Profile

Unfortunately many people neglect their personal brand and LinkedIn profile until times of crisis like a layoff. If you're one of these people it's okay, but take the time to make sure you're putting your best foot forward to secure your next dream job. We have free advice for job seekers on our TikTok or you can purchase a 30 page LinkedIn guide or a Personal Brand Audit Masterclass for more personalized and in-depth help. 

Step 12: Update your LinkedIn Network

Once you have your LinkedIn profile looking sharp now is the time for the announcement post. Many individuals hesitate at the thought of making an announcement, yet this step serves as an immediate way to harness your network for new opportunities. When guiding clients through this crucial post, I often advise:

  • Stay Company Neutral: Do give the company any airtime. Don't mention them, don't tag them. 
  • Stick to the Facts and Stay Positive: Don't bash your former employer as that may appear poorly to recruiters. Leave that for GlassDoor or Fishbowl. 
  • Get Specific About your Goals:  Outline precisely what you are seeking—whether it's specific geographies, dream companies, types of work, desired titles, or preferred industries. The more specifics you provide, the more likely it is that someone will remember you for future opportunities.
  • Highlight Your Network's Potential: Detail how your connections can assist you during this transitional period. Whether it's through introductions, advice, or industry insights, make it clear how your network can play a pivotal role in your career journey.

Check out mine that got 15K+ impressions as an example. 

Step 13: Turn on Open to Work Banner

Let recruiters and your network on LinkedIn know you’re open to new career opportunities. By specifying the types of opportunities your open to this will appear in search results of LinkedIn Recruiter software. 

You have control on who is able to see this and you can choose either:

  • All LinkedIn Members: This also includes recruiters and people at your current listed company. It also adds the #OpenToWork photo frame.
  • Recruiters only: People using LinkedIn Recruiter only. 

Step 14: Search for Jobs on LinkedIn 

There's a few ways to search for jobs on LinkedIn that I teach clients.

Turn on LinkedIn Job Alerts by:

  • Search for a job on LinkedIn.
  • At the top left of the job search results page, switch the Set alert toggle to On to create a job alert for your current search criteria. You’ll see a popup that says "Job alert" created.
  • Click Manage alerts to select how often you'd like to receive alerts and how'd you like to be notified (email, notification, etc)
  • Click Done

Use LinkedIn like you use Google.

  • Remember that it is a search engine and apply these tips

When searching for roles make sure to use Boolean Search modifiers to help maximize your job search. 

Step 15: Create a Pump Up Playlist

Job searching is awful. Especially if you're a creative person. It's monotonous and time consuming and very administrative. Building a habit of listening to mood-boosting playlists can create a positive daily ritual.

From a psychological perspective, liistening to music triggers the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which is associated with pleasure and reward. This chemical response can create feelings of joy, motivation, and upliftment.

Step 16: Save Jobs

Most applications processes can take about 1-2 hours each so make sure that you are saving your jobs along the way. Save jobs while browsing job search results on LinkedIn to come back later to apply for them.

I also advise clients to create a list on Notion to stay organized. Keep track of dates and notes on both applications and interviews. This is especially importance for those applying to Employment Insurance in Canada or Unemployment Benefits in the US as it requires tracking your job search. 

Step 17: Evaluate Work Options

In this volatile economy it's best to look at option. Look to treelancing, consulting, and temporary work options to help you keep afloat. It's okay to take a non-corporate job delivering packages, making coffee or bartending. 

    Step 18: Stay Connected

    Maintain connections with former colleagues, mentors, and industry contacts. Networking IRL and Online can be a valuable resource for finding job opportunities and receiving support during your job search. Follow these best practices when networking IRL

    Step 19: Build your Personal Brand

    Building a personal brand is of the utmost importance in a hyper competitive job market. Right now there's 1000s of candidates applying for the same role, so having a strong presence online is attract opportunities. To get started try to follow our guidance on building a brand in 1 hour per day or invest in a  Personal Brand Audit Masterclass to get bespoke advice on how to build your profile, presence and thought leadership. If you have been a victim of workplace bullying we offer a 10% discount through our partnership with Speak Out Revolution

    Step 20: Upskill & Certify 

    While unemployed look for upskilling and pursuing further education or certification opportunities. When I went through layoffs I did a TikTok and Linkedin partnership with Mark Ritson and took his Marketing Week Mini MBA which was an awesome opportunity to connect with a global network of marketers while advancing my marketing leadership skills. I also re-did my HubSpot and Hootsuite certifications and attended many digital marketing webinars. 

    Step 21: Plan for Triggers 

    Triggers will happen throughout the process of coping with a layoff. Pay attention to situations that may trigger an emotional response and bring you back to old stress reactions. Make a plan to deal with them in a healthy way. 

    Step 22: Seek Closure

    You might find yourself holding onto bitterness towards those who have wronged you - especially if you we're in a toxic work environment. Alternatively, you might constantly revisit past scenarios and conversations, pondering what could have been done or said differently.

    Such rumination is a natural and relatable response. The brain dislikes uncertainty and often seeks resolution, even when it may not serve us well.Transitioning away from a job, whether toxic or not, constitutes a loss, therefore, allow yourself the time and space to mourn.


    Have a Resource to add to our Layoff Survival Guide? Contact us to send the link. We'll review and if valuable will link to it in this blog. 

    Need help with your Personal Brand Strategy? Reach out to us for social media consulting, masterclasses, and executive ghostwriting.We help both busy executives and companies with their brands on social. Contact us to Unleash your Brand's Potential.





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