Bouncing Back After a Layoff

Experiencing a layoff can be unexpected, unsettling and downright discouraging. Check out this article from our career coach on how to bounce back from a layoff.

Take the time to process: Even if you weren’t happy in your job or were thinking about leaving prior to your layoff, no one likes to hear they’re being let go. Just like we need to move through the first few stages of grief to get to the upward turn, we need to process the shock, pain, and anger associated with a layoff. If you take the time you need to work through the emotions, you’ll be much better off when you move into the job search process, especially when it comes to talking about your experience.

Let go of the stigma: Even before COVID people were being laid off regularly. It is a function of the world we live in. In an economy where over 50% of Americans are employed by small businesses (those with 500 or fewer employees), and where companies are bought and sold every day, layoffs are inevitable and you are in good company. A gap in your resume is not the red flag it used to be and many people have them for many different reasons. Also remind yourself that being laid off is not the same as being fired. It does not say anything about the quality of your work or the relationships you had within the organization.

Set your goal: Sometimes a layoff can be seen as an opportunity to take your career in a new direction. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about switching industries or functions. If so, I’d suggest watching our webinar on Making a Career Transition that includes exercises to get you moving in the right direction. Or maybe you want to stay in a similar role, just in a new organization. Either way, take the time to think through your options and your timeline keeping in mind that the bigger the change, the more time (and effort) it will likely take.

Update your resume and LinkedIn profile: It’s important that both speak to the skills and experience you have that are relevant to the types of roles you’re pursuing. Going back through old performance reviews can be helpful if you’re having trouble remembering your accomplishments in each role. You can also reach out to former colleagues and view the LinkedIn profiles of co-workers to refresh your memory. Updating your resume is typically something people struggle with so if you need help getting started, watch our Creating a Strategic Resume webinar. We also have one on Leveraging Your LinkedIn Profile. And of course, you can always set up a career coaching appointment by emailing

Don’t rely too heavily on job boards: Reaching out to old colleagues, friends, and leveraging your extended network is incredibly important in a job search. Added bonus, setting up phone calls and Zoom chats will break up the monotony of submitting online applications. And while there are thousands of jobs listed online, there are also many jobs that never get posted. If you’re relying strictly on job boards, you’re missing out on the hidden job market. You can learn more about Breaking Down the Job Search Process here on the GAA site.

We understand that bouncing back from a layoff can be difficult and the GAA is here to help. If you need assistance navigating this transition, feel free to reach out via to schedule a career coaching session.