Expecting a job layoff?

A layoff notice can be life changing. While many laid-off workers ultimately find a better job or career direction, a layoff is a stressful event that comes with a lot of uncertainty. A looming lack of income and health insurance, grappling with painful feelings about the past job while developing a new pathall add up to a big challenge.

You don’t have to wait for a formal layoff notice to start exploring resources that may be of help. If you anticipate a job layoff is coming, here are some steps to take that can help mitigate the challenges.  

1 Learn about eligibility for unemployment benefits

Each state makes its own rules for their unemployment benefits program. You can look up your state’s requirements in the Unemployment Benefits Finder. To apply, you will need the start and end dates of your last job, and the address of your former employer. Once you become unemployed or your hours are greatly reduced, you should apply for benefits the same week. Even if you’re not sure you might be eligible, apply for benefits.

2 Connect with an American Job Center near you

AJCs are free resources that help people search for jobs, find training, and answer other employment related questions. There are nearly 2,400 AJCs, located in communities in every state. You can connect with an AJC near you even before your job ends or before you apply for unemployment benefits.

Most offer workshops on job search topics, free computer and printer access, and connections to other community services. They can help you update your resume and create or improve social media profiles for job search. They also offer special resources for laid-off workers, veterans, youth, and others.  When you contact an American Job Center, ask if you might be eligible for programs such as the dislocated worker program or funds for short-term training.

3 Find more benefits and assistance

Being unemployed can be stressful, but there are a lot of sources of financial and personal support available.

You may be eligible for assistance from one or more programs while you are unemployed, including:  health insurance, rental assistance and mortgage help, food support, cash assistance, help with energy and internet bills, financial counseling, free help with tax filing, and free counseling services to help cope with stress.

CareerOneStop’s State Resource Finder offers information on benefits you may be eligible for. The website www.211.org offers free, confidential referrals to local help and information on related topics. Benefits.gov provides a short quiz to identify government benefits you may be eligible for.

4 Set up a job search plan to guide your daily activities

Once you’ve applied for unemployment and other benefits, you’re ready to focus on your job search. A job search plan will guide your daily activities, help you stay motivated, and point you in the right direction to get your next job.

Visit Create a Job Search Plan to find a list of job search activities. Write your own detailed job search plan with activities, a schedule and deadlines. If you’d like more ideas or feedback on your plan, ask an American Job Center staff member or other employment professional to review it.

If you are considering making a career change, now may be the time to explore your options. CareerOneStop offers step-by-step guides for career planning: How to: Find career ideas takes you through career assessments and basic research to generate new options, while How to: Switch careers will help you build a career change based on current skills and experience.

5 Stay on track

If you receive unemployment benefits, you will need to document your work search activities and may need to schedule check-ins to maintain your eligibility for benefits. Take a moment to check your state’s Unemployment Insurance website to confirm program requirements, how to document your activities correctly, and how to follow up on any required calls and in-person visits.

Job search can be discouraging and take longer than you plan for, so it’s also important to stay on track moving it forward. Consider meeting regularly with a job search partner or joining a job club at a nearby AJC to network, check-in regularly, get support, and see the newest job leads.  

This information and more are included in CareerOneStop’s How-to: Recover after a layoff. Follow the links at each step to read information and complete activities on the website.  And good luck with your job search.

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