There are several important things you need to do after being laid off. First, figure out how much money you will need to meet your monthly obligations. Evaluate your severance package if you have been given one. Some may involve a lump sum payment or salary continuation. You will also need to look over your benefits package and see if you are eligible to continue them through COBRA. Find out about your monthly costs. Then you should analyze your 401K plan.
Do you have a loan associated with the 401K that you will need to pay off immediately? Should you leave the 401K with your employer's administrator while you decide where to transfer the funds or do you need to transfer the money right away?
Next, learn the rules of unemployment insurance. See if and when you are eligible for benefits and what the requirements are to receive them. Then set your professional and personal priorities. What types of jobs will you be pursuing and where?
The next step is to start updating your resume and networking with all of your connections. Attend industry events, job fairs, and contact everyone you know in your area of expertise. Colleagues and former supervisors can often be the source of good job leads so arrange to have coffee or lunch with them.
It is also a good idea to network with your contacts through various social networking sites. Also, check with your former employer to see whom you can use as a reference and make a list of people whose names you can give to potential new employers.
It is also important to get ready for your interviews. Practice your story about being laid off and what you will tell those who interview you. Your job now is to promote yourself to potential employers so you can land a new position and get back into the workforce.
Jane Waldman is director of recruitment at Kaplow