What To Do When You Get Laid Off From Work In Your 20s


This article is all about what to do when you get laid off from work in your 20s.

A woman sitting at her laptop and being stressed out.


If you’re going through a lay off, you might be wondering what to do when you get laid off.

This is totally understandable, as being laid off from work can bring a whole host of emotions along with it including shock, anger, frustration, sadness, confusion, and so on.

So many people in my life have gone through layoffs, so I’ve put together this article to help you through yours.

I know this can be a very uncertain time, but have faith in the process and try to keep in mind that “this too shall pass”. You got this. And the following information about what steps you should take will help you make your next move on your career path.


Let’s start with a few commonly asked questions before we dive in:


What is a lay off from work?

According to Investopedia, “a layoff is the temporary or permanent termination of employment by an employer for reasons unrelated to the employee’s performance.”

At first, it may be tempting to take your layoff personally, but try to default to the fact that it is not. Usually, layoffs occur because businesses need to restructure or cut costs in order to remain competitive and they have nothing to do with you on a personal level.

While layoffs can seem incredibly personal, I’ve noticed that it’s best for your mental health to give everyone involved the benefit of the doubt.

I know this can be very difficult depending on how this lay off (and potential lack of income for a long period) can affect your life.


Is it OK to say you were laid off?

If you are talking to family and friends, or even networking for a new job, it is perfectly OK to be candid and say that you were “laid off”.

In fact, you will probably find that many of the people you tell will be able to relate in some way – most people have experienced job loss by way of lay off or know someone who has.

On the other hand, if you are interviewing for a new position after being laid off and the interviewer asks why you are looking for a new job, it can help to elaborate or give a little more information, like, “my role at the company was eliminated so I am looking for new opportunities” or “my company went through a reorganization and my team was dissolved so I am looking for a new challenge”.

No matter what, being laid off is nothing to be ashamed of, and is something that many people inevitably experience at least once (sometimes more!).


How do you respond when you get laid off?

If you get laid off, how you react is incredibly important. The best thing you can do is remain positive and respectful to your company and coworkers.

The last thing you want to do is start bad mouthing particular people or the company in general, and for that information to get back around to the people you were talking about.

In your career, you never really know if you’ll come back to a company or if you’ll see your coworkers at another opportunity in the future, so it’s best to maintain a respectful relationship with everyone you encounter, even when dealing with the emotions of a lay off.

While remaining respectful, you should feel empowered to ask questions about what this layoff means for you and how the layoff will unfold at your current company.

Typically, you can meet with HR or your manager to discuss the details of this, and your company should have all the details for your next steps already laid out for you. We will touch more on this in #1.


What To Do When You Get Laid Off


1. Meet with your HR representative to understand your layoff details

If you’ve recently been laid off, you probably have a lot of questions – this is totally normal. Typically, you’ll be told who you can contact for any questions that you have.

In many cases, this’ll either be your manager or an HR representative of your now former employer.

It’s a good idea to ask them questions like:

  • When is my official last day?
  • When will I receive my last paycheck?
  • How long will my benefits or health insurance coverage last after that, if at all?
  • Will [your company] provide any resources to help me find a new job like resume review, interview prep, etc?
  • Will there be a severance package?
  • What does severance pay or the severance benefits look like, if any?
  • Are there any internal roles I can apply for?

Don’t hesitate to ask whatever questions you feel you need to ask to get as much control as you can over the situation.


Woman who is stressed out because she was just laid off.


2. Update your resume

Your resume is the number one tool that you will use to get an interview, so now’s the time to update it for your job hunt.

Make sure you add any new skills and experience on here and really showcase the value that you’ve added to your present and past companies.


Use data and numbers to your advantage

One of the best things you can add to your resume are specific metrics that you have improved, using numbers.

For example, did you increase sales at your company by 15%? Did you get 200 new customers for your company? Did your marketing skills result in 40 more people attending your company’s conference this year?

Whatever the case may be, using numbers to show the value you’ve added is always a great way to showcase your impact.


Tailor your resume depending on which jobs you are applying to

You can and should also tailor your resume depending on which jobs you are applying to.

For example, if you’re applying to a Marketing position, check out the job description and requirements and add a few of those skills to your resume (as long as they are truly skills you possess).

When recruiters read your resume and see that your skills align with the job description, you’ve got an even better chance of landing an interview.

Likewise, if you are applying for a business analyst role, for example, make sure you tailor your resume so that you showcase skills and experience you have that align with that business analyst role.

You’ll be much more likely to get an interview for a business analyst position with a Business analyst resume than with a marketing resume.

The same goes if you are applying internally vs. externally. If you are applying for your current company, you can use acronyms and words that you know internal parties will understand.

But if you use those same acronyms on your resume when applying to external companies, there’s a chance the recruiters reading your resume won’t have any clue what you are talking about!


Interview tracker for people looking for a new job.


Start working on your cover letter

If you think a cover letter may improve your chances of getting noticed by potential employers, you can certainly start updating your cover letter and tailoring it for prospective employers, too.


3. Update your LinkedIn profile

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If not, having a LinkedIn page is one of the best ways to get noticed by recruiters. In fact, LinkedIn helped me get the job that I have now.

Your LinkedIn page allows you to showcase all of your experience and skills in one place – kind of like a digital resume!


Upload a picture of yourself

Be sure to upload a picture/headshot of yourself. It doesn’t have to be super professional, but it should be a quality picture, preferably of you looking at the camera with minimal distractions in the background of the picture, if any.

This will help ensure that you put your best foot forward when a recruiter visits your page.


A woman feeling hopeful at a laptop with a cup of coffee.


Remove the years that you attended school

I recently read that when you are adding your high school and/or college education to your LinkedIn profile, that you shouldn’t put the years that you attended school.

This way, you can avoid any potential bias regarding your age (i.e. someone thinking you are too young or too old for a particular role).

Getting a new role isn’t about your age – it’s about what you’re capable of.


Clearly outline your work experience

When you are filling out your work experience, make sure you clearly outline any promotions you have gotten and your experience within the particular roles that you’ve had throughout your career.

You can take the bullet points from your actual resume and add them to your experience section. This is what I do, and it saves me a lot of time.


Turn on the “Open to Work” option

Lastly, there is an option on your LinkedIn page to let recruiters know that you are “Open to work” or searching for a job. This will help future employers know that you are looking.

Just one caveat – recruiters at your current company might be able to see that you have turned this on. So, as long as that won’t pose any problems for you, you should be good to go.


Woman sitting at a laptop at her home looking for ways to recover from being laid off.


4. Network network network

You should know that there is no shame in being laid off. It can happen to anyone at any time, and because so many people have experienced it themselves, you will find that a lot of people will be more than willing to help you find your next job.

Now’s the time to start reaching out to your professional network. You can reach out to folks at the company you’re currently at, former colleagues, and anyone you think may be able to add a little value to your job search.

Shoot them a message on LinkedIn, send them an email, a text, or a phone call.

Whatever method of communication is most comfortable for you, do that. People who want to help you will!

At this point, you gotta do what you gotta do to find your next job.


5. Start thinking about what you want your next move to look like

Now that you’ve been laid off, you have a couple of options.

If you still believe in your company and view them as a good employer despite your layoff, you might be able to apply internally for jobs there.

If you want to leave your current company entirely, you can start applying for new companies. Knowing what you know now about your previous employer, what do you want your new employer to be like?

Two great websites for applying to new jobs include LinkedIn.com (yep, you can apply to jobs straight from LinkedIn!) and Indeed.com.

Another option is to pursue your own thing. Maybe you’ve been working on a side hustle for a long time and now’s your chance to go full-time with it.

Really think about where you want to be moving forward, and then take the necessary steps in that direction.


Woman typing on her laptop at a coffee shop because she is trying to find a new job after being laid off.


6. Vent to people you trust

Getting laid off can feel shocking and scary. There will be many emotions that wash over you.

Oftentimes, you won’t be the only person on your team that is laid off. In this circumstance, is there someone you can vent to to share your frustrations? Maybe other laid-off employees?

Going through a lay off on your own will be very difficult. It is more than okay to lean on others for support.

Like I said before, when you get laid off, you’ll find that so many people have either also been laid off or know someone who has.

Go ahead and vent to your manager, colleagues, friends, parents – whomever. Just be sure that when you share information with someone that you truly trust them.

You will have a lot of thoughts and feelings after being laid off, and you don’t want to say the wrong thing to the wrong person. You want to maintain good relationships, no matter what.

Additionally, if you’re going to be applying to your company internally after just being laid off by them, it’s even more vital that you don’t say anything negative about any of the people that you work with, because who knows – you may just be working alongside them sometime again soon.

Or worse, you wouldn’t want something that you’ve said out of anger or frustration to be the reason why you weren’t hired again internally. Make sure you leave on good terms!


7. Check on your finances

Now for the really tough stuff – how are you feeling financially?

This can be overwhelming to even think about, but it’s so important. Will you be able to cover yourself financially for a few months in case you can’t find a new job in that time?

If you’re not too sure right now, writing down all of your current expenses and then auditing them can help.

Are there any subscriptions you can get rid of? Can you cut down on your “fun” budget or get rid of a gym membership? Cutting out small monthly expenses can really help in the long run.

You can also cut back on spending. This is never really fun, but it can help ensure that the money that you do have is going toward the most important things, like your bills.

If you want to take it a step further, you can determine when you will receive your final paycheck, and then look at your savings (if you have some) to determine how long your savings will last you if you don’t have new income coming in.

Then, you’ll know how long you can cover your bills until you get your next job offer.


Free interview tracker for anyone looking for a new job and wanting to stay organized.


8. Take care of your mental health and physical health

Being laid off can take a toll on your mental and physical health because of how stressful it can be to find out you no longer have a job, and then look for a new one.

Like I mentioned earlier, the psychological effects of being laid off can include feeling blindsided, shocked, confused, angry, sad, frustrated, etc. So it’s especially important for you to take care of yourself at this time. Don’t forget about your physical health, either.

Do you prefer to journal? Go to therapy? Workout? Whatever you typically do, keep doing it!

It can be really easy to neglect yourself when you’re under a lot of stress and dealing with pressure to find new opportunities for work, but by taking care of your mental and physical health, you will be so much better equipped for the journey of finding a new job ahead of you.


This article was all about what to do when you get laid off from work in your 20s.


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A few years after graduating college, Taylor made it her mission to become debt free. After paying off all $60k of debt, she began to blog about what she's really passionate about: personal development. Nowadays, Taylor blogs about the topics of Mindset, Money, Health, and Career for women. Read more about Taylor here.

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