Bouncing Back from a Layoff

Nov 29, 2022
by Julie East

Being laid off from a job is arguably the most traumatic experience you may face in your career. Even if the layoff was foreseen, a period of disorientation and emotional upheaval is sure to follow.  Know this – you are not alone! Many people, no matter the industry, will find themselves in this situation, and there are some proven techniques to surviving and even growing as a result. Successful job seekers are able to quickly recalibrate, harness their emotions and get back in the job market. Here are a few ways to get out there and compete for a new job.


Emotions run high during a layoff, and as a result, there is a temptation to throw your hands up, get angry and tell off your former employer. There is NOTHING proactive in lashing out and burning bridges, and the end-result will never be in your best interest. The corporate decision to begin layoffs is rarely based on individual job performance, but rather on the need to reduce labor costs overall. It is a “last man in, first man out” system of management, many times being out of your direct manager’s hands. By parting ways in a professional manner, you will be able to keep those contacts in place in case you need them in the future. If the opportunity arises, request a letter of recommendation from your supervisor, and find out how the company plans to handle reference checks from potential employers. In any case, always try to leave on good terms.


Get your resume out there immediately! There is a great temptation to take some time off following a layoff, and some experts even recommend it to deal with the emotional stress of the experience.

However, in today’s competitive market, it is statistically unlikely that you will find a job overnight. Recent studies have calculated that the average time it takes to find a job is roughly one month for every $10,000 of the paycheck you would like to earn. In theory, if you were looking to earn $60,000 a year, your job search could take six months. That being the case, you will most likely get your long-overdue vacation while you job hunt. Of course, every situation is different, but the sooner you begin the search, the better.


In addition to responding to jobs directly through on-line boards, consider using a staffing firm. Many companies use a staffing firm, to relieve the stress and burden of rifling through hundreds of unqualified resumes. A good staffing firm, Like Lofton Staffing Services, becomes your advocate and “represents you” with their clients in finding employment. Once your resume has been received, you will be invited for an interview to talk about your skills, your goals, and the type of work you consider ideal. Many jobs never get posted on job boards, so a staffing firm will possibly be able to recommend you for a position you didn’t even know was available.


When it comes to networking, there are two distinct camps: Informal Networks and Formal Networks.

Informal Networks are friends, family, neighbors, college alumni, former colleagues – anyone who might help generate a lead to a potential job. A simple phone call, email or text message is an acceptable way to let them know you are job-hunting. Keep it brief and specific to the type of job you are seeking.

One success story is from a mass layoff at a local retail store. Corporate cut back on physical locations and as a result, several stores across the U.S. were closed. All of the employees at the store were in the same boat. One of the sales personnel, however, had contacts in the chemical industry, so she reached out to him to see what might be available. Although her contact couldn’t help her in sales, they could with warehouse personnel. You never know how those Informal Networks can help until you try!

Formal Networks are any business associations, meetings, clubs, or LinkedIn contacts you have. Most professional associations have a career page where colleagues share open positions. When contacting formal networks, personal interaction is best, but email is also acceptable. Keep the email content direct, professional, and brief, and be sure to check your spelling, grammar and punctuation. You can always attach a copy of your resume to forward to any potential employers.


This is especially helpful during the interview process.  Build a portfolio of what you have done on past jobs and then assemble it in a 3-ring binder to give to employers. Include any awards, technology certifications, letters of recommendation and examples of your business work. This method has produced breakthrough results for years. The reason why is shockingly simple: very few job seekers take the time to put together a brag book.

I can tell you from personal experience….this works. Being one of those analytical, spreadsheet nerds, bringing a portfolio of past work makes an impression.  Plus, being passionate about your work shows through to the employer as you flip through the book.


Once you have had your interview, be sure to mail the interviewer a hand-written Thank You note.  Yes, it’s old school, but it shows the employer you took the time and go above what is required.  That is the type of person most companies want – one who goes ABOVE what is required.

Another way to set yourself apart is by mailing a hardcover book to the employer based on the industry. During the interview, you should have gathered information on the company, job details, company goals, etc. Inside the book, write: ‘After our meeting, I saw this and thought you might find it interesting,’ then sign your name and telephone number. It’s the kind of creative tactic that can land job offers.

Getting laid off is a difficult experience, but with the right attitude and approach, you can come through it stronger and with new opportunities for growth and advancement. Leave your old job on good terms and start the job search right away. Remember to be memorable and don’t be afraid to tout your own accomplishments. Make use of all your available networking options, and consider using a staffing firm like Lofton Staffing Services to help you find the best prospects.

About Lofton: Founded in 1979, Lofton Services offers clients the best of all worlds. We provide the responsive, personal service and flexibility of a small local firm while having the technology, resources, and infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the biggest players in our industry. Lofton can deliver the right people, with the right skills, right when you need them. Contact us today.