Just Lost Your Job? This Day-by-Day Timeline Will Get Help You Land a New One

You just lost your job. You may be crushed. You may be in denial. You may realize your work was toxic and be genuinely happy you never have to go back. Or, you may not fully understand how you’re feeling.

Regardless of your state of mind, it’s hard, and finding a new job can be even harder. Many people simply update their resume and apply for positions that look interesting. That’s one way to handle it, but it’s also likely to be insufficient. Plus, it’s important to give yourself time to process the loss.

I’ve been in the exact spot you’re in now. I was laid off from an investment bank at a time when finance roles were hard to come by. Through personal experience, and through my work as a career coach helping countless people find jobs, I’ve put together a comprehensive timeline of the steps to follow if you’re in this situation.

Day 1

The very first thing you should do after leaving the office is find someone to talk to. You probably won’t be in the mood to talk to everyone about your situation, but speaking with a close friend can help.

Once you’ve had the opportunity to vent, it’s time to start writing. Write about what just happened, how you’re feeling, how this impacts your plans, and what you might do going forward. The goal isn’t to come up with a full game plan or even to write coherently. Rather, the goal is to capture the thoughts and emotions you’re experiencing so you won’t replay them over and over in your mind.

Day 2

When I was unemployed, I spent days sitting on the couch in my pajamas. My wife would get home from work to find me in the exact spot as when she’d left in the morning.

Without the structure of a job, you’re likely to feel less productive and your well-being might suffer, and that’s OK. But even if you’re not ready to start looking for work, there are other things you can do, including file for unemployment benefits if you’re eligble. This was a step I didn’t take for a few months and I missed out on a lot of money. Don’t let that happen to you.

Day 3

The next step is to update your resume. Depending on the condition it’s in, this may take more than a day. Here are a few resources to help: