How to redirect your career if you’re laid off

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Layoffs have become a regular part of the employment cycle these days, so much so that they’ve become almost daily news.

If you’ve been laid off or are in danger of being let go, that’s no comfort. But being laid off isn’t the end of the world. In this article, we’ll talk about how to get your career back on track post-layoff.

5 ways to bounce back after a layoff

Money expert Clark Howard also knows a thing or two about switching careers. Clark sold and retired from his own travel agency at the age of 31.

Clark says that it can be a brutal thing when a company announces “involuntary separations” or when they make you — as the British like to say — “redundant.”

“When that happens, it can be a terrible event in your life,” he adds, “but in today’s job market, it can open up a whole new world for you that you never thought about.”

Here’s how Clark says to approach it:

1. Look at the bright side

Clark says it’s okay to let yourself process the loss of a job. There may be emotional pain involved, even tears, but only for a little while.

After that, he says:

“That’s when you come up with a positive way to look at it.”

Clark says one thing to focus on are “the opportunities that may be there for you, using your interests, your skills, your experience, your education.”

2. ‘Draw on what you already know’

Clark says the expertise you’ve accrued over the years is something that uniquely qualifies you.


“Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing for a long, long time and you’d like to do something else. Draw on what you already know and have done for that fresh start,” he says.

Look at jobs with keywords and synonyms for duties you’ve performed in the past or know well. You can search job listings at sites like Linkedin and using common phrases related to your jobs you’ve held.

3. Rely on your experience

Clark says not to think for a second that an employer won’t find value in your experience.

“If what you really love is what you’ve been doing and it’s what you see as your life’s work,” Clark says, “know that your years of experience in a really strong job market — like we have now — that’s really positive for you in finding that next opportunity.”

Get in touch with old co-workers via social media, phone or networking events to let them know you’re in job-search mode. Many of these people can vouch for your experience and what you bring to the table.

4. Think through your next step

Avoid the temptation to hop into a new job that doesn’t speak to your passion and fulfillment.

“This is an unusual time with the availability of work,” Clark says. “So this is your time…to not jump into something else, but take the time to think through.

One way to buy time in between jobs is to readjust your budget. Don’t be afraid to cut back on expenses as you figure what you really want to do.

5. Ask yourself these questions

Clark says if you’re looking to steer your career back on track, ask yourself these soul-searching questions:

  • What would really be a step up for you?
  • What would bring some real joy into your life?

Whatever your answers are to those questions is where your heart already is — and where your efforts in finding a job should go.


Hear Clark talk on his podcast about how to find work you love.

Bonus: Give your resume a makeover

Perhaps, you’re ready to enter the job market and just need some help. Does your resume look anything like the one on the left? Follow Team Clark’s step-by-step guide to resume success!

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