Bouncing back after a layoff

Written by Luke Paterson

9 July 2020
Reading time: 3 minutes


This is a short compilation of the tried-and-tested tips on getting back on your feet following a job loss.

It is inevitable, given the state of business confidence, and the undeniably grim jobs market, that layoffs are becoming the norm as companies restructure their businesses in response to the pandemic. If you are someone who has been laid off, or know someone who has been, here are some of the tried-and-tested tips in order to get back on your feet!

1. Mental health matters

There are lots of studies showing that recessions and unemployment are devastating on someone’s mental health, even in the long-run. It’s perfectly reasonable to feel temporarily devastated following a layoff. Consequently, it’s paramount to look after ourselves and loved ones during this difficult period. One of the most important ways to maintain a healthy mental state following a layoff is maintaining a schedule: wake up at the same time, write a to-do-list, and also being kind to yourself. There are some really good points made on the website, mental health and unemployment, below. I have also provided some additional sources for further information.

  • Mind – Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.
    Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)
  • Rethink Mental Illness – Support and advice for people living with mental illnesses.
    Phone: 0300 5000 927 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-4pm)
  • Samaritans – Confidential support for people experiencing distress or despair.
    Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)

“Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg or your brain, it’s still an illness, and there should be no distinction.”

Michelle Obama, U.S. First Lady, speaking at a mental health summit about the need to challenge stigma and reduce barriers to treatment by changing social attitudes. Associated Press (Mar 2015)

2. Accept the reason(s) for your layoff but don’t overthink it

Understandably, this is easier said than done and cab be difficult to confront. However, it’s important, when approaching recruiters, that you have a straightforward answer for why you lost your job. In the current climate, every potential employer will undoubtedly understand that your role was affected by the global pandemic. In the short term, make use of safety nets – Universal Credit – to help support yourself until a new employment opportunity is secured. The national careers service has a useful guide on what to do following a job loss:

3. Let people know!

It’s not what you know it’s who you know! There’s a chance a social media follower, LinkedIn connection, or family friend might be aware of a job or be in a position to offer one. Reach out to former colleagues and friends who work for organisations that interest you. Generally, most people are willing to help if you approach them in a polite and friendly manner.

You are 10 times more likely to land an interview when your job application is accompanied by an employee referral (Amanda Augustine from TopResume, 2015,

4. Freshen up applications

If you’ve been in a role for a while, odds are your CV is out-of-date. Now is the perfect time to refresh your CV and include the things you’ve learnt from your most recent experiences. Similarly, take the time to write templates for potential cover letters; this is especially useful if the jobs you are considering applying for are related. Prospects has an excellent section on how to write CVs and cover letters, with advice on what to include, examples and tips. Additionally, the job-seeking site, Indeed, has a pretty extensive guideline for writing cover letters.

5. Consider your skillset

Recessions, as horrible as they are, are actually a great time for career and life changes! You may have decided your current job wasn’t all that good to start with and actually fancy a change. Maybe you’re considering upskilling or reskilling

Upskilling: in order to appear more desirable when reapplying for similar jobs, you could consider doing some value-for-money online courses which are relevant to the skill set your previous job required. An employer will respect any candidate who has the initiative to retain their skill set! 

Reskilling: the pandemic may have given you time to seriously consider a new career which requires a new set of skills. There’s been an influx of online courses (at a cheaper cost too) across the internet. I’ve provided a few that offer a range of interesting courses, or have good reviews for specific courses like mathematics, for instance.

  • The Open University is quite a good option for anyone considering a career change which requires a formal qualification. In addition, they also have a range of free courses or significantly cheaper courses:
  • An English or Mathematics course is always a good way to brush up on the fundamentals. The British Council and similarly the National Numeracy Challenge have credible courses in English and Mathematics, respectively.
  • Finally, Barclays Lifeskills and Alison offer some applicable courses on various different topics. Seriously, worth checking out!

“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”

Abridged version of a quote by Albert Einstein in 1921.


Although this is only a brief and simple post, it does provide an extensive reading list (in one place) of multiple well-thought out careers advice. As unemployment numbers are likely to increase, there are many things you can do to better yourself and move forward even when prospects look bleak. There are plenty of ways to get back into full-time employment.

Additionally, don’t forget that the benefit of taking time for yourself is key in order to stay productive in your job hunt. While it is undoubtedly a challenge, don’t give up! Finding yourself unemployed can actually offer you the extra time you need to better yourself and possibly grow more qualified to find work!

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Published by Luke Paterson

Hi, I’m Luke! I’m an aspiring Economists with interests in Health Economics, Microeconomics, and data analysis. I am currently enrolled at the University of York studying the MSc Health Economics program. I live in a fairly small town in the North of England. In my spare time, I’m an avid snooker/pool player, a huge boxing fan and I run The Economic Discussions site.

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