Life sometimes throws curveballs. Unfortunately, one of those curveballs might be a lay-off just when you should be reaping the rewards and security that comes with a career well-spent. It happens. So, now what? It’s important to know many people have experienced unemployment after age 50, and have gone on to successful, fulfilling “next chapters.”

The top six things to do if you just got laid off are:

1. Assess your finances

First and foremost, it is important to have all of your financial affairs in order. There are several pieces to this puzzle. There is unemployment paperwork to file, as well as severance packages and personal savings to factor into the length of time you need to cover your living expenses. Careful assessment and planning for these financial necessities will reduce the stress that comes with getting laid off.

2. Inventory your skill set

Assessing your skill set and determining computer knowledge, career specialty certifications, and years of experience helps to communicate to others your employ-ability. A unique skill set may be just the specialty another organization needs. Researching and participating in continued education and updating skills are essential in making your resume marketable.

3. Update your digital professional profile

Once you have taken inventory of your skill set, communicate this information via online professional sites such as LinkedIn. This marketing avenue provides 24 hours, 7 days a week exposure to all types of potential employers and recruiters. Participate in group discussions on LinkedIn to help advertise your recent employment status. The more people who see your status, the more potential opportunities will arise.

4. Participate in part-time work and volunteer

When you’re over 50, finding full time employment after getting laid off takes an average of three to six months. In the meantime, while job searching, do volunteer work or part time work that helps to bring in extra income and increase your network of contacts. These activities will also help to reach potential employers.

5. Take care of your emotional state

Getting laid off happens, but making sure your emotional state stays positive directly influences the job search process. The grieving process is one everyone goes through when suffering any type of loss, including the loss of a job. Keep your emotional health in check and do activities that help promote a good sense of well-being.

6. Be open and flexible with career options

Often, career placement professionals find it difficult to convince newly unemployed people to be open to other types of careers. In a recent survey by the Washington Post, 53% of re-employed respondents said they changed occupations. This is why it is important to keep your options open. After all, finding the next job opportunity sooner rather than later will reduce stress and assist with better health and wellness.

Remember, even though you just got laid off, others have been through this experience and come out better than ever on the other side. You can too.

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About The Author

Danielle Dayries

Danielle Dayries is the CEO/owner of the locally-based outplacement firm, DMD & Associates, Inc. Her firm is engaged by companies worldwide to deliver outplacement programs that empower those affected by a reduction in force to get back to work quickly, while helping companies protect their brand and limit legal exposure. She is a board member of several Society of Human Resource Chapters, speaks throughout the United States about career transition topics and is published in multiple publications. Contact her through her website and LinkedIn.