What to Do After You've Been Laid Off
Being laid off from a job is stressful, even for the most seasoned and qualified employee. And for those working in the life sciences, being laid off is a legitimate concern, as more and more pharma and biotech companies are reporting job cuts and restructuring initiatives.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to curb some of that stress, relieve financial worries and make finding your next position as smooth a process as possible.
Take Advantage of Benefits
First, make sure you’re informed about the benefits available to you by your employer. Many employees who are laid off are given severance pay, or a lump sum of money designed to help ease the transition into your next job.
You should also look into your health benefits if you have them. Your employer may offer an extension of your healthcare plan for a short period of time. Alternatively, you may need to look into short-term health coverage. According to the COBRA Act, any employer with over 20 employees is required by law to offer a health insurance option for 18 months if you had health insurance through that employer previously.
If you qualify, you may want to take advantage of publicly funded healthcare options like Medicare and Medicaid. This is the most cost-effective option, but only if you fall within the guidelines.
Apply for Unemployment
If you have been laid off, this means you lost your job through no fault of your own, and you should be able to qualify for unemployment benefits. Each state has different requirements to be eligible for unemployment benefits, so the best way to check is to go to your state’s unemployment benefits website.
Most often, unemployment benefits will provide a percentage of your previous pay to you until you are able to find another job. Some states require you to apply to a certain number of jobs per week or month to qualify, and you will likely be required to report any additional income you receive, such as severance pay.
The good news is that those who are laid off are the primary candidates to receive unemployment. Though it is often easier to apply online, you may also want to visit your local unemployment benefits office, as the people who work there can make sure you submit your application correctly.
Begin Your Job Search
After you apply for unemployment, it’s time to begin your job search. Though no one can say for sure how long it will take to find your next position, if you have experience in the life sciences, finding employment may be a little easier than for others. This is because life science roles are currently in high demand and that demand seems to only be increasing.
One of the best steps you can take in your job search is using an industry-specific hiring site like BioSpace. This way, you can filter out all the roles that don’t apply to you, and when you apply, you know the company is looking for someone with a skill set very similar to your own.
Another great way to speed up your search is to look at companies that are currently hiring or expanding. Conveniently, BioSpace reports the Top 12 Biopharma Companies Hiring Now every month. These companies have the most open positions available on BioSpace’s job board.
The most important thing to remember after a layoff is that it does not speak to your value as an employee. You have valuable skills; otherwise, you would never have been able to land a job in the competitive life science industry in the first place. Know your worth, stay calm and follow the steps above to make the time after a layoff as easy as possible.