Laid Off: 8 items to take if you know you are being laid off

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Jan 08

A layoff can swiftly eliminate access to all of your company systems and support structures. Yet, the information contained in those systems can be critically important in your planning and execution in finding a new position.

Consequently, it is important to have the information you need sitting on your home computer.

Note: this information is not company information nor anything to do with trade secrets. Company property is company property and I am not advocating taking company information nor break any business code of conduct.

Here are eight of the critical information pieces you should have:

  • Your resume. Usually, if you have done a good job in managing your career, you will have your resume on your work laptop so that you can apply for internal positions and keeping it updated as you have additional accomplishments. However, your work computer can’t be the only place you are keeping your resume; make sure you keep a current copy on the home computer.
  • Your reviews. Your reviews, especially any self-reviews, should also be on your computer at home. The self-reviews will often cover specific accomplishments that can be translated into accomplishments on your resume or web site.
  • Your contacts. The people you work with who remain at the company can be an important source of job information for you. Consequently, you should have your work contacts information available to you if you are going to be laid off.
  • Your financial URL’s and passwords. Companies usually outsource their 401(k) and pension information to places like Charles Schwab or Fidelity. When accessed through your company’s web site and you are employed, you’re fine. But as soon as your access to your company’s systems is taken away, so does the pass through to the external information. Make sure you have the direct URL for where your 401(k) and/or pension information is located.
  • Your employee service center number. Because companies outsource their HR function, or most of it, having access back into the company through the service center is critical when you have no access to company systems.
  • Any documentation related to your situation and interactions with the company. For example, if there were health issues and you took a leave of absence — even if in the past — you should have all of that documentation in case issues arise after being laid off.
  • Your employment verification process. Some companies have an 800 number with a company code to verify employment. Others have a process where a potential new employer can verify that you were employed. Having this number and/or process will quickly enable your prospective employer to verify what is needed.
  • Your manager’s contact information. If your manager is still there…

What other items would be great to have? Most people know they are going to be laid off at least a couple of hours before the big event occurs. What else should get added to this checklist?

  • Great list, Scot (and others). I am definitely keeping this at hand.

    I would also add any training material for courses and development you have attended.


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  • Steve says:

    Wendy has it right – you should have all the “stuff” that is “you” in portfolio form.

    Seems the focus areas are:

    Administrative Items
    Networking Contacts
    Portfolio Items
    Contracts & Agreements
    Money things
    Back-up Records
    Contacts & Directories

    One item not covered is my recommendation to “nuke” anything personal that would be left behind.

    Secure delete your personal files & contacts if you are allowed. Take or shred paper copies.

    Specially focus on that file of passwords or “keychain” type files.

    This is not to be mean to your now ex-employer, but to be proactively protective of your personal information.

    Who knows who might access your machine down the road, and they certainly don’t need your personal information.



  • Scot Herrick says:

    Another good item to add to the checklist!

  • Wendy says:

    I’d like to add another —

    any great written (emailed)compliments on work well done from managers over you, especially anything that contributed to revenue growth, bottom line management, or praise for your people management skills.

    These can act as supporting references when added to your portfolio.

  • Scot Herrick says:

    Steve — great additions. This list triggered another one for me: awards given from the company.

  • Steve says:

    Great list Scot !

    This is a fall-back list any manager should have on the ready 24/7

    Many of the items come into play in more situations than being laid off – routine interaction, emergency leave, resigning, and even survivor issues for your spouse.

    I would add several items to this list:

    Personal Contacts (your network) gained Professionally, though you really shouldn’t just blow a copy of your customer lists.

    Training Certifications (think of these link your immunization record)

    Copies of any pre-employment agreements (non-competes, security clearances, intellectual property assignments, that sort of thing) that might survive your departure to affect your future employment.

    If you can get it a complete copy of your personnel records, so you know what is in there. This one varies with organization – some break up your records so you never get them, some refuse and some have the reverse idea and expect you to keep a full set yourself.

    All the best,


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