As Amazon, Citigroup and Google start 2024 with layoffs, experts say unemployed workers should take these steps

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The start of 2024 has not been kind to workers in industries that started the year with layoffs.

Google cut several hundred jobs in its central engineering, hardware and assistant teams. Amazon is shedding hundreds of positions in its Prime Video, MGM Studios, Twitch livestreaming and Audible divisions.

Tech isn’t the only industry making headlines for job cuts. Citigroup is laying off 10% of its workforce as part of a corporate overhaul.

Recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that layoffs are near historic lows — and experts say layoffs no longer carry the same stigma they once did.

“Being fired from a job is not as taboo as it was years ago,” said Scott Dobroski, career trends expert at Indeed.

“There’s been a lot of change in the world of work. There’s been a lot of layoffs across the country,” he said.

The following steps can help you shore up your finances and jump-start your job search.

1. Calculate severance pay, unused leave

You can receive severance pay from your employer or be reimbursed for unused vacation time. Note that this time may be prorated according to the season, not your full annual allotment.

Find out when you might get your last paycheck and how the payout plan works so you can better estimate the size of that deposit, advised Ted Jenkins, a certified financial planner and CEO of oXYGen Financial, an Atlanta-based financial advisory and wealth management firm. Jenkins is also a member of the CNBC Financial Advisor Council.

If you find a new job quickly, you may be able to pay severance pay, he noted.

Also, don’t forget to apply for unemployment benefits right away, as approval can take weeks.

2. Consult your output with experts

3. Book important medical appointments

Now is a great time to get to any medical appointments you need to make if you still have an employer-provided plan and a flexible spending account, and before COBRA starts.

That should include dental and vision care if possible, Jenkins said.

4. Take inventory of all the 401(k) loans you’ve taken out

If you took out a loan from your 401(k), check with your retirement plan provider to see what happens to that balance after you lose your job, Jenkin said.

Some plans may require you to pay off the loan within 90 days, while others may allow you to roll the loan into a new 401(k), for example.

“If the loan is not repaid, it can become taxable income,” Jenkins said.

5. Use tools to boost your job search

According to Dobroski, the amount of work required to find a new job can be significantly reduced if you use technology tools.

Let your social media contacts know that you are looking for a job. Also, don’t forget to update profiles on job search sites with your skills, experience and what you want in a new role.

Using these tools can help you discover roles you might not have otherwise considered, said Dobroski, who has seen bank tellers switch to sales managers after finding the role also suited their skills.

“We’ve seen some people get jobs faster and make more than $30,000, $35,000 or more because they’re looking for work that way,” Dobroski said.

6. Commit to at least one daily job search task

Job hunting can certainly be an exhausting and frustrating process.

To keep yourself on track, a good rule of thumb is to commit to doing one thing every day, Dobroski said.

This could include updating your resume, applying for a specific job, creating a new profile on a job search site, or talking to a mentor.

7. Refine your resume and other materials

When revising your resume, be sure to include any new accomplishments or skills that could put you at the top of an employer’s shortlist.

Be sure to emphasize transferable skills, Salemi said, such as the ability to lead with empathy, handle deadline-driven work and operate within the company’s budget. Looking at reviews of past performances can help jog your memory, she suggested.

As layout news continues to make headlines, keep in mind that new opportunities are still plentiful.

“With unemployment numbers at 3.7%, it’s clear there are still plenty of jobs out there,” Jenkin said.

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