There are thousands of articles and books about getting a job, but very few about what to do when you lose your job. This can be incredibly confusing if you have been out of work for some time, have little money saved up, and may even fall behind on expenses. If you lose your job, the best course of action is to avoid panic. Start maintaining the finances you are left with and begin preparing for your next interview. The following tips will help you navigate through this rough patch:
PROTECT YOUR FINANCES
As soon as you realize that you have lost your job, start doing whatever you can to keep up with your financial obligations. If possible, immediately find a way to cover the payment absence on anything from your mortgage to utilities and credit cards. But, most importantly, do not stop making payments for student loans or child support. It is easy to get overwhelmed, but you cannot afford to skip out on loan or child support payments if you want to keep yourself protected from penalties.
FILE FOR UNEMPLOYMENT
File an unemployment application immediately. You can find the form on your state's labor department website and turn it in as soon as possible. If you wait too long to do this, you risk losing benefits; some states last only a few weeks or months after a layoff before you're no longer able to file for them. One positive aspect about unemployment, though, is that it is paid under a fixed rate that does not vary depending on your state or region's economy.
WORK ON YOUR BUDGET
If possible, create a budget that you can use to try and keep up with your lifestyle. First, figure out how much incoming money you have each month from unemployment benefits and adjust accordingly. If the amount is not enough, look for additional ways to earn extra cash, such as consulting work or freelancing on the side until you find a new job.
REVAMP YOUR RESUME BEFORE APPLYING FOR A NEW JOB
Even if you are confident about your skills, now is the perfect time to go back over your resume. Ensure that there aren't any typos or grammatical errors and that all of your tasks performed at each job are listed with enough detail to paint a picture for the hiring manager. Make sure that you list all of your qualifications, work experience, and accomplishments to ensure the best shot at a job offer.
CONNECT WITH YOUR NETWORK
If you have lost your job, it may be time to reach out to the network that you have built over the years. If you are looking for a new position within your industry, using resources such as LinkedIn is one of the first places to start. Follow up with friends or peers that you've met at conferences, seminars, and other events over the past year that could be valuable to your job search. Additionally, if you are looking for a new position, it may also be beneficial to look into your alumni chapter of your college or university.
CHECK JOB LISTINGS
If you have registered for job alerts or updates, it may be time to sign up for more. Be diligent about checking each site daily so that you can respond immediately when new opportunities are posted. This is important because employers will often receive hundreds of responses to postings and don't have the time to go through each one, especially if they are not hiring immediately.
TARGETED JOB HUNTING
When you are looking for a job, you must not apply for anything that comes your way. Instead, define specific types of positions that you are interested in and then go after those jobs specifically. For example, if you are working as an accountant but want to work in consulting, target positions within consulting firms rather than applying broadly across all companies.
Getting laid off can be incredibly devastating, but it doesn't have to mean the end of your career. If you are proactive about finding a new job, you can get back into the workforce in no time at all. Use the advice provided here to help you stay afloat during this challenging period and return to work as soon as possible. But, of course, the best thing one can do is take action. This means arranging time each day to work on your job search, seeking new opportunities specific to your industry or skillset, and staying positive throughout the process. If you can remain persistent even in times of doubt, it will be possible for you to find a well-settled position for your career.