Top 10 Things To Do When You Become Unemployed
With the American economy (and many others in the world) potentially on the verge of collapse we are all subject to being out of a job any minute. One day we’re working, paying the bills and enjoying happy hour. The next day we are unemployed and panic is starting to set in. Don’t worry! Here is my Top 10 List of Things You Should Do When You Are Suddenly Unemployed. If you have extra tips for people who have lost their job or are going to lose their job, please add them in the comments.
If you were downsized or fired then go to your local unemployment office and apply. You may qualify for months of unemployment compensation. If you quit your job then it may be harder to collect but try anyway. They can also help you to write a resume and find a new job.
Make sure you can pay the rent and buy food until you find another job. If need be, cancel the fancy HBO cable TV package or start buying the no-name breakfast cereal. Get on a payment plan for other bills if you can. You don’t know when you will get a paycheck again so start hoarding the money you have. You may need to get a part-time job before you get a full-time job of your choice. Swallow your pride and do what needs to be done.
Include all skills and education you have and show potential employers what you have done in quantifiable and measurable terms. Never lie on a resume, but “puffing” your accomplishments within reason is acceptable. Only include references that you know will speak highly of you. Include key words that will get the future employers attention. Most resumes are scanned by computers so a good trick to use is customize the resume and cover letter for the specific job you are applying for. Use the same words companies use in the job description such as, “Self-Starter” or “Proven Results.” They will be picked up by the computer and get your resume moved to the top of the pile.
Ok, you want to stay low key and not let everyone know you are unemployed. You have to do just the opposite and let everyone know you are looking for a job. Networking is the #1 way people find jobs. Let your working friends and family know that you are looking for and need a job now. Everyone has been in your situation before and knows what it is like. Be honest and get them a copy of your resume. They can usually help you directly or refer you to someone else that is hiring.
Use this time to reassess your career choices, catch up on some reading or just veg in front of the TV for a few days. You don’t have to get up at 6am anymore to drive in rush hour traffic to get to work by 8am. Take a walk, smell the coffee, play with the kids. Give your mind a chance to recharge and re-evaluate your life. Maybe a new career is what you need. Maybe even a new city. The point is, take this down time to sit back and enjoy your vacation. You’ll be back to work soon enough and your next vacation will be a year away.
Your ex-boss or co-workers may be able to keep you abreast of re-hire opportunities at your former company. If the decision is made later to bring back former employees, you may be considered if you have kept in contact with with your bosses or peers.
You always used the excuse “I don’t have enough time to exercise or eat right.” Even though there was a state-of-the-art gym in your previous office building, you never used it. Now is the time to hit the treadmill or take a jog in the park. Use that neighborhood gym membership one more month (before you have to cancel it because you’re broke). Since you have less money you should be eating out less. Get the fast food out of your diet altogether. Set a goal and try to lose those pounds or inches off your waist so you look great for your next job.
Not only will volunteering help others in your community that need it, you can add that experience to your resume. It is also a form of networking. You may meet someone working at a hospital or homeless shelter that can offer you a paying gig.
While searching for jobs on sites such as Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com, you will no doubt stray into other areas of interest such as political news, sports, music, etc. That’s ok, but try to stay away from too many recreational sites (especially porn). It’s ok to be up to date on the latest music, fashions or other crazes, but don’t get sidetracked too often. However, I do recommend a daily dose of List Universe. The things you will learn on this site will enlighten you tremendously.
Don’t beat yourself up about your situation. It probably happened for a good reason. You know you didn’t like that old job anyway! Now it’s time to move on to the next phase of your life. Go to church, mosque or synagogue and pray on it. If you are not religious then just meditate and focus on the positive and don’t feel like you are worthless or a loser. This is a time in your life to build your character up and show the world what you are really made of!