Job security is more important than ever to everyone. No one wants to be on the receiving end of a pink slip, but with unemployment rising at an alarming rate, it is almost inevitable. What can you do if you’ve just been laid off? Here are some tips to help:
Take Stock of Your Finances
First, don’t panic about your situation. Hopefully you have a savings account to live off for a few months or at least a couple weeks while you hunt for another source of income. Instead of being thrown out of the building, leave your office gracefully and go home. Take a couple days to relax, go to the spa, or go on a short vacation to clear your head. Getting laid off is pretty traumatic and by taking a couple days to relax, it will help you prepare for the next job. Far too often people panic and jump right into the first job that opens up, and then they end up becoming miserable in that job within a few weeks. Create a long term and short term list that has all your goals. Write down your cost of living and decide what things you can cut out for a few months while you live on a tighter budget.
Find a Temporary Position
Second, search the job boards for current openings. If your financial situation is hurting, find a temporary job while you continue looking for a full-time position. There are several online job boards to help you find a job in your area or one that is asking for your skills. Visit web sites like LinkedIn.com, Monster.com or Yahoo.com; they the largest online job boards out there. The Department of Workforce Services (DWS) is another place to visit. The DWS can identify your skills and provide you with a listing of possible jobs.
The more time you spend at home sulking, the lazier you will get and it will only hurt you. Spend at least 30% of every day trying to find a new job. Start a blog that discusses your skills and ask friends and family members for job recommendations. Don’t be afraid to network, it is one of the best ways to find a new job. A blog is a great way to demonstrate your skills to a new employer. If you have technical skills like computer programming, create a web site that features your abilities and include a link on your resume. Create videos that feature your expertise and post them on your web site or on YouTube. If you haven’t found a job within 3 months, start volunteering. The more you stay involved with something, the more skills you can add to your resume and it the better it looks to a potential employer.
Create a Good Resume
Third, write down all your skills and create a new resume. An employer wants to know what skills you have and what you have to offer them. By sitting down and creating your list before you apply for the job will help you look presentable in the interview. Every project or task you have ever worked on needs to be included in this list. Employers like people that can handle a broad range of responsibilities. Work on your computer skills before you start interviewing. The DWS offers typing classes to help people work on their typing speed and career colleges offer classes to teach EXCEL, Word, and other computer programs to people. When you keep up your training, you will stay current and have more to offer an employer than people that have been out of work for 6 months that didn’t keep up with their skills.
Health Insurance for Unemployment
Fourth, make sure you have taken the right steps to provide for your family during hard times. While you are unemployed, you need to make sure you are getting unemployment benefits, some companies offer COBRA benefits to employees that have been laid off. When you are laid off, you typically have 60 days to decide if you want to participate in COBRA benefits. Individuals that are healthy and don’t have problems should wait until the 59th day to participate in COBRA benefits. Anyone that has a pre-existing condition should pick up COBRA benefits immediately. If you have a pre-existing condition and you choose not to participate in COBRA, a new insurance provider can exclude you from coverage because you had a pre-existing condition for 6 months or longer without continuous coverage. COBRA benefits will cost you money, but not as much money as it would be to pay for a surgery on your own. Check with the Healthcare.gov website to find affordable insurance plans. Remember, the IRS will charge you a penalty if you do not have health insurance on 2015’s tax forms.
Always find out what the unemployment benefits are for your state. If you were laid off and you meet the state requirements for wages earned, you can receive unemployment benefits. It takes a couple weeks for unemployment benefits to kick in so you need to file as soon as possible if you were laid off.
Avoid Pulling From Retirement Accounts
Fifth, avoid dipping into your 401(k) or other retirement plans. While it may be hard to get by right now, you don’t want to impact your future when you plan to retire. When you take money out of your retirement plan, you will pay some big tax penalties. It is better to leave the money untouched and roll it over into a new company’s retirement plan when you find a new job.
Attend Job Fairs
Sixth, start attending job fairs and other business events. Even though you no longer work for the company, attend their business events and network with their associates. If you can’t afford a ticket to get into the event or you don’t have an invitation, wait in the hallways. Take a friend or family member with you so you have a “group” to help you network with potential employers.
Book Job Interviews
Seventh, when you are on the interview, make sure to discuss your industry expertise. A person that has worked in a bank will have a greater chance at landing the job opening than an individual that has only worked in the IT field. While you may have technical skills that help, having industry expertise is always a great selling point.
Take time to understand the company you are interviewing with. Read up on what their company does and recent things they have done that have made the news or new advancements in their field. If you don’t have a job interview yet, research the company you want to work for and find the email or phone number of the individual in the organization that could hire you. Find out what this person has been working on and introduce yourself to them. Explain that you find their work interesting and that you are looking for a job opportunity to share your skills. Never tell this person to call you, instead ask them if they are interested in your skills and let them take the initiative. When you are researching the company, you may run into a name of a person you have worked with before. Contact this person and ask them if they know of any job opportunities that you could do. Many companies will bump your name to the top of the list if you have contacts within the organization. Technology companies in particular like to hire people that have already worked together in teams.
Being laid-off doesn’t have to be the end of the world. With some hard work and dedication, you will be able to find a new job to provide for your family! Good luck and happy job hunting!