Seven Tips for the Newly Unemployed
[Editor's note: If you recently lost your job, take a look at Wise Bread's collection of tips and resources for the recently laid off.]
The unemployment rate in California surged to 6.9% , and that is equivalent to the rate in early 2003. Most news reports say that unemployment will probably go up a bit more in the short term as our economy deals with the credit crisis. Personally, I am seeing some friends and family deal with unemployment right now, and here are some tips that could be helpful for those in this situation.
1. Tell everyone you know you are now unemployed - There is no shame in telling people that you are looking for a job. In fact, the more people you tell the better your chances are in getting a referral. Tell people in your network what kind of job you are seeking and what your skills are, and someone may be able to help you get a new job.
2. Apply for unemployment benefits - As long as you were terminated through no fault of your own, you should be eligible to collect some unemployment benefits. It is not a lot of money, but it is something to help you with gas and food bills while you look for a job. In California it is fairly easy to submit a claim through an online form here . If you find employment before your benefits begin you can always cancel the claim.
3. Tighten your belt - When you suddenly become unemployed you may need to adjust your budget a bit and stretch whatever severance you received as much as you can. It could mean that you have to cancel the cable and not go out so much for dinner, but without your former income those small luxuries may prevent you from paying the bigger bills like the rent or the mortgage. If you do not have an adequate emergency fund to tide you through the job search then frugality becomes a necessity.
4. Be open to opportunities - Several people I know that were laid off due to company closure found that they could noteasily find a job that paid as well as their old jobs. So they are faced with the choice of continuing to look for that high paying job or take a lower paying job. I do not think that people should necessarily take the first offer they see, but if it is a decent job with reasonable benefits then it does not hurt to take the job and continue looking. Having a lower income than before is still better than having nothing at all. Besides full time employment, there are contract positions or business opportunities you can seek out.
5. Stay healthy - When you lose your job your health insurance usually goes with it. That is why staying healthy is extremely important during this period of unemployment. Sometimes health issues can be beyond our control, but we can all try to sleep and eat well and exercise regularly.
6. Organize the job hunt - You should make finding a new source of income your priority if you need the income to survive. When I was looking for a job I found that keeping a log was very helpful. I would write down the date of my resume submission to certain companies and also dates of interviews and contact information. Organization is very important when you suddenly need to keep appointments in many different places.
7. Do not mope around - Losing your job is horrible, but there is no point in wasting your time feeling bad about it. When you are looking for a new opportunity you need to be confident about your skills and show people that you are awesome. The sooner you can get over the initial disappointment, anger, and bitterness the sooner you will be able to move on to something better.
There are very few companies that hire people for life these days, and involuntary unemployment is something most of us will have to deal with in our lives. Do you have any stories or tips on how you dealt with unemployment? Feel free to share here.
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