This morning I typed “what to do when you lose your job” into Google, because yesterday I lost my job. I was laid off because the business was struggling. It wasn’t my fault, the owner was sad, he said I did a great job. But unfortunately, my position was an expense that had to be cut. So today I find myself unemployed and trying to figure out what to do next.
I had an inkling of what to do since I went through this same thing last October when I was laid off from another small business (there’s a pattern here that is pushing me to work for more stable companies!). However, I wanted the reassurance of what to do next so I didn’t forget any steps in my slightly panicked state.
After I browsed the internet for the best advice for newly unemployed, I made a list for myself that I’ll also share for anyone else who may be searching for what to do when you’ve lost a job.
What To Do When You Lose Your Job: Reflect
Take a minute and reflect. Sometimes you are let go because of your own performance, sometimes it’s company problems. Reflect on why you are now unemployed and learn from it. It’s a good chance to also inventory what you liked and didn’t like about your position so you are prepared to look for something you love. This is a great time to evaluate the direction of your career.
What I’m Doing: Reflection is a big part of my day today and throughout the week. Last time I decided I wanted to pursue self-employment, but this time I’m considering switching industries and pursuing something totally different that I have a secret passion for! I’m also considering looking for a more stable company that is growing so there is a lower risk of this happening.
What To Do When You Lose Your Job: File For Unemployment
File for unemployment. You may be eligible to receive unemployment depending on why you were let go and the state that you live in. The unemployment benefits aren’t as much as you were making but they will help you get by until you land your next job.
What I’m Doing: I did this first thing yesterday when I got home. While unemployment benefits won’t be much, my boss encouraged me to apply and get everything I can while I’m searching for my next job. Unemployment is there to help you get through the job search period and it’s something you and your employer pay for – so take advantage of the option!
What To Do When You Lose Your Job: Get Insured
Figure out health insurance. Generally when you lose a job you also lose your health insurance. You have the option of applying for COBRA health insurance or getting your own individual health insurance plan. This is essential to have since you can’t predict your health situation. Decide what option you will go with and then make sure you are covered.
What I’m Doing: I already was paying for my own health insurance so this isn’t affected in my personal situation. Luckily I have a pretty good policy for a decent price through the healthcare act’s exchange. Thank goodness for the Obamacare option because I still am able to get the major things I need without extra expense.
What To Do When You Lose Your Job: Budget
Adjust your budget. Your unemployed spending levels should be much lower than your employed spending levels. Take a minute and think about what budget items are necessities and then ruthlessly cut the rest. You can eliminate lots of luxuries like daily lattes, manicures, car washes, and eating at nice restaurants. Cutting your spending gives you more breathing room in case you can’t find a job immediately.
What I’m Doing: This is the area I’m focusing on the most because I let my spending creep up over the last few months. Now that I’m unemployed I’m cutting ruthlessly from the budget to make sure I have the ability to make it a few months with unemployment benefits and my small emergency fund. I’m also considering a roommate so I have lowered rent expenses. Read up on budgeting and learn where you can make cuts.
What To Do When You Lose Your Job: Fix Your Resume
Update your resume. Add your recent work experience and focus on the results you achieved. Go back through everything and update it to reflect the path you are now pursuing.
What I’m Doing: I only need to update my resume with my most recent job but I also plan to tailor all of it to jobs I do apply for each time. I’ve found the most success with that tactic even if it takes longer to tailor the resume.
What To Do When You Lose Your Job: Work It Online
Clean up your online presence. Make sure all social media profiles are employer-friendly. Get a new email address that is appropriate for job searching and free from your old employer. Use your newly updated online presence to network and search for jobs.
What I’m Doing: On my to do list is going through and updating Twitter and LinkedIn. I’ve had success with both of these in the past on finding jobs and contacts so I will be hitting them pretty hard. Finding work through people already in your network is the best and fastest way to find new employment.
What To Do When You Lose Your Job: Look For Work A Lot
Make finding a job your new job. Though you might not spend 8 hours looking for a new job, it should be your top priority. Finding steady work to pay the bills is of the utmost importance so spend part of each day searching and applying for jobs. Skipping a day means you might miss a new job that has been posted.
What I’m Doing: Hello new job of finding a job! I started the day I was let go and after this post I’ll be back at it again. I have multiple tabs open of jobs I want to apply for so I’ll be updating my resume and applying to those and more today and every day. I’m exploring different kinds of work and different companies since overall I’m tired of the instability that comes from working at startups and small businesses.
What To Do When You Lose Your Job: Network
Network often. Reach out to the people in your professional network. Let them know you are looking for work and welcome any leads. Schedule lunches with people who might be able to give you advice about openings. Jobs very often come from people you know rather than job boards so reach out to everyone you know and keep them informed.
What I’m Doing: I’ve already reached out to close friends and let them know what is going on with my employment sitatution. I will be expanding my circles of networking in the days to come. I’ll also step out of my comfort zone and attend some local networking events.
What To Do When You Lose Your Job: Get Healthy
Exercise and eat well. While it might sound comforting to eat junk food, make sure you feed yourself healthy food and stay active. It’s too easy to get into a rut, so make sure you stay on an exercise program. This will help you feel more confident which will help when you have interviews.
What I’m Doing: I am planning to workout immediately after blogging and job searching today. I already exercise almost daily so I want to dedicate even more time to this because the better I feel, the more likely I will do well in interviews and land a job!
What To Do When You Lose Your Job: Work Part Time
Take on part time work if necessary. It might be necessary to take a part time job to keep your head above water financially. Having extra income and something to work on while searching for a full-time stable job will help you keep your stress levels lower.
What I’m Doing: I’m all for working a part time job to pay my bills until I find something new. I’ve never been one to not work so picking up a part time job quickly made sense to me! Last time I lost my job I temporarily worked a part time job and worked on self-employment stuff and took freelance gigs. I’ll do any and all of these again! You can also look for extra ways to earn money besides a part time job. It’s all about the hustle right now.
What To Do When You Lose Your Job: Stay Positive
Don’t get discouraged. Being unemployed is hard. No one likes to go through it and it’s even worse when you have a lot of bills to pay. The process of applying for jobs can be discouraging when you are passed over often. Dealing with perceptions of unemployment can be challenging. However you must be patient with yourself and the process. It’s not going to be instanaeous and you can learn a lot about yourself during the process. You will eventually find work, so stay positive!
What I’m Doing: While I just was let go, I can already feel those feeling of discouragement in the back of my mind. I know others who’ve been looking for months so I admit to already being a bit discouraged about joining the process. Losing a job can feel a bit like grief since you’re losing stability, coworkers and sometimes even friends. It’s important to process those feelings and then move on to a positive place.
That’s what I think you should do when you lose a job and it’s definitely what I’m doing this time!
What do you recommend people do when they lose a job?