I lost my job, now what?

By: Diane Lang

We know that the country’s jobless rate is over 7%, this is a very scary number. We have the highest jobless rate in over ten years and with many more living in fear of losing their job. Here are a few tips to help you move forward if you lost your job or know layoffs are coming.

1. First things first – file for unemployment.  If you have been laid off, you qualify for unemployment; make sure to take advantage of it. This money can help you make it thru the tough transition of finding a job. It could take 6 months to a year to find a new job. The Unemployment check can make you feel more secure and cover your necessities while you find another job. Unemployment can now be filed on -line from your home so there is no excuse to file immediately. Also, know that it will probably take two to three weeks to get your first check so the quicker you file, the quicker you will receive your first check.

Remember, to be eligible you had to lose your job due to no fault of your own. So, if you quit or got fired, you can’t receive unemployment benefits.

2. Options – you don’t need to have the same position or same salary to work. Remember, this is a transitional time. The next job you take doesn’t have to be permanent. Try other options such as temp agencies, part-time, consulting and freelance jobs. This can help you make extra money, keep your skills fresh and feel confident while looking for a job. A bonus to freelance work, temp, consulting, etc is that it allows you to build on your resume so you don’t have to worry about the “Gap”, on your resume.

3. School – use this time to go back to school to finish your degree, learn a new skill, and get a certificate or just to refresh your skills.  There are many affordable options. There is financial aid. There are community colleges and certificate programs at community colleges, adult programs and non-credit courses. Libraries offer classes in computers at a very affordable rate.

4. Volunteer – there are many organizations that need volunteers. You don’t get paid but it’s a great way to get training in a new skill, keep your resume updates and feel confident while helping others. It’s proven that the happiest people are altruistic so get to volunteering and boost your happiness level.

5. Positive – Keep confident. Employers can sense low confidence. If you’re feeling embarrassed by your jobless situation and it effects your self -esteem, it will show on interviews.  Positive attracts more positive and it’s the same for negativity – it attracts more negativity. Use this time in a positive manner – volunteer, spend more time with friends and family, find your true passion by temping and freelancing at different companies, go back to school and remember, this situation is only temporary- you will find a job!

6. Network and be patient – finding a job takes time and even longer in this economy but you will find one just keep at the search and network. We know that most people find their jobs thru networking. Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for a job, what type of job and your experience.

7. Be prepared – make sure to have an updated resume on your computer to send out ASAP. Be prepared for the interview by doing your homework on your trade, the company your interviewing with and their history. Make sure to practice interviewing – mock interviews are a great way to warm up for an interview. Keep two outfits that you feel confident in ready. These outfits should be comfortable, neutral colors and make you feel and look good.

Diane Lang is a Wellness Counselor/Educator and Owner of DL Consulting.

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