When you're laid off from your job, the first thought that may come to your mind is how you will survive financially. Your employer may provide your health insurance, be your primary source of income, and if you are living abroad, you may have to find a place to stay immediately in the United States. There are a few ways that you can address your job loss and plan for what's next. From not taking on new debt to keeping a routine, here are 14 answers to the question, "What are some tips for someone who finds themself suddenly unemployed?"
Career and Financial Planning During Unemployment
Don't Take On New Debt
Avoid taking on any new debt. This may seem obvious, but avoiding it can be challenging when you feel strapped financially and want to maintain your lifestyle. You need to be cautious about adding new payments to your monthly obligations, especially when it's for something that's not essential. Because of the uncertainty about when the next steady paycheck will come in, adding new debt can be very high risk.
Rachel Roff, Founder, CEO, Urban Skin Rx
Allocate a Day to Updating Your Resume
Something I suggest doing before you take your needed time off is allocating a day to updating, refreshing, and preparing your resume. Writing everything down when you are still in an organized place and detailing it all while it's fresh in your mind will be much better. The longer you leave it, the harder it will be to prioritize it - even if you are desperate for more work.
We never know what might come our way, so having your resume prepared from the moment you are unemployed allows you to jump on something the moment it presents itself instead of thinking that you want to apply for something and then deciding you will build your resume the next day, which turns into the day after that, or even the week after.
Brett Downes, Founder, Haro Helpers
See my feature in References on Resumes: To Include or Not to Include?
Stay Organized and Make An Action Plan
The best tip for someone who finds themselves suddenly unemployed is to stay organized. Set up a structured routine that consists of both short-term and long-term objectives. An unusual but effective way to do this is by creating an action plan: list professional goals, outline ways to achieve them, and use clear timelines for tracking progress. This will provide direction when navigating job searches, such as finding employers and drafting cover letters. Creating an action plan to focus on and gauge progress during unemployment can be used as a roadmap to a successful career.
Take Your Time to Build a Top-Notch Profile on LinkedIn
Losing your job can be very dramatic; your world feels upside-down, and you have mixed emotions. I've witnessed too many people act too quickly. They go on LinkedIn the same day and shout out to their network asking for help finding a job, and their LinkedIn profile looks sad; it needs to be completed and optimized for a job search. You only get one shot at first impressions. So take the time to build a top-notch profile rich in keywords and showcase your wins that will help you attract recruiters and hiring managers.
Thomas Powner, CEO, Career Coach, Resume/LinkedIn Writer, Career Thinker Inc.
Turn Your Focus to Networking
Nobody is exempt from finding themselves in a career lull or unemployment. However, this may not necessarily be negative because it can be used to your advantage. Use the time you have to go all in with networking. Attend seminars, workshops, or events related to the field you want to succeed in and build a network with your co-attendees. More doors will likely open for you, and you will eventually stumble upon an abundance of opportunities.
Guy Sharp, Relocation Advisor, Andorra Guides
Treat Yourself and Recharge
Unemployment can be tiring and stressful, so make it a point to relax occasionally. Take a reasonable amount of time off from your job search to treat yourself and recharge. Resting will maximize your productivity when you look for new opportunities. Even if you don't have money to spend, a visit to the park or a walk is what you need to ease your mind and help you get back to your job search.
Andrew Chen, Chief Product Officer, CommentSold
Take a Moment to Focus
The initial reaction most people take when they become unemployed is to panic. They immediately start searching job boards for roles that aren't a fit. However, it makes them feel productive and in control during an unstable time. Instead, take a day or two to write down what you liked about your job and what you didn't enjoy. Then, search for jobs specifically related to the things you enjoyed the most. This will give you a more focused approach to your upcoming job search.
Kelli Anderson, Career Coach, Resume Seed
Cut Down On Recurring and Unnecessary Expenses
Cutting down on recurring and unnecessary expenses is one of the best practices. Bills will start to pile up without income, so getting one's finances in order is critical to avoiding more debt. Cut down on energy consumption, buy fewer groceries, and refinance anything if it helps save on costs right away. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Alexandre Robicquet, Co-Founder and CEO, Crossing Minds
Prioritize Your Most Important Bills
It may be time to make some difficult decisions about which bills to prioritize. If you cannot pay your light or phone bill, you will lose your light or phone; however, if you cannot pay your rent or mortgage, you will lose your home. Losing your lights or phone is a big deal, but not as big as sleeping on the street or in your car. When hard times strike, you must keep things in perspective and make some necessary sacrifices-even if it means choosing between multiple less-than-ideal options.
Nick Allen, Founder & CEO, SportsLingo
Re-Evaluate Your Career Choice
One tip for someone who finds themselves suddenly unemployed is to take the time to re-evaluate their career path and consider what they want to do. It can be an excellent opportunity to reassess their goals and interests and think about the type of job or industry that would be a better fit for them. Additionally, it's important to stay positive, maintain their professional network, and update their resume and LinkedIn profile to make it more attractive to potential employers.
Mark McShane, Marketing Director, Leeds First Aid Courses
Apply For Unemployment Insurance
Finding yourself suddenly unemployed can be a harrowing feeling. The job market and the economy are scary places right now. While you should lean into your network and apply for jobs you feel qualified for daily, be sure to get started on unemployment insurance if you are eligible. There is no shame in receiving unemployment money. Unemployment insurance was deducted from your paycheck for this specific purpose.
Nick Varga, Chief Riding Officer, ERide Journal
See my feature in 8 Things to Do After Being Laid Off
Aim For Quality Over Quantity When Submitting Job Applications
Yikes! It happened. You got laid off, fired, or voluntarily left for another reason. Despite your reason for suddenly being unemployed, stress usually finds a way to deteriorate your mental health.
A tip to get through this is to aim for quality over quantity when submitting applications. Applying for hundreds of jobs with general direction is far less effective than applying for a handful of jobs with hyper-focus. Amend your resume, use keywords from job postings, and reach out to hiring managers.
Bethany Jeffreys, Career Advancement Consultant, Pivot Management Group
Consider Starting a Side Hustle
A side hustle is a small business or freelance gig that you can do on the side while you're looking for a full-time job. It's a great way to earn extra income and gain new skills to help you stand out in the job market. Depending on your interests and skills, you can consider many side hustles. For example, you could start a blog or podcast, create and sell products online, or offer freelance services such as writing, editing, or graphic design. Consider starting a small business, such as pet-sitting, lawn care, or online tutoring services.
One of the keys to successfully creating a side hustle is finding something you're passionate about that aligns with your interests and skills. It will increase the likelihood of sticking with it and achieving success. It's also essential to set clear goals and create a plan for how you'll achieve them to ensure you stay focused and motivated throughout the process.
Natalia Grajcar, Co-Founder, Natu.Care
Maintain Your Routine When You Become Unemployed
It's easy for people to find themselves lost when suddenly unemployed. One of the results of being employed is that you have developed a routine based on work – getting up at a particular time and going somewhere/doing something related to your job. You typically leave work at a certain time or after a certain number of hours. You probably go to bed at approximately the same time.
When you are suddenly unemployed, a common reflex is to break your routine. And not a little bit. Usually into a thousand pieces. What's important to understand is that we need a routine to stay psychologically oriented. So, continue setting your alarm. Write down your goals daily and then check them off when complete (e.g., send five resumes, pick up groceries, etc.).
Robert Acheson, Founder, CrypWalk
Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up to help answer questions and get published.