Dealing with Job Loss
Losing a job is stressful, plain and simple. Looking for a new one is no easy task either, especially if you worry about how to pay the bills. But take a deep breath and follow the simple steps outlined below.
Get Back on your Feet Professionally and Financially
Here are some tips to help you deal with job loss:
- Look to your employer for help. Your company may offer a range of services, from workshops to retooling your resume to classes on how to look for jobs.
- Contact your State Unemployment Insurance Office for information about applying for unemployment insurance benefits in your state.
- Make a budget. Add up your monthly expenses and create a survival budget to get a sense of how long your savings can keep you afloat. Look for expenses you may be able to eliminate. (Bonus tip: This budgeting calculator can help you track your monthly expenses and decide where you can cut back.)
- Consider your health care options. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, better known as COBRA, allows people who lose their jobs to buy health insurance at a group rate for a limited time. COBRA can be expensive. If you're relatively healthy and don't have chronic conditions, a bare-bones major medical plan may save you money while still protecting you from catastrophic emergencies. Visit www.HealthCare.gov to learn more.
- Contact your creditors. They may be willing to discuss some type of minimum payment. They're much more likely to be reasonable with you if you tell them your situation upfront, rather than waiting for them to contact you after you've missed a payment.
- Order a free copy of your credit report at any of the credit reporting agencies provided here. Your credit report has information about where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you have filed for bankruptcy. Credit reporting companies and other businesses that provide background information sell your file to potential employers that, in turn, use it to evaluate your applications for jobs. It's a good idea to dispute inaccurate information in your report so it can be corrected before your next job interview comes along.
- Form a network. Networking is about building relationships and is a key part of job hunting. All it means is talking to others — either formally or informally — about your job search and career goals.
- Join a professional, business, civic, or some other kind of association or club. It can be a good way to learn about trends and unadvertised jobs. Members often know employers with open positions. Association and club listings can be found online or at your local library.
- Visit www.CareerOneStop.org. Sponsored by the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, this site offers tools to help people look for work, and a directory of resources to help you cope while unemployed.
- Be wary of job scams. It's tough enough to find a job without scammers trying to take advantage. During your job search, you may see ads for job placement firms that promise results. Unfortunately, some firms misrepresent their services, promote nonexistent vacancies, or charge high fees in advance for services that don't guarantee placement.