1. Gather your contacts
If networking is important when you have a job, it is doubly important when you are unemployed. Relevant contacts can help you find new opportunities, provide references, and keep you ‘in the loop’. When you lose a job, make sure you don’t lose contact with those co-workers, associates, and clients who can help you later.
2. File For Unemployment
If you lose a job, especially one you’ve worked at for an extended period, you should file a claim for unemployment as soon as possible. There is a waiting week before receiving benefits in most cases, but your claim may take a while to process. The sooner you are in the system, the better. Additionally, your local unemployment office can be an excellent resource for finding a new job. Make sure you avail yourself of any assistance they are willing to provide.
3. Trim The Fat
When faced with a loss of income, it’s important that you limit unnecessary expenditures. Do you really need a premium cable subscription? Multiple phone lines? Dinner out? If there are ways for you to spend less money, take care of them as soon as possible–even if you’ve saved an emergency nest egg for such situations. In this economy, you never know how long it might be before you find a suitable replacement for your job, and if you reduce expenses now, you give yourself more time to find something appropriate.
4. Update Your Resume
Of course you should update your resume for the obvious reasons, but there is a not so obvious reason to update your resume: it can build your confidence. Losing a job can wreak havoc with your self-esteem. When you write your resume, you are presenting yourself in the best possible light to potential employers, and in the process you have to think of yourself in the best possible light as well. Writing your resume helps you realize your strengths, lets you address your weaknesses, and allows you to appreciate all you’ve accomplished and learned in your last job.
5. Take a Day or Two to De-stress
Losing a job can be traumatic, and you shouldn’t jump back into the game without clearing your head. Take a day or two after you lose your job to take care of yourself. Take a walk. Spend a little time with your family. Meditate. Do whatever you have to do to reenter the market with a peaceful mind and a positive attitude.
6. Explore Your Options
Losing a job can actually be an opportunity in disguise. Take this chance to explore your options. Do you want to reenter the same field you just left? If so, perhaps you can brush up on some skills to make yourself more marketable. On the other hand, perhaps you want to try something new. Now is the perfect time to consider going back to school, or to even try to get into another field. For many people, finding themselves unemployed was just the impetus they needed to start their own business. Think about what really interests, and what you love doing, and consider if there is any way you might be able to turn it into a career.
7. Organize Your Environment
Not many people can be productive in a messy, disorganized office, and if you are now at home full time due to losing a job, then your home is now your office. Get it cleaned up and organized for maximum efficiency. Take care of those gutters you’ve been meaning to clean out since last fall, throw away those broken electronics you kept meaning to fix but never got around to, and organize your closets. You’ll find that if you do so, your thinking will be clearer and you’ll feel more professional. If you feel more professional, you will come across as more professional, which will help your prospects in the long run.
8. Cancel Your Credit Cards
If you have credit cards, cut them up or cancel them. Seriously. Using them can be dangerously tempting when money is tight, but this can easily backfire. The last thing you want to do is increase your debt when you don’t have a positive flow of income.
9. Unplug Your TV
This one sounds silly, but it is one of the best things I did when losing my job. When the stress kicks in and you’re feeling down, anything that numbs your mind and takes up your time, like television, can sap the ambition from you. You don’t want to maintain a state of high stress, but neither do you want to lie down and give up. Take up positive activities that keep you active and ‘in the world’. Hike, garden, or do charity work. You’ll maintain a steady pace, and be less likely to sink into depression.
10. Take a Vitamin
Stress can take a toll on your health and your state of mind. To help combat this, make sure you take a multi-vitamin and eat well. The last thing you want is to become seriously ill while you are trying to seek a new job.