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You Just Lost Your Job...Now What?

You Just Lost Your Job...Now What?

So you just lost your job. You are probably feeling very angry, but also somewhat anxious and unsettled. The following questions have probably run through your mind at some point since you received the news:

What am I going to do?

How am I going to pay my bills?

Where I am I going to find a new job?

First, take a deep breath. While this is definitely not how you imagined things playing out, look at this as an opportunity to find an even better job. You have the freedom to network and explore avenues you might not have thought of before. The key to success, however, is to stay focused and diligent.

The Obvious

There are a few obvious issues that must be addressed immediately: file for unemployment, find healthcare coverage, and update your resume. Filing for unemployment is easy. Simply visit your states unemployment website, by finding it at www.servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp, and follow the directions. It takes about five minutes. The checks will start arriving about two weeks after you initially sign up. You can even get direct deposit to speed up the process. Even if you were technically fired, you may still qualify for unemployment benefits, so it is important to review the site thoroughly.

Now, on to healthcare. If your spouse is employed at a company with decent healthcare benefits, this is probably your best option. You will also receive information from your ex-employer as to when your healthcare benefits expire and how you can extend those benefits through COBRA. COBRA is an act passed by congress in 1986 which provides certain former employees, retirees, spouses, former spouses, and dependent children the right to temporary continuation of health coverage at group rates. For more information on COBRA, visit www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq_consumer_cobra.HTML. Once you receive your COBRA information, compare the rates and coverage versus enrolling in a private plan, so that you can make the best decision.

Hopefully you have an old resume handy that you can simply update. If you don't have a resume, it is easiest to build one using a good template. Check out the sample templates at career-advice.monster.com.

How to spend your time

Your new job is to find a new job. It may sound simple, but this is a time-consuming and sometimes frustrating process. By far the best way to find a job is by networking. A potential employer is much more likely to hire you if you were referred by an employee or colleague. Every person you know knows at least one person who could potentially hire you. Start by using your immediate circle and everyone you come in contact with on a regular basis, and then branch out from there. This includes friends, family, and even professionals whose services you use, such as accountants, hair stylists, doctors, financial advisors, dentists, etc. Every encounter you have with a human being is an opportunity to network. If you already know that person, networking should be easy. If you are interested in a specific field or a particular opportunity, set up an informational interview by networking to find someone in that field. Keep organized by using an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all of your contacts, their information, and notes regarding your communications with them. Don't be scared to utilize professionals to assist you in your search. Head hunters and recruiters can be extremely helpful. The key is to use as many different contacts and professionals as you can; you do not want to put your entire job search in one person's hands.


Do not rely solely on online job sites. Imagine your resume is in a stack of 500 resumes waiting to be viewed by a hiring manager. Think of how much time (if any) the manager will actually spend reviewing your resume. That's right, maybe about 5 to 10 seconds if you're lucky. This is why it is so critical to network to find the appropriate person to whom you should submit your resume.

Reduce your fixed expenses. You finally have the time to call your service providers, threaten to cancel their service or switch to a competitor, and renegotiate a lower cost. Think about it, $25 off your cable bill every month, $15 deducted from your cell phone bill, a couple of hundred dollars off your car insurance, and canceling your satellite radio and your home phone service really adds up. Now is the time to challenge yourself to see how much you can save.

The key to handling any unexpected problem or crisis is to devise a good plan and to take action quickly. Losing your job is no different. With the right plan you will be able to focus on solving the problem and finding a new job.

If you liked this you may also like:

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  • Strategies for Young Job Seekers

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  • Coming Clean When Job Hunting

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  • Losing Your Job

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  • Free Online and Local Resources to Help You Find a Job

    If you are looking for a job, it's important to have access to good resources to help you create a great resume and present yourself as a top candidate. It's also important to save as much money as possible during the job search. Fortunately, free assistance is available. Here's a list of seven no-charge online and local resources for job seekers.

Begin our online process to see your personalized savings.

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