(DailyDig.com) – The sudden loss of employment can be devastating. Whether you get laid off or lost your job for some other reason, sudden unemployment can leave you with mixed emotions. Starting all over again to look for a job or a sustainable source of income can be draining and may take time.
There are, however, some steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from facing financial challenges while you search for new opportunities. Here’s what to do if you are suddenly unemployed.
File for Unemployment Benefits
It is imperative to apply for unemployment as soon as you lose your job, even if you are not sure you will qualify. The March 2020 CARERS Act expanded the unemployment benefits of people who lost their jobs.
Filling immediately can help you get your first check as soon as possible. Remember, thousands of other unemployed people are applying for the same, and it may take your state time to process and administer their requests.
To apply for benefits, contact your state unemployment office. You can also initiate the process on their website and submit your application online.
Create a Budget and Put Your Finances in Order
While you may be confused and sad about your sudden job loss, it is imperative to take critical financial steps to avoid the distress that comes with financial hardships. The first step is to create a budget to guide you on how to spend (or save) what you still have. Look at your current assets and account balances and make a list of your current bills.
Cut Down on Your Monthly Expenses
Minimize expenses to avoid spending money on things that do not add value to your life when you do not have a job. As you spend money, you are not refilling the gap with a consistent monthly income. It’s in your best interests to cut your expenses and focus on the necessities. How you spend your money determines how long your finances will last as you look for another job. Here are things you should do:
- Write down all your monthly expenses
- Remove luxurious items that you can do without
- Cancel all unnecessary subscriptions such as gym, memberships
- Find out from your service providers if they can lower your bills without changing services
While adjusting to the new life may not be easy, you should try as much as possible and be flexible with your expenses until you have another income source. If you have a family, explain the changes to them so that everyone is on the same page about the situation. Everyone needs to understand the value of living conservatively during tough financial times.
Stay Positive and Take Time to Reflect
It’s normal to feel mixed emotions, but you do your best to remain positive and work towards the best possible outcome. This would is a great opportunity to reflect on various aspects of your life and make changes towards a better future. What do you love? What do you want to achieve? Take some time to create written plan for what you’d like to do next in your career, to create job security, and to create financial stability.
This might even be a good time to learn a new skill to boost your resume or even use the skill as a side hustle when you get employed. It may even be the right time to follow your passion and focus on developing yourself.
The most important thing is to ensure that you are not idle no matter how you feel. Spend time with the people you love and those who care about you as you learn and grow your skills and develop new hobbies.
Leverage Your Emergency Fund
If you have an emergency fund, this is the time to use it — but you should be careful how you spend money. Limit spending your fund to actual emergencies and household needs (like housing and utilities).
Be cautious about accessing your emergency account to avoid spending money you’d have used for more urgent needs. Your emergency account should be your last resort and handled with extreme caution.
Have credit card debt, for example? Don’t rush to your emergency fund to pay it off. Talk to your creditors about your current situation and see if you can work out a reduced payment structure or have late fees waived.
Remember, as you use the funds in your emergency account, you should plan how to replace them once you start working. You’ll want the account to be ready and available to save you in the future in case of other uncertainties.
Clean and Update Your Resume
Once you’ve taken the first steps to cover your monthly expenses and put your finances in order, it’s time to move on with your job hunt. However, before you begin searching for jobs and sending out applications, you should first check, clean, and update your resume.
The employment market has stiff competition with many qualified candidates searching for similar jobs as you. Your resume needs to be outstanding in order to attract potential employers quickly. Here are things you should do with your resume.
- Remove outdated information according to the current employment trends
- Include vital information that employers are looking for
- Add any new skills or experiences you’ve acquired
- Check the contact number and email address and ensure they are correct
- Update your online presence on all your social media platforms
- Customize application letters and resumes to suit the job description you are applying to
Invest time practicing and getting ready for interviews when you start sending out jobs. You never know when the potential employer will call you out for an interview.
Spend some time researching what to expect in today’s current interview climate. Look for and practice answering questions the potential interviewer may ask. Take some time to research the employers you’d like to work with so you can ask questions as well.
Becoming suddenly unemployed could be the beginning of new and greater things in your life if you stay positive and realign your goals. While life may seem harder now, this is an opportunity. Make the most of your free time. The future is now, and you’re in control.
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