10 Things to Do if You Lose Your Job

 It’s true that the economy and job market are improving yet the pace of the recovery remains slow.  Certain sectors such as manufacturing remain weak and job losses continue.  If you lose your job or know someone who recently lost his or her job, here are ten things to do immediately.

  1. Decide on health insurance.  Determine your options and decide the best course of action.  In most cases, one option will be to continue coverage under COBRA.  Typically COBRA provides coverage for up to eighteen months.  You may also qualify for coverage through your state’s health insurance coverage or a private carrier.  Compare your options and choose the coverage you feel best balances costs and benefits.
  2. Apply for unemployment benefits.  Unemployment benefits can now provide income for up to twenty-six weeks of state unemployment benefits plus up to forty-seven weeks of federal extension benefits for a total of up to seventy-three weeks.
  3. Implement zero-based budgeting.  Review your spending over the past six to twelve months and categorize each expense as either ‘have to’ or ‘want to’.  Examples of ‘have to’ would include such things as rent or mortgage payment, utilities, basic food costs, health and other insurance.  Examples of ‘want to’ would include such items as cable TV, eating out, subscriptions and vacations.  Carefully consider your sources of cash to pay ongoing expenses and identify what items to eliminate from your ‘want to’ budget.  Also review your ‘have to’ budget and see if there are ways to reduce these expenses as well.  For example, you may be able to move to a less expensive apartment.
  4. Get a job.  Consider the possibility of part time work while you look for a full time job.  Any income can make a big difference at this stage.
  5. Start a business.  Most of us have always had a business idea in the back of our mind but never had the courage to quit our job and take the leap.  Well now may be just the right time. 
  6. Get new skills.  Being laid off might provide you with the perfect opportunity to upgrade your skills.  Take a moment to realistically assess your current skills and decide if upgrading your skills would increase your chances of not only getting a job but getting a better paying job.
  7. Build a killer resume.  Your resume will be your first impression for many potential employers.  To build a killer resume, it should be customized specifically for your prospective employer rather than general in nature.  This requires that you research a potential employer and determine the skills they are seeking for a particular position and then express how your skills will address those needs.  Visit websites such as www.careercast.com for tips.
  8. Network, network, network.  Start by making a list of all the people you know who might be able to help you (and that’s just about everyone!).  Don’t ignore social media as a tool for your job search. If you really care about your social media accounts, then go to Gramblast to buy more followers.  Facebook, LinkedIn and even Twitter can be used to reach out to a lot of folks who you may not know well but who can provide you job leads.
  9. Rollover your 401k.  Roll your 401k into an IRA.  This is best done as a direct rollover whereby the money moves directly from your company custodian to a new custodian you select such as a discount broker like Charles Schwab or Vanguard; a bank or a retail broker.   You’ll want to avoid invading your IRA to pay for living expenses but at the same time you should avoid buying annuities or other products that have high surrender fees.
  10. Remain Optimistic.  It’s bad but it’s not the end of the world.  Use the time as an opportunity to regroup, refresh, be with your family and friends and know that you are a person of value!