24 Proactive Ways of Preparing for a Job Loss

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24 Proactive Ways of Preparing for a Job Loss

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The recent Coronavirus Pandemic has had devastating consequences on not only our health but the economy. In the first six weeks since the shutdown, as many as 30.3 million people have filed for unemployment.

This has, undoubtedly, shaken up millions of households across the U.S. Even if you’re still employed, thinking about your options should you lose your job is a natural response. Living during uncertain times has made working Americans question their job stability.

Are you worried about receiving the dreaded pink slip? Even outside of a worldwide pandemic, it’s important to prepare yourself for a job loss. That’s why we’ve prepared a list of 25 things you should do before disaster strikes.

If you think getting laid off is inevitable, read on!

1. Update Your Resume

As soon as you find an opening for a new job, the first thing you normally do is send in a resume, right? As such, the first thing you have to take care of before you lose your current job is polishing it.

By keeping it up to date you’ll be able to send it out the very same day you’ve been laid off. Though you might need to customize it for each position, that part usually takes a lot less, so having the bulk of your resume ready will make looking for a new job less stressful.

You should also double and triple-check it. As many as 77% of employers turn down candidates due to grammar mistakes or typos. Another 34% don’t even consider resumes without quantifiable results.

2. Reach Out to Your Network

If you’ve been working in your field for quite a while then it’s inevitable that you’ve got a few connections that you can rely on. Former classmates, clients, colleagues, and managers could know about openings that you should apply for, so don’t hesitate to reach out and gather as much information as you can.

While doing this, make sure to ask for their discretion. In most situations, you don’t want your current employer to know that you’re seeking out a new job.

Using your industry connections is one of the fastest ways to be pointed in the right direction.

3. Take On a Side Hustle

There is a chance that you may be unemployed for a while after losing your job. Making sure you have a safety net for that period of time is imperative, so you should start looking for ways to generate an income beforehand.

Taking on a side hustle is the quickest and easiest way to do so- after all, there are dozens of opportunities everywhere you look, especially in today’s gig economy. You could deliver food, babysit, dogsit, the possibilities are endless. You could even leverage skills from your current job.

The steady paychecks will ensure your bills and other expenses are covered while you’re between jobs so you won’t have to dip into other emergency savings for a while.

4. Start Thinking of Places You’d Like To Work

Positive working environment.
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Your first instinct shouldn’t be sending out resumes to every company within a mile radius of your home. Making a list of potential employers could narrow down your search so you won’t be stuck working in a company you might not even like. These sort of rushed decisions could affect your physical and mental health.

Look over a company’s website and social media to get an idea of their culture. You might even find possible roles that need to be filled, some that could be perfect for you.

Once you’re laid off, you’ll then immediately know where to apply first.

5. Take a Continuing Education Course

Competitive candidates have a far better chance of landing jobs and there are a few things you can do now in order to prove yourself to future employers. Your current company might offer tax-free tuition assistance. As many as 56% of employers currently do so. You might be leaving the company soon but that doesn’t mean you can’t still take advantage of this.

Even if you start a degree that you are unable to finish, your next employer will see that you’re ambitious and dedicated. You could even continue your studies through them instead.

By doing so, you’ll look a lot better than any number of different applicants.

6. Make New Connections on LinkedIn

Maximizing LinkedIn’s value can help you zero in on people working in your dream industry, which could lead to your next job.

In this day and age, pretty much every professional has a LinkedIn profile, but we tend to forget about them when we’re working. Before you lose your job, make sure to reach out to people and companies you’re interesting to. Out of 690 million users in more than 200 countries, you’re bound to find some leads.

But don’t just send blank requests, as these tend to be ignored. Adding personal note will increase your chances of being accepted, which in turn could increase your chances of finding the right person with the right knowledge about a potential opening for you.

7. Start Applying For Jobs

With your current job situation being unstable, there’s no reason to not get ahead of the curve. Applying for jobs before you lose your current job could ensure that you’ll be avoiding unemployment altogether.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, it takes roughly 36 days to fill an open position. If you’re without a job during those 36 days, you could end up in a lot of financial trouble, even with the help of a side gig.

Shortening the time it takes to find a new job should be one of your top priorities going forward.

8. Line Up References

Finding people who can speak on your behalf and praise you to your future employer is as important as having a perfect, spotless resume. Don’t believe us? According to HR.com, 96% of employers conduct at least one type of employment background checks, so be prepared!

You should ask for references from people you’ve worked with, as they need to be strictly professional. Reach out to teachers, clients, colleagues, and former managers and don’t just add them to your list willy nilly.

Being a reference is a time commitment, after all, and you’ll be sharing their contact information. By not ensuring that your reference is alright with this decision, you could end up looking very unprofessional, minimizing your chances of getting the job.

9. Check In With a Previous Employer

Businesswoman talking on the phone.
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There’s no shame in contacting a previous employer provided you left the company on good terms. By simply calling to check how the business is faring during the current health crisis (or during any other kind of crisis) you’ll prove to them that you could still be a valuable member of the team that still cares- and that’s invaluable!

But be careful, don’t take this step if you’re planning on returning to your current job once things settle down. It sends a bad message and you’ll end up burning bridges at the same time.

If you are looking for temporary employment, make sure your former employer knows this beforehand.

10. Create a Portfolio

Artistic professionals aren’t the only ones who should create a portfolio. In fact, many people could benefit from one. If you think of them as more visual, fun representations of resumes, you can see why they might be important to certain employers.

All your achievements, accomplishments, awards, recommendations, reviews, and work samples should be bundled together in a portfolio. This will also make it fas far easier for an employer to look over your work and get a better feel of your qualifications.

At the very least it shows that you are enthusiastic and well organized, two valuable skills in any work environment.

11. Research Financial Assistance Programs

Though some Americans might think that relying on financial assistance programs is akin to getting charity, the truth is very, very different. These are programs that all taxpayers contribute to, so taking advantage of them is your first line of defense while you’re in between jobs.

First and foremost you should research your state’s unemployment guidelines, as all states have different eligibility criteria. You could qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, and even discounted or free health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

Finally, through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security you might be eligible for an extra $600 per week for up to six months so that extra money should certainly help keep you afloat.

12. Reach Out to a Staffing Firm

A somewhat common misconception is that if you find a job with the help of a staffing firm you’ll have to pay for their services. In fact, it’s the companies that are looking for new hires that have to shoulder this responsibility.

There are two main benefits to reaching out to a staffing firm. First, they can help you polish out your resume and will point you in the right direction. After all, knowing how to connect the right candidates with the right employers is their job.

Secondly, many firms don’t publicize all their opportunities as they too are using staffing firm resources. So many of them could fly under your radar if you are using traditional methods. By going this route, you might uncover hidden gems!

13. Consider a Temporary Career Change

If your job has been severely affected by COVID-19, then considering a temporary career change might be your best option. If you’ve worked, say, in the entertainment, travel, or restaurant industries, there’s no knowing when things might go back to normal for you or your company.

By looking for a job in a more essential industry you’ll guarantee a cash flow all while expanding your skill sets.

Of course, the same goes for non-world-wide pandemics. If it would take you a while, under normal circumstances, to find a job in your field, then temporarily working in a different industry to pay the bills is simply a matter of pragmatism.

14. Google Yourself

Google search in phone and laptop.
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Employers often use search engines such as Google to try and get a better idea of what kind of people are applying for positions. Don’t allow your potential job to be on the line by not taking the same interest.

You may very well find negative content online which could be a red flag for whoever looked you up. You can try to contact the original poster and ask them to take the content down, but there’s no guarantee that they will.

The best way to ‘get rid’ of this content is to push it down in search results. Do this by starting a website and blog using your name as this is what the employer is going to search for. Then, create profiles on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and other high-ranking sites.

These will eventually show up first in any searches, so whoever is looking you up will have a difficult time finding anything you don’t want them to see.

15. Put Personal Social Media Accounts on Lockdown

You could miss out on a perfect job opportunity if your potential employer finds and disagrees with your social media presence.

It has become increasingly popular for candidates to be looked up online, as mentioned in our previous point. Research by CareerBuilder shows that the most frequent reasons for which applicants weren’t hired were discriminatory content at 31%, information about them drinking or using drugs at 36%, and inappropriate content at 40%.

All your personal profiles should be locked down under strict privacy settings.

Some might think that by not doing so they’re weeding out employers whom they might not get along with due to personal reasons, but you shouldn’t miss out on a job (and thus paycheck) because of your private life (it is private after all), not to even mention the fact that certain posts could be misconstrued and taken out of context.

16. Create a Professional Social Media Presence

Employers love seeing engaging and ambitious candidates online. As many as 47% will look for you on various platforms, so you should work on professional profiles on websites that are relevant to your industry.

These are a great way to show an employer your passion and qualifications, and it’ll be like a breath of fresh air from endless piles of resumes. You’ll also have a chance to show off a bit of your personality so they’ll know you’ll be a great addition to the team before they even meet you in person.

CareerBuilder has found that employers look for personal qualifications (37%), creativity (34%), and a professional image (33%), so it’s very important not to leave any of those out.

17. Join a Professional Association

You can get resources, learning, and networking opportunities if you join a professional association. You’ll very likely have to pay a fee but what you’ll be getting in return will be well worth it.

Professional Associations will uncover things that you might not have found on your own, and you could even find a new job just by joining and meeting the right people. If anything, you’ll have something else to add to your shiny new resume, which will undoubtedly impress potential employers.

18. Start an Industry-Focused Blog

Starting an industry-focused blog could benefit you in a multitude of ways. If you don’t work in an industry that focuses on online content you could expand your skills and learn as you create.

But, more importantly, it’ll allow potential employers to look up your achievements and future plans. Furthermore, they’ll get to see your writing skills and SEO results, both highly respectable skills that a lot of companies look for in applicants, no matter their role.

Yet another lesser-known advantage is the fact that employers could reach out to you instead. If your blog and your dedication to it is impressive enough, you never know when you’ll be contacted by someone looking to hire!

19. Use Your Alma Mater’s Alumni Resources

Alma Mater statue.
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Your college or university might have private resources that you won’t find anywhere else. These aren’t exclusively for recent graduates, either!

With their help, you could join a private networking database, receive invitations to career fairs and job postings. If you’re having a hard time networking, this could be your first stepping stone, especially if you’re looking for a job in a career that expects applicants with certain degrees.

20. Look For Ways To Reduce Expenses

Of course, even with all the steps listed earlier, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll find a job as soon as you get laid off. That’s why you should equally focus on finding ways to save up as much money as possible.

Start by cutting down on more obvious expenses like eating out, cable, or subscriptions. If you are able, look into refinancing your car insurance or mortgage.

You need to avoid debt at all costs, so try to budget and live frugally in between jobs. The trick is to do so even while you’re still employed in order to get a headstart. while living like this will be temporary, you’re undoubtedly not used to it. By budgeting early on you’ll less likely to make mistakes when you’re actually out of a job.

21. Put Aside Money You’re Saving by Being Home All the Time

It’s inevitable that you’ll save money during the stay-at-home orders, so it’s best to take advantage of every penny. Put extra cash in savings accounts that will help you stay on your feet while you’re looking for a new job.

In theory, it shouldn’t be too difficult. By staying at home for as long as possible you’ll be inevitably cutting costs on gas, not eating out, not getting haircuts, and not buying office clothes. it might not seem like much at first, but all of this adds up quickly.

If you’re working remotely, try not to focus on the negative stuff and check out how much money you’ll be able to save- that always puts a smile on our faces!

22. Know Your Worth

Every employer would be lucky to have you on their team and you should be well aware of that. So don’t cut yourself short when it comes to wages either. You should know your worth before even approaching an employer.

Luckily, there’s a database for that! Thanks to the Bureau of Labor statistics you can look up wage data from more than 800 occupations in 400 industries across 500 metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas- it doesn’t get better than that!

Look up your industry and position and make sure you’re ready to reveal your salary expectations to employers when you interview!

23. Volunteer Your Time

Volunteering your time, even in a vastly different industry than what you’re used to, can have many beneficial consequences. First of all, you’ll feel good about yourself by giving back to the community.

Depending on when and where you volunteer you could learn new skills and network with people you may not have otherwise met. You might even find a new career path if you’re passionate about this new opportunity.

Finally, employers like to take on active people, so adding tidbits about your volunteering to your resume is sure to catch their eye!

24. Take Advantage of Outplacement Benefits

Hr meeting between two women.
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Finally, if you know for sure you’re about to leave your current occupation, take every advantage you can get through your outplacement benefits. If your current employer offers them then it’s your responsibility to reach out and use them.

Offers range from career guidance and coaching, cover and resume letter writing, as well as interview preparation. These are essentially free to you and you’ll be guided by professionals, so you won’t feel so lost when looking for a new job.

We hope this list helped shed some light on what you should do if your current job situation seems unpredictable. Global pandemic or not, we believe everyone should take the time to brush up on their resume, social media presence, and everything else listed here so that if worse comes to worst, you’ll be well prepared!

 

 

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