Laid-off from your job? 4 Important steps to take right now!

Difficult times remind us that we are mortal, make us appreciate what we have , brings us together and force the change we’ve resisted. #FearlessTogether 

We’re all living in a world we never imagined. If you’re laid-off,it’s difficult to make a living. I’ve been in this situation a few times. Once it happened on my birthday. It was the cherry on my chocolate cake. Once separated from your employer, you feel pain, anger and fear.

But there’s good news. Options exist to help you survive and continue to keep yourself employable.

You can take some actions to turn the wheel of fortune back in your favor. Even when the economy suffers a downturn, it will eventually rebound. When it does, you have to make sure you’re ready to meet the challenge of getting a new position.

1. Create a list of referrals

This is a great opportunity for someone to tell a hiring manager that you were a good employee in your last position—and here is the proof, listing all your achievements. Make sure you have at least 3 people who can provide referrals/feedback while you’re applying for new job. It’s imperative that you providetheir correct contact information. Recruiters don’t like to make several phone calls to chase down your referrals. Also, many companies have an automated process, sending out an email invite to contact them over special recruitment portals. 

What you need: 

Referral’s name, job title, company name, phone, email. 

Keep in mind that these people should not be your friends or relatives, but people you worked with in the past: manager, supervisor, professor from your school, coworker, direct report. It’s good to list people from different reporting levels and not just your managers. Before you give their name to the recruiters,make sure they’re aware of your job search and are willing to put in a good word for you. I like to also give my referrals a short description of the job I’m applying to so they’re ready to provide an appropriate referral for the position to help secure getting hired.

2. Continue to develop yourself while unemployed and receiving unemployment benefits and beyond

Each state has its own unemployment insurance. The qualifying criteria varies, but it will give you a steady income for a short time until you find another position. If you think it’ll be difficultto find job in your last field or if you need to brush up your current skills, you can apply for various training programsthrough the unemployment program. If you’re approved, you may receive extended unemployed until you’ve completed the program of study. A lot of people are unaware of this option, and they miss the deadline to apply for these programs and benefits.Be sure to visit your local state department of employment services website and explore the programs they offer.

While you’re in training, you don’t have to continue DUA’s (Department of Unemployment Assistance) job search. You’llcontinue to receive your regular benefits. After your regular benefits run out, you may be able to get extended unemployment for up to 26 weeks. Be sure to check all the guidelines and rules: they vary from state to state.

Additional unemployed benefits are included in the coronavirus emergency package. What is in the new Pandemic Emergency Bill for people who lost their jobs?

Unemployment Insurance (UI): Expands unemployment insurance programs to address individuals who have been laid off, furloughed, or had their hours substantially reduced related to the coronavirus.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation: The regular UI benefit program provides for minimum state benefits of $5 to $178 per week and a maximum benefit of $235 to $1,192 per week. Under the Pandemic UI Assistance benefit, and individual will receive the regular UI benefit amount plus $600 for an additional 13 weeks, going from 26 to 39 weeks.

Short-Time Compensation (“STC”) Benefits paid by thefederal government: Allows employers to reduce hours of work for employees rather than laying-off some employees while others continue to work full time. Those employees experiencing a reduction in hours are allowed to collect a percentage of their unemployment compensation. 

Currently, 27 states have STC programs including: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. Seasonal, temporary and intermittent employees are ineligible for the benefit.

3. Review and update your virtual presence and your resume.

Keep your virtual resume sharp and updated. It takes one minute for recruiters to view your LinkedIn profile or do a Google search and learn a lot about you. Make sure to have accurate contact information and a powerful summary on your profile. Don’t have a LinkedIn account? It’s easy to set up. A lot of tutorials online can help you get started. If you think you don’t need a LinkedIn account, make sure to have handy a copy of your updated resume. 

Keep your online presence neat and professional. Make sure when you Google yourself, you don’t see those pictures from last summer on the boat with a pack of beer or showing a new tattoo on your belly. 

I’m receive a lot of question from people asking if they need to have a cover letter? I’d say, “Yes.” The point of a cover letter is to express your passion and interest about the job and build a connection with the hiring manager. In today’s digital landscape,you need to accomplish all that and more by designing an eye-catching, professional resume and building a strong online brand and portfolio with relevant examples of you work. If you have publications, interesting idea and projects, post them on Linkedin. Show your network that you’re a subject-matter expert in your field.

Update your resume. If it’s outdated or you’re not sure where to start, follow the steps outline here.

4. Networking, networking…don’t be shy!  

Last, but not least, start networking. Networking is important foryour career. It makes people aware you exist and can open a door to a new opportunity. With the current situation, we can’t go to in person to many events, but you can join online groups and use social media. Reach out to friends and family. Make sure they’re aware you’re looking for work. You’ll be surprised how responsive and willing to help people are. Networking is a mutual relationship. Having the right networking channel can help build your career. It’s not a one-step process. It’s a journey where you meet people and form relationships. You’ll want to include high-profile individuals from the same career path among those in your network. They can help you manage your challenges effectively by giving you advice, linking you to the right financial support, and informing you of job opportunities.

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