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Jul 27

A 12-Step Program for Surviving Unemployment

Posted in Tips & Tricks at 12:11 pm

Lost your job and don’t know where to turn? Relax, according to the National Association for Counseling and Development, the average person goes through five to seven careers and ten to 12 job changes in their lifetimes. So how do you cope with the stress associated with losing a job and trying to finding another? Experts say to take it one day at a time and follow this 12-step program.

Step 1 – Secure your unemployment claim.

File a claim for unemployment insurance at your local state unemployment office on the first business day after you lose your job. Your benefit payments will help bridge the paycheck gap until you find another job.

Step 2 – Take the time to recover.

Unemployment is one of the most stressful events you will ever go through. Whether you’ve known about your termination for months or you just got your pink slip this morning, you’re likely to experience a variety of emotions ranging from guilt and sadness to anger and depression. The important thing to keep in mind is that your feelings are normal and that you need to give yourself the proper time to work through them. Take the next week off. Sleep in, have lunch with friends, or work out.

Step 3 – Draft a budget.

Go through your checkbook register or your debit card receipts. Determine how and where you spend your money. Find ways to cut unnecessary expenses.

Step 4 – Assemble a killer resume.

Writing a good resume takes time. Spend as much time as necessary putting together a resume that accurately describes your qualifications and achievements. Whenever possible, list measurable results and concrete examples of your achievements. Here’s a real-life example: Led a customer service project team that resulted in a 20 percent decrease in customer complaints within three months.

Step 5 – Draft a smashing cover letter.

Although each and every cover letter you write must be customized for the company to which it is being sent, it doesn’t hurt to have several well-written paragraphs ready and waiting. You can customize this draft in the weeks to come when applying to each prospective employers.

Step 6 – Network, network, network.

It doesn’t take long for a job seeker to learn that the old statement, “it’s not what you know, but who you know,” really is true. Knowing someone on the inside or getting your foot in the door is key. A good place to start networking is with your former co-workers, friends and family members. Ask them if they know of any opportunities in your field or if they know of anyone who may have an opening in the industry in which you are interested.

Step 7 – Buy a great interview outfit.

During a job search, first impressions are critical. Make sure you have at least one interview suit ready to go so that you are prepared when you receive an invitation to interview. Although most companies have business casual dress codes, casual dress is never appropriate on a job interview. On the contrary, job interview attire is a critical component of your job search that must not be overlooked.

Step 8 – Practice your interview skills.

Experts suggest that job seekers spend at least three hours preparing for each interview. You should research the company with which you are interviewing and the industry in which it operates. You also should draft concise answers to the most commonly asked interview questions such as why you want to work for the company and what you can do for the company. To demonstrate your interest in the position, you also should plan to ask the interviewer several questions of your own such as the skills the ideal candidate will possess and how a typical day looks in the job.

Step 9 – Keep a schedule.

Looking for a job is a full-time job. Make sure your friends and family know that you are off-limits between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day.

Step 10 – Enhance or update your skills to boost your self-esteem.

Look for ways to expand your skill sets while you have the time to do so. Is there a computer program you’ve always wanted to learn and never had the time? How about an executive seminar or workshop that you think would be interesting but couldn’t afford the time out of the office? Take advantage of your time off by using it to learn a new skill. Learning anything new can be a huge boost to your self-confidence.

Step 11 – Take time for fun.

After 5 p.m., your time belongs to you. It’s more important than ever that you let off steam by participating in activities you enjoy. Take a jog, visit a museum, accept a babysitting job or rent some movies. Do what you enjoy… you’ve earned it.

Step 12 – Stay connected.

One of the worst things you can do after leaving a job is to isolate yourself. If you were part of a mass lay off at your company, stay in touch with your positive-minded former co-workers. Accept invitations from friends and family members to go out. Invite your friends over to watch movies or to exercise together. The key is staying in circulation and staying positive through interaction with people.