Practical Steps for Navigating Unemployment

Written By: Katie Horning

Katie Horning is an Accounting Professional based in the Los Angeles County area

Unemployment. What a dreaded word! In this blog post I have a dear friend of mine walk us through what she has learned about the unemployment process. Perhaps you have experienced something similar to her story. My heart goes out to each one of you who has had to deal with unemployment currently, or in the past. I would hope that this could bring you some semblance of what do you do when it happens so that you do not feel knocked down on your feet!
I hope it can bring you some comfort to know that the current state of the job market is in its growth phase. As this article states:
“Business’ number one problem is finding qualified workers,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said in a statement. “At the current pace of job growth, if sustained, this problem is set to get much worse. These labor shortages will only intensify across all industries and company sizes.”
If you are a skilled or qualified worker make sure you are following the steps below in order for you to get back on your feet stat!
Take it away, Katie!

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In one of my favorite movies, While You Were Sleeping, as the protagonist Lucy is remembering her father she says, “He would get these far-off looks in his eyes and he would say, ’Life doesn’t always turn out the way you plan.’ I just wish I’d realized at the time, he was talking about my life.” Unemployment was never part of my plan. In 2015, I took a risk, leaving a job I had for over five years, to take a contract position for a job I loved, with every hope that this contract would become permanent. However, after a year and a shift in management, the contract ended, and I found myself unemployed. It knocked the wind out of me and left my head spinning.
That’s a bit of my story, and I wanted to share that along with some practical things I learned through that process, in hopes that it may help someone out there.

You’re unemployed; now what?
1. Apply for Unemployment Insurance – Unemployment Insurance will provide a percentage of the income you were receiving while employed. In my case, it was not a sustainable income, but it definitely helped slow the flow out of my savings!

  • Important Documents/Information to gather before applying (for more infoclick here):

    • Pay Stubs/Payment History for the last 18 months

    • Employer History for the last 18 months

    • Social Security Number and License/ID Card Number

2. Transfer your Health Insurance to COBRA

  • Do this so you do not lose your Health Insurance Coverage!

  • Thispage from healthcare.gov gives the best details on how to do this.

3. Take Care of Yourself

  • It’s easy to pour all your energy into finding a new job. But don’t forget to take care of yourself. Here are some things to keep in mind:

    • Take a vacation/staycation - I highly recommend taking off three to five days before you jump into looking for a new job. If you can’t afford to get away, take some intentional time to be a tourist in your own hometown!

    • Eat well

    • Exercise, and get outside

    • Allow yourself some treats!

    • Find somewhere away from home where you can apply for jobs. A beautiful library? A favorite coffee shop?

4. Stay Organized

  • Make sure to get your resume up to date, so you’ll be ready to apply, apply, apply!

  • My personal goal was to reach out to ten jobs a week. So that could mean submitting an application, going to an interview, emailing a company in which I was interested, etc.

  • Regarding Unemployment Insurance - After your application is accepted for unemployment insurance, you are required to input your information at the end of every week. This information is to show that you have been actively seeking work. (Annoyingly, you cannot do this as you go, so I kept a list of places I had applied to, with the information they would require handy.)

    • They will ask for:

      • The date of the activity

      • The name of the company

      • How you found the job

      • The job title/type of work

      • Who you reached out to/talked with and how (Email, in person, over the phone, etc) *Note, if you choose “email” they require an email address, “in person” they require an address, “phone” they require a phone number. So, have that info ready too!

      • Results of the search: Applied, interviewed, etc.

5. Final Tips

  • LinkedIn

    • If you have a LinkedIn Profile, make sure it is also up to date (along with your resume)

    • You can set your LinkedIn Profile to notify recruiters that you are looking for a job; so hopefully this will send some interesting job opportunities your way.

    • Lastly, LinkedIn has a great Job Search Engine, I highly recommend taking advantage of it. (You can even try a 30 day free trial of LinkedIn Premium!)

  • Recruiters/Hiring Agencies

    • Getting connected with a recruiting/hiring agency can be a great strategy. They work on your behalf to help you find a job. Their services are free for job seekers!! So, it’s like having a team helping you look for jobs.

    • Though it’s totally acceptable to have more than one recruiter working for you, I recommend not having more than 3 or 4.

I’m sure I didn’t cover all the issues one could encounter while unemployed, but hopefully this blog post has given some helpful insights for those trying to traverse these murky waters.

You can do it!

I’m rooting for you!

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