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Quick Tips to Prepare for Unemployment

We don't want to think about it happening to us, but chances are it will.







Every one of these companies has had mass layoffs over the last year. Now I don't want people to live in fear, but we must be aware and take action now to be prepared in case a layoff at your organization does occur.

You may be thinking, But Ayanna! The holidays are coming and there is usually seasonal hiring, right? Yes, that's true. But typically, those seasonal hires are for a very short time, and usually at retail locations, shipping warehouses, grocery, etc. that pay less than what you may be making now. Seasonal hiring ramp ups are most likely not occurring in the industry you work in if it's outside of retail sales, consumer goods, or shipping / delivery.

So how do you stay ahead of the curve with your career and employment opportunities? How can you prepare for unemployment?

First — and most important — keep your résumé up-to-date and ready to go. Not only is it easier to pay for résumé services when you’re employed, but you won’t lose valuable time getting started with your job search. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to create an interview-winning résumé and portfolio of career documents. I've seen people scramble, trying to recall their accomplishments and the skills they've learned after having been with the same company for years. Getting the pink slip isn't the time to start thinking "What have I achieved over the last few years?" You'll want to always have those bullet points ready to go. The sooner you are able to start your job search, the closer you’ll be to going back to work. Also, the longer you are unemployed, the harder it is to find a new job.

Second, have an emergency fund. One of the biggest struggles with unemployment is losing your income. Unemployment benefits — if you’re eligible to receive them — can take weeks to get approved. In the meantime, having an emergency fund — even a small fund of 2-4 weeks of expenses — is better than nothing. Most experts recommend having 3-5 months of savings.

Third, the best offense is a good defense. If you think you’re in danger of losing your job, batten down the hatches. Make a list of your current expenses (review your checking account, credit card statements, or online banking profile) and see what you can cut out. Determine which of your current monthly expenses must be maintained (mortgage and car payments, utilities, groceries) and which ones you can do without for now. Eliminate any unnecessary expenses - looking at you Discovery+.

Finally, it can be easier to find a job when you have a job, so don’t wait until you lose your job to start looking. Take the advice of author Harvey Mackay: “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty” and cultivate your network while you’re still working. Build your connections on LinkedIn and in real life. Pick up a phone! Keep in touch with former co-workers and supervisors. Set up job alerts just to stay in the loop about who's hiring roles that are in your specialty area. Interested in making a career change all together? Passively getting job alerts for a different career path is a great way to stay ahead of what skills and experience you need for that new type of role.

Careers are a strategic game folks. In order to play the game, you've got to know the rules. And if you don't play you can't win. Take control of your career and be PRO ACTIVE with your plans and not dependent on these organizations to guarantee you a position for the long term.

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