What to Do when You’re Laid-Off from a Job

It is all over the television and newspapers, “Unemployment is at an all-time high.” If you buy into the media hype, you’re never going to get a job, it will take you months and lots of struggle and effort to find anything at half the pay you were making.

If you were laid off or fired, immediately file for Unemployment Insurance. California has so much occurrence with UI applicants that they have stream-lined the application process with an online Unemployment Insurance Application. Go to http://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/Filing_a_Claim.htm, and select the eApply4UI link. The form only takes a few minutes to fill out if you have a current pay stub from your last job, your social security number, and driver’s license number handy. The good news is that there is still money in the coffer to help you through this transition to your new perfect job. The bad news is that you’re not going to get much to live on until you do get that new fabulous job. Top payment is $450 a week if you qualify for top dollar.

The second thing to do when you’re laid off or fired is to get your resume in shape. While your resume may have all the pertinent details, if it is not garnering a lot of attention, the next course of action is to go to your local Employment Training and Education Centers. In the Sacramento area, they offer many One-Stop Career Centers that are part of the Sacramento Works organization. They offer great resources for dusting off your resume, brushing up on your interviewing skills, and developing techniques for finding a new job. Go to http://www.seta.net and do some research on all their resources to find out what will work best for you. For other areas throughout the country, look at the Employment Development Department for your area and look for a link to resources for jobs and job training.

You need to prepare yourself for the job of getting a job. There are several books available including “What Color Is My Parachute.” In the past, how you went about getting a job is that you looked in the paper and answered ads and if your resume looked good to the prospective employer, you were called in for an interview. This was in the days when the prospective employer received 20 – 40 resumes for a posted position.

In today’s market, prospective employers can be much more selective because they are receiving 500 – 1500 resumes for even a single part-time job! What this means for your resume is that it had better be perfect with no typographical errors and it had better be eye-catching and extremely readable. The chances of your resume garnering enough attention for you to even make it to the interview phase of the job process is extremely low, so you need to do everything in your power to get your resume to be your ticket in the door of the potential employers. Get resume help at your local Employment Training agency, or if you have the money, hire a professional resume writer to help you.

Customize your resume to the job you are applying for. This doesn’t mean to lie, it means to bring the focus of your resume on the skills that the job you’re applying for require. For example, if you’re applying for an administrative job that requires computer experience, emphasis the computer programs that you have used and your skill set with each.

You only have one chance to make a good first impression, so don’t forget a good cover letter addressed to the person in charge of the hiring process if known or “To Whom It Concerns” if you don’t know the gender or name of the hiring authority. In your cover letter, give a brief highlight of special qualifications you have for the job you are applying for and why you would be the best candidate for the position.

Your best bet for getting a new job is networking. As the president of Manpower Mike Dourgarian said in an interview with Dana Howard on News 10 in Sacramento recently, “Someone who has not been in the job market for five years has missed a lot of changes. Networking is the one technique that people should be using.” Tell all your friends and family that you are looking for a job and what kind of job you’re looking for. Chances are that they will know someone looking or know of someone who knows of someone who knows of someone who is looking for someone just like you! Your chances are much better that your resume will get the attention it deserves if it is handed to the personnel department or the key decision maker by someone who already works for the company.

The first and last things you need to remember while you’re out of work is to stay positive! It’s the hardest thing to accomplish, but the most important thing to do. Get some self-help recordings and books and inundate your mind with positive words and images. Stay away from the newspapers, news programs and negative people that keep telling you how hard it is to find work. Before going on any interviews, you need to put on your positive attitude as much as your best interview suit. Remember that you are a worthy candidate for any job, and any company would be lucky to have you!

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