16 Critical Steps for the Unemployed (Laid Off Now What: Surviving Unemployment Book 2)

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During one stint of unemployment, I worked for free for my boyfriend's company for a couple of hours a day.

I Lost My Job...

That way I didn't actually have a gap in my resume; a resume doesn't show part-time or full-time and it doesn't show pay or no pay. So volunteering at my boyfriend's company for a couple of hours a day ended up looking like a full-time job on my resume.

Laura D Lewis

Focus on ambition and execution and not so much on work per se. Another time I got laid off I spent my days learning to swing dance. I took one or two lessons a day and practiced at night, and after my six months of job hunting, I was good enough to teach dancing just off Broadway. I didn't put that on my resume, but when people asked me why I left my job, I told them about how I gave myself time to fulfill lofty goals as a swing dancer.

Start a blog about the industry you want to go into. Blogging is a great way to keep up in your industry, network without looking desperate, and leverage the fact that you have more time on your hands that people who have jobs. Everyone who is unemployed should be blogging as a way to get their next job. Put your ideas out into the world and connect with people that way. This is why you want to be hired, right? The reason that people who blog have great careers is that bloggers are always thinking about issues in their industry.

Show that side of yourself to people. Blogging takes a lot of time, sure. Bu you have a lot of time. Here's my guide for how to start a blog. Do you have a company idea? There's nothing stopping you. You have time, and you can try ideas to see which one sticks. Also, whether or not your company does well, you'll be able to talk about it in an interview as a huge learning moment that will deflect from any problems at your last job.

The company that never got out of your parent's basement can sit on your resume as professionally as a stint in the Fortune It's all about how you write the bullet points: Practice talking about yourself with everyone. High performers practice for interviews. So now you know what you're aiming for, but you need to talk about it with everyone — parties, at the gym, on the phone with friends.

When they ask how you're doing, talk about what you're doing like you are in the job interview. And the good news is that the better you get at talking like that, the more you will actually believe your story , the story that being unemployed is lucky because you have learning opportunities. What's important to remember here is that no one can tell you what experience you can gain and what you can't. You don't need a job in order to learn cool stuff and be on cool projects.

You control what you do with your time and you can make it useful. There is no reason to talk about why the last job didn't work when you can talk about the great things that leaving opened up to you. Is it time for you to find a new job? Call it the smack upside the head that I needed to go out and start doing incredible work rather than let my professional life simply become an exercise in sleepwalking. Posted by Chris Bailey on March 6, at 2: Swing dancing was the first thing I thought about.

Posted by Richard on March 16, at 6: Posted by anji on April 11, at Start helping others and adding value with these tools first. Posted by Matt Tillotson on March 6, at 2: Although I agree with this post in essence and believe wholeheartedly that finding a project or volunteer work is THE way to go during a job search, I disagree with the way that you seem to suggest spinning those experiences. Candidates should be extremely cautious about talking up these projects too much — if they get hired on an oversell, it could make for an incredibly awkward situation.

They need to show that they took initiative, remained active, and learned and accomplished new things, but they should not pretend to have gained skills UNLESS they have actually gained the skills. Posted by Angie on March 6, at 2: I would like you to write a poll. Please send it to penelope penelopetrunk. And please be interesting. Posted by Penelope Trunk on March 6, at 2: Posted by MissPinkKate on March 6, at 2: Wow, I was laid off yesterday as well.

Thanks for the great advice! Posted by amanda on November 14, at 8: All those things you gripe about not having time to do when you have a full-time job, like exercising and eating right, you have plenty of time to do now. Forget starting a blog about the industry you want to get into. Go get an internship. I was interested in the music industry, so got in touch with a local record label and asked them for an internship. I was in my 30s. Because of my age and experience, I definitely stood out from all the college kids. And then they hired me.

Indulge in a hobby. A while ago, between jobs, I picked up pottery painting. I loved it so much, I ended up getting a part-time job at the studio just to have painting time. Met a lot of interesting people at the studio, too. You never know where life will lead, so follow ALL avenues, not just vocational ones. Do something for charity. You never know when you or someone you care about will need to be on the receiving end.

Chances are your unemployment, even in These Tough Economic Times [tm], willbe shorter than you think. Work on your tan. Take the vacation you never took. Enjoy yourself a little. Posted by Andrea on March 6, at 2: Does it vary by state I am in MA? Posted by Allison on March 6, at 3: It might depend on the of hours they have you work, not sure. Posted by Andrea on March 6, at 4: Posted by Allison on March 6, at 4: It is possible to get an internship without being a college student. Perhaps this is the reason for your rejection?

Maybe approach the company suggesting a volunteer internship or experience where you can learn about the industry and infuse your expertise into the organization. Posted by Heather Maietta on March 7, at Posted by Ashurbanipal on November 7, at 5: I have to say, I like your idea about getting an internship. That is tremendous, especially when you find you actually have the time now. I just shot off two emails to firms for an internship placement.

Instead, having the two interning and blogging about that embrace one another sounds swell!

More On Job Search Next Steps

Posted by Adjoa on August 29, at 2: I am unemployed and have been since November and I have to say that you put up some pretty good points. I believe everyone has to start somewhere. Posted by Sebastian on February 6, at 1: You have lived one of the coolest lives. I love reading your stories about your past risks, adventures and successes. I also appreciate how honest you are about your failures and missteps.

This post in particular was really inspiring to me. The around-the-clock schedule means less time for things such as obsessively watching the Food Network and leafing through magazines, but those are things I should probably do without anyways! Posted by Dallas on March 6, at 3: It has taken me exactly six months to find a job.

I start my new job on Monday. While unemployed I worked on writing projects, started a blog, and traveled. I would talk about those things during job interviews. My experience was that interviewers understood how scarce jobs are right now and were not put off my the gap in my employment history, but interested in what I could do for myself when left to my own devices.

The best thing is that I am coming to see that the blogging, writing etc.

Surviving financially when you’re unemployed | eywaapps.dk

All wonderful suggestions for that weird transition time…especially when still figuring out what to do with my life. Posted by Megan on March 6, at 3: American life is changing rapidly and it has to be accepted. But there will be millions that are foreced to find new and totaly different priorities rather than living for the old ones.

A couple of years ago, right after getting married and spending a ton of money on a fabulous honeymoon trip, I unexpectedly lost my biggest client. For about four months I had almost no billable work. Posted by Kristin T. The only time I get things done is on days when I have some other activity scheduled. Posted by Anca on March 6, at 4: I like what Marshall McLuhan said in You can only have roles. Posted by Paula Thornton on March 6, at 6: Posted by Mark F.. Depending on how I present it, people do show interest.

Starting a blog, a homebased business and developing a product were all huge learning curves and required the time I had available after I quit my job in July. The time off rejuvenated my energy and interest for my work, and I still get to do my projects. Posted by Robyn on March 7, at 9: This is good advice. I was laid off in November and spent December in a continuous wave of panic. In January, I got contract work that may soon lead to a full time position. I have gotten really good at being interviewed — I used to get really nervous and my lips would stick to my teeth. Posted by rainie on March 7, at 9: This is a genuinely helpful post Penelope.

Posted by Financial on March 7, at 9: Informational interviewing or field research is another great way to make use of your time. Posted by John on March 7, at Posted by Marianne on March 7, at And written just for me, it would seem. For those who find themselves un- or underemployed, success will be determined by how they spent their time. Posted by eliz on March 7, at 2: This is one of your best posts ever. Insight like this is the reason I always come back. This IS the way it works. Is it possible for you to post a spin on this with tips on ways to keep up with all of these important skill and image boosters when you have no time because you are scrambling at a job that, although it pays the bills, adds nothing special to your resume?

Take it one day at a time—here’s how.

Posted by Liz on March 7, at 7: I think another point is get in touch with old friends, family, or make new friends and build up a support system. Even networking for work, you forget how to be friends with people. Some days I want to panic and fret about not having a job, and I need to hear from someone else that I need to chill because life inside my head is much more insane than reality. I particularly am discouraged by the job postings that require the jobsearcher to visit another site that is fee based. An example, PR Crossing or the plethora of direct marketing and telemarketing job postings.

Why do they not have their own category? Craigslist is user monitored so many of the bad job postings get flagged, but what about the aforementioned sites? Who regulates these postings? And how is applying through these sites more effective or not as effective as dealing directly with the company or HR department? Not really complaining, just a frequent thought in my head. Posted by geri on March 7, at 8: I learned to expand my network by doing a couple of small, free assignments for someone who was starting a very interesting company.

Posted by Jim B on March 7, at 9: Posted by Craig on March 7, at I LOVE the idea of launching a project. Your gap-time is a precious opportunity to grow yourself beyond your past job description.

If you have been laid off and must now address that issue with a potential hiring manager, be real about it. Keep your head held high. Posted by Martha Finney on March 8, at Excellent post, especially like the mention that job hunting for 8 hours a day will make you go nuts. When I talk with candidates it is good to hear that they have pursued other interests while unemployed and your idea of volunteering time to prevent gaps in your resume is excellent advice.

I had a candidate that who spent his time off getting scuba certification and being a scuba instructor; which he put on his resume. I applauded him for being active but then suggested that he balance his time between personal passions and maintaining marketable skills in his chosen industry.

Posted by Jeffrey on March 8, at 9: Posted by Annie Pazoo on March 8, at This is a fantastic post. I also highly recommend Toastmasters as a place to develop professional public speaking skills in a warm and supportive setting for an extremely reasonable price. Posted by Alexandra on March 8, at Excellent post — the part about working at a part-time job for no pay was particularly good. I never thought about it, but having something to fill in that gap with will definitely set you aside from the other applicants. Volunteering can do a similar job. After I got laid off, I found that http: Most of the sites online cater to either job hunting or hard-core networking, but this is the only one designed as a place for unemployed people to go to figure out what to do with themselves during the unemployment time.

Posted by Andrew on March 9, at 1: Thanks for the boost in confidence! I love swing dancing! To avoid that last outcome, it's important to keep a positive frame of mind, after you recover from the initial shock of unemployment. It's also important to acknowledge and grieve job loss as a major life trauma, especially if you've invested years in a company. But it's crucial to look at things rationally and begin to make a new career plan. Doing some form of physical exercise is a great way to channel your emotions. If you know a layoff is coming, do your best to prepare. Think about future work opportunities within and outside your current field.

What's the growing industry in your area — do you have related skills or can you develop them? Don't wait until you're laid off to connect and network with potential links to your next job, and make sure to investigate the myriad approaches to job searches.


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Also examine your bills and spending habits. Find ways to cut back and pay off as many debts as possible. If your children are grown and gone, consider downsizing and spending less on rent or mortgage. This may free up money to help with current expenses or future needs. There's no "easy" button or guaranteed formula for recovering from job loss.

Dealing with job loss, or planning for the possibility, calls for staying calm and focused while maintaining true grit and determination. These are critical factors for weathering the current tide of unemployment. Be sure to get the support that you need to get through this challenging time. Members get exclusive discounts and assistance from travel agents. You are leaving AARP. Please return to AARP.

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