First Five Things To Do When You're Unemployed

unemploymentSo, you're newly unemployed. You're freaked out and nervous and have no idea what's going to come next. How are you going to survive?

Here are the first five things you should do after a layoff to keep yourself on track.


1. Take a Deep Breath

I'm serious about this one. It's the most important step. Sure, you've lost your job and you have no way of knowing what will happen next. The best thing you can do is stay calm, take a deep breath, and don't let anxiety take over. And every time you start to stress out about your lack of work, pause and take another deep breath. Remind yourself that it's going to be OK. Because it is. I promise.


2. Apply For Unemployment

In most states you can apply for unemployment online. Use this online map at the U.S. Department of Labor to find your location and apply.

When you apply for unemployment, you are going to need a few things, so make sure to gather them before you start the application process. Generally you'll need your W-2 from the last tax season, your dates of hire and layoff, and often a state drivers license/ID number. Some states offer direct deposit, so make sure to have your bank info ready as well.


3. Make A Budget

Seriously. Your income is a lot smaller now and your expenses are certainly not. Gather all your bills and your most recent bank statement and make a budget. Figure out how much you spend on the basics-rent/mortgage, utilities, food, gas, etc.-and see how it adds up according to your new, lower take-home.

This is the time to figure out where you can cut expenses (entertainment, dining out, and cable/satellite TV are usually the first places you should look to cut) and to really think about what you absolutely must have.

While you're at it, put those credit cards in a drawer. Keep them around in case of an emergency, but don't carry them in your wallet. They are begging you to spend money you don't have.


4. Make A Schedule

And stick to it. It's too easy to let the day slip by, drinking coffee and watching daytime TV, when you don't have to be at work. Don't let that be your everyday. To avoid depression during these long, unemployed days, keep a schedule, just like you would if you went to the office. Make time for exercising, checking e-mails, applying for jobs, and running errands.

Leave some time for fun. Take advantage of the finer things your city has to offer-go to museums and galleries, head to the park or the beach on a weekday-and enjoy all those hobbies you didn't have time for when you were working. You'll have a job before you know it and wonder why you didn't.


5. Revamp Your Resume

Since you were just laid off, you probably haven't taken a good, hard look at your résumé in a while. Make sure that the new version of your resume is filled with actions and accomplishments from your past jobs. It's more important to highlight what you actually accomplished than a laundry list of your day-to-day responsibilities.

Many communities offer resume help, free of charge. Your state unemployment office should have a listing of all these resources.

Just remember. Take a deep breath. It's going to be just fine.

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22 Comments

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david

Suicidal?

January 24 2010 at 12:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tim

Listen up for those unemployed and looking for a job. My cousin works for a well known survey group in Atlanta. Their latest prediction for unemployment in the southeast is to reach between 12 and 14% by the third quarter 2010.According to him the recession is still in decline for most business sectors,general outlook is very poor for baby boomers seeking to obtain a respectful paying job to catch up with lost investments during 08 and 09. (Very Rough Roads Ahead)

January 20 2010 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
james

what can we do to make this country great again? work for a solution, everybody has the power to transform there live's, by using the power of there mind's, and where we been, and where we are now,it can be done, by working together!!

January 19 2010 at 10:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tennisracket53

I would add to the list: return to school to retrain yourself. That's what I'm doing after being unemployed and looking for over a year.

January 16 2010 at 3:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom Cole

1. Go after the owner
2. Go after the owner
3. Go after the owner
4. Go after the owner
5. Go after the owner
6. ...Oh, go after the owner

January 16 2010 at 2:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brinda

I have worked in sales for 8 years, have never been fired in my life unfortunately I was shocked when I was terminated one day after Thanksgiving..applying for unemployment is easy, except for the fact when your fired the odds of getting benefits are slim as it was for me...no job, no income, now I can understand why there are so many educated homeless people..

January 16 2010 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Brinda's comment
Grace Newman

Hi Brenda read your post and am in Ohio. A friend recently got fired so they do not give unemployment if you are fired?
Thanks
Grace

January 23 2010 at 8:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JustK

al steiner hit the nail on the head. not only do you have to seek help from people in india, they are barely able to speak the language.... but hey! they are cheap labor and the people that employ them, already have your money, so who cares???

January 16 2010 at 12:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
al steiner

This week I had problems with an HP printer and an American Express card. I called customer service and spoke with call centres based in India.
How many other American companies are using call centres based in other countries? How many other American companies are contemplating the same move for cheap labor costs?
Is there any wonder unemployment here is so high and growing, not shrinking...!!!

January 16 2010 at 10:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to al steiner's comment
ww

The economy is so bad that . . .

I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

I ordered a burger at McDonald's and the kid behind the counter asked, "Can you afford fries with that?"

CEO's are now playing miniature golf.

If the bank returns your check marked "Insufficient Funds," you call them and ask if they meant you or them.

Hot Wheels and Matchbox stocks are trading higher than GM.

McDonald's is selling the 1/4 ouncer.

Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children's names.

A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico .

Dick Cheney took his stockbroker hunting.

Motel Six won't leave the light on anymore.

The Mafia is laying off judges.

Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

Congress says they are looking into this Bernard Madoff scandal. Oh Great!! The guy who made $50 Billion disappear is being investigated by the people who made $1.5 Trillion disappear!

And, finally....

I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc., I called the Suicide Lifeline. I got a call center in Pakistan , and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck.

January 16 2010 at 11:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pat

Does anyone recall during the elections that the President would tax companies that send jobs overseas. Yes the good high paying jobs, in IT and customer services, that are now being done in India and else where! So when are the companies bring these jobs back - it was part of the change we were told !

January 16 2010 at 2:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vickie

You think it will be ok? Really? I've been unemployed for a year. Moved from MI. right after lay off, thank God! But, we have been struggeling since. When every week we have to decide, do we buy propane and keep heat in the house, buy our meds for blood pressure or groceries....we have had a vehicle repossesed, we have had phone service shut off. We are slowly drowning. And we are some of the lucky ones that don't have kids. We have nothing of value to pawn or sell. We don't eat out, we don't drive anywhere because we can't use my husbands company prvided car for off time. Yes, it's gonna be okay, you promise. Do you think you could pay some of my bills so I can sleep at night again?

January 16 2010 at 10:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Anti - V

The five things you should do are this : Get drunk, get laid, get high, get sleep, and get another job.

January 16 2010 at 10:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Anti - V's comment
Matt

Awesome!!!

January 16 2010 at 2:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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