The following is a guest post from Martin of Studenomics, where he tries to make personal finance fun since you have enough to stress about. You can click here to check out the wide range of content on everything from student loans to getting paid to drink coffee.
“I got fired. I’m screwed. I have nobody here to help me.”
I’ve received a message like this a few too many times during this pandemic. I feel terrible for everyone who has lost a job lately. I wish I could just hire everyone and give them a fulfilling job. Sadly, I can’t. I can try to help though when it comes to finding new work.
What should you do if you just lost your job during this confusing time?
I absolutely hate hearing that a good person has lost their job through no fault of their own. This world has turned upside down and job stability is out the window. Loyal employees have been let go with no notice. That job that you planned on working until you were 65 doesn’t even exist anymore. You could be let go despite doing everything right and being a dedicated employee.
I wanted to write something for everyone going through job loss. Keep on reading if you’ve recently lost your job and aren’t sure of what to do next…
What Do You Do When You Lose Your Job During a Pandemic?
Step 1: It’s okay to go through a whirlwind of emotions.
You’re going to be confused, sad, angry, frustrated, and annoyed.
It’s okay to go through this. Scratch that, you should go through this.
The news is filled with terrible updates that make it difficult to even sleep at night. You worry about the health of your family. Now you have to deal with losing your income.
Go through all of the emotions. Talk to your family and friends. Get your frustrations out. Go for a long walk. Have a long talk with a relative. Cry and shout if you have to.
Here’s a list of free and affordable Mental Health Resources & Crisis Support, if you need it.
Step 2: Apply for financial assistance that you qualify for.
Do you qualify for any assistance? What aid is available for your situation?
Here are some options to consider:
- Should you apply for EI?
- Can you defer your mortgage payments?
- Can you defer any payments?
- Can you cut any expenses out to help save some money?
- Can you get a discount on anything?
You have to find out what you can do to access cash or to delay spending money. You’re going to have to cut to see what you can do to save a few bucks.
The goal is to take advantage of any financial assistance that’s available to you while you cut your expenses to the bone. This won’t be fun. Your goal will be survival for now.
Step 3: Reach out to your network.
“I’ve come to believe that connecting is one of the most important business—and life—skill sets you’ll ever learn. Why? Because, flat out, people do business with people they know and like. Careers—in every imaginable field – work the same.” — Keith Ferrazzi
It’s time to swallow your pride and to reach out to your network. You never know what opportunities are available out there for someone with your skillset at this present moment.
For many of us, this will be the first time that we have to reach out for help. It’s understandable if you’re feeling nervous about this, but you really have to remember that you didn’t expect any of this to happen. Everyone will understand because these are unprecedented times that we’re living in.
How do you reach out to your network?
- Tell the truth. Let your friends know that you’re looking for work.
- See if anyone has any leads. You never know who can have a lead.
- Offer to help. Do you have anything to offer? Can you try to be helpful in any area?
Where do you reach out to your network?
- You can always start with Facebook since most of your friends are on there.
- Then I would text around to see if anyone has any leads or any ideas.
- Finally, it’s time to spruce up that LinkedIn profile. There are many resources available on best practices for LinkedIn.
This would also be the ideal time to work on that resume. You may not have worked on it in ages. Luckily, there are many free tools online that will help you out.
It’s also important that you don’t get discouraged if you don’t find any leads on the first day. You never know when something will pop up for you.
Did you know that your resume has an average of only 6 seconds to make it into the “yes” pile? Make sure it will pass the resume glace test with this free checklist!
Check out this article for even more “how-to” support: How to Get Your Resume Past the 6 Second Glance Test
Step 4: Find a way to bring in some money quickly.
As you figure out what to do next, you have to find ways to bring in money quickly to help you pay the bills and stay afloat.
What can you do here for quick money?
- Sell your stuff. Do you have items that you can put on Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji? You’d be surprised by what people are willing to buy these days.
- Look into freelance work. Can you look into piece work for now?
- Try odd jobs. Some companies are hiring seasonal staff to meet demand.
- Apply for a part-time gig. Could you work somewhere part-time just to keep your routine?
- Cut out unnecessary expenses. Are there any expenses that you can cut out for now?
The goal is to build a cash reserve to survive the lean times if you don’t find a job right away. You may find yourself working a job that you’re overqualified for or something that’s not in your field. You have to remember that this is temporary.
Step 5: Apply for jobs.
As we mentioned earlier, you should reach out to your network to see if anyone has any leads.
After you’ve reached out to everyone and tried to tap into existing options, it’s time to go looking for jobs through job boards and whatever else you’re able to think of.
This is the last step because I want you to tap into your established network first. It’s also more of a common-sense reminder that the best thing to do is to look for a new source of income.
Related Articled: 10 Tips for Getting Rehired After the Lockdown Ends
Bonus step: Try something different.
This freedom is what you likely always wanted. Sure, it came at a cost and you weren’t expecting to lose your job. This is a chance to take on some risks and to try something different out.
What are some ideas here?
- Work on that weird business idea. It’s 2020 so nothing is too strange. Give that crazy idea a shot. There are many quarantine success stories coming out of new business ideas that took off.
- Go on that road trip that you’ve been putting off. Is there anything that you badly want to do now?
- Apply for that job across the country. You might need a change of scenery.
- Get in touch with family and friends. Many of us have lost touch over the years. This would be the ideal time to try to get back in contact.
Don’t be afraid to embrace the uncertainty as you slowly figure out what’s next. You may find yourself on a completely different journey and that’s okay.
What Did My Friends on Twitter Have to Say About This Situation?
I reached out to Twitter to see what others had to say about dealing with a job loss during a global pandemic:
1. Announce it to your network.
2. Ask for advice of how to gain new knowledge about a specific topic
3. Update your CV with relevant information and determine what you want to do
4. Communicate to others.
5. Identify volunteer work that complements your work.
6. Don’t give up.
I’d start by using the downtime to improve my skills or certifications. Anything to stand out from the crowd.
First, have a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting at the kitchen table. Write down the income possibilities (unemployment, etc) and the savings on hand. Then the essentials (rent and food). Then resources (where can you go for support) then an action plan: contact creditors, landlord.
1. File/apply for every assistance they are eligible for.
2. Tell EVERYONE that they are looking for a job (most people I know got jobs through word of mouth).
3. All the other stuff: update resume, LinkedIn, etc.
The good news is that there’s plenty of help available out there so that you don’t have to feel alone if this is your first time going through a job loss.
YOUR TURN: What advice do you have to offer someone who just lost a job during this global pandemic?
Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.