12 Important Things to Do When You Lose Your Job

Losing your job is one of the most difficult things a professional could face in their career — especially when it's completely unexpected. Being unemployed can be a difficult chapter of your life, and figuring out what to do can be overwhelming. Here are 12 things to do if you lose your job to stay financially and mentally sound.

1. Get your feelings out - go ahead. Go home and cry, feel sorry for yourself, throw your basketball against a brick wall. Go ahead and get the feelings out -but don't wallow in them. Allow yourself the time and space to feel your feelings, but do it once, do it completely, and move on.

2. Update your resume to include your recent work experience. Focus on the tasks you performed and the results you achieved. If you have numerical data to back up your results, include it. Also, go back through the other positions listed on your resume, and make sure you have done a thorough job of highlighting the experience you gained at those positions. Of course, be sure to watch out for typos and grammatical errors.

3. Let others know what's going on. Don't be afraid to share your dilemma and use your family and friends as a support network - make a few dinner dates at other's homes, and give and get as many hugs as you need. This is not a time to try and tough things out alone - and you may get some valuable advice where you least expect it.

4. Shape up your budget. Start to live more frugally - but don't panic and stockpile food or attempt to pay off all your debt at once. Just be cautious and start to pay attention to what you spend.

5. Apply for unemployment benefits online and work hard on sticking to a budget; your state jobless benefits will be less than your take-home paycheck has been.

6. Clean up your social media profiles. Look through your social media profiles to see if they are employer-friendly. Check to make sure you haven’t been tagged in any inappropriate photos or status updates, and look at your wall to ensure your friends haven’t left any unseemly comments on your page. You can always set your profile to private just to be safe.

7. Find a list of job hunting support groups in your area. You'll learn a lot about the local job market, find out about free places to upgrade your skills and resume, and get job-hunting tips from your peers.

8. Start looking for a new job as quickly as possible - it will keep you busy and give you the most options in the long run. You'll also get much-needed interview practice that will help put you in the pipeline.

9. Network where ever you can - church, clubs, family gatherings, job fairs - don't be so desperate that people shy away from you, but do mention what kind of job you are interested and your skills and interests. You never know where a lead will come from.

10. Keep a routine by getting up every day at the same time, getting dressed, and scouring your usual sources for job leads. Keep your job hunt focused and target your applications carefully. Remember: job hunting IS a job when you're serious about your career, and the next door you open will be worth it.

11. Volunteer your time to keep your skills fresh. There are so many charities in need of donated skills - if you're feeling down, get out there and help. It's also something you can add to your resume and may be another source for networking and developing job leads.

12. Learn new skills. Make yourself more marketable to potential employers by adding a few new skills to your resume. Attend a seminar on social media marketing. Take a programming course at your local community college. Or read some books to become more educated in a field that interests you. Employers are looking for potential employees who regularly update their skill sets, so by adding a new skill or two, you will improve your chances of getting hired.
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