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8 Tips for Effectively Getting Through Job Loss

Author: Don Bowman
Publish Date: 
July 6, 2014

The unemployment rate in the U.S. is currently 7%, but if you're one of the ones out of a job, you probably don't care what the percentage is. What you care about is how you'll pay your bills until you can get back on the payroll again. While you're probably in for a few major changes, you can get through this tough time unscathed. Here are eight tips to survive unemployment.

If you're out of work, you absolutely must set a budget. Use an Internet resource, such as Mint, or write your budget out on paper. Take a hard look at your savings and decide how much you can afford to spend, then decide which of your ongoing expenses you can reduce or eliminate. For instance, drop your home telephone service and change to the least expensive smartphone plan.

Then focus on prioritizing your bills. Housing, home energy, food, and water are absolute necessities, but your other bills might have to wait.

If you think you're going to fall behind on your credit card payments, contact each company and let them know you've lost your job. Some cards have hardship programs for individuals who are going through a personal crisis. The same goes for mortgage companies - if you find yourself out of a job for an extended period of time and you don't think you'll be able to keep up with your payment, don't hesitate to ask your lien holder for assistance.

Without money coming in, you simply can't afford to spend anything extra on yourself.

New clothes and electronic upgrades can wait, and gourmet coffees and nights out can be delayed. Watch TV movies and break out the board games for a night of entertainment with friends. You'll have more than enough time to get out and about once you have a steady paycheck again.

It may hurt to postpone retirement savings, but it's not sensible to set aside money for your future when your present bills are suffering. If you have automatic contributions set up for your 401k or IRA, put a temporary hold on them, starting them again after you find work.

As soon as you lose your job, head to the unemployment office. It doesn't matter if you think you'll be out of work for five minutes or five months, you want to get the ball rolling.

Checks aren't issued overnight, and since you really don't know when you'll land your next job, the sooner you can receive payment, the better.

Instead of looking for a new position strictly in your niche, expand your job search to improve your chances.

Many companies look positively on anyone with a bachelor's degree, so start exploring other industries. Make sure your qualifications match the job description for which you're applying, even if it's in a different field - management skills are highly transferable - and tailor your resume for each position.

Not everyone agrees with this one, but I feel if a local retailer or restaurant is hiring, dial them up. If a nearby home improvement center needs a customer service rep, go ahead and apply.

Don't wait for your money to run out - check your ego at the door and accept any position you can get your hands on.

Instead of wallowing at home on the couch feeling sorry for yourself, use your free time to generate extra income.

Fill out Internet surveys for cash, or start selling some of your stuff on eBay. You could even start a small landscaping or sewing business. Assess your skills and parlay them into income any way you can.

If you're Internet savvy and have a high-speed connection, check out the LeapForce website. It hires independent agents to conduct online research with pay starting at about $13 per hour.

Once you get a new job offer, your work still isn't done. You have to negotiate to make sure you're paid fairly and can catch up after falling behind. And Salary.com can help you get paid fairly what you do.

The first thing you should do is research, so you're able to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what your job is worth. Use our free Salary Wizard below to find out what's a fair salary for your position. You can enter your location, education level, years of experience and more to find out an appropriate salary range before you negotiate.

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