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Tips To Help You Get Through a Period of Unemployment

Updated on August 2, 2020
lifelovemystery profile image

Entrepreneur, writer, mom, and experienced digital marketing professional.

The Fear of Being Unemployed

The first piece of advice I would offer is "don't panic".

If you have been with a company for a few years, you probably received a 'parting gift' in the form of vacation pay, and possibly other short-term benefits.

Two weeks of vacation pay doesn't go very far when you have two weeks left in the month, and bills waiting to be paid.

Review Your Budget and Eliminate Non-Essential Items

There are effective ways to reduce your bills by eliminating wants, and keeping needs. You don't need cable, Starbucks coffee, or Netflix.

However, you will continue to require groceries, gas money, rent/mortgage, and other necessities.

The first thing you should do is review your monthly budget and immediately cut entertainment, travel, and other non-essentials. You might be able to free up several hundred dollars each month, and that will keep you solvent.

Don't Panic.

There Are Many Things You Cannot Control During a Period of Unemployment

If you are unemployed for a significant period of time, you may have moments of despair. You may experience one frustrating day after another and wonder when and if anyone will ever hire you again. You will wonder if the last job on your resume was a curse instead of an opportunity. If you loved your job and the company of your coworkers, you may experience heartache at losing something you enjoyed doing every day.

It's Easy to Get Overwhelmed. Don't.

Show Off Your Personality and Expertise

I was overwhelmed at first, but I really don't spend much time dwelling on the past. I focus on the future, and that is what you need to do as well.

You Do You. Get Creative

If you don't have a website, buy the name domain (your first and last name), and build a website. Link your finished site to your LinkedIn profile, and all your social media accounts. A website is an inexpensive and effective marketing tool. You can add a blog, a creative portfolio and other content that is relevant to your expertise.

My Professional Website

I bought the domain from GoDaddy and created a personal website to highlight my marketing experience. The amount of traffic varies each month, but it's an easy way for recruiters, headhunters, and staffing agencies to locate me through a keyword search. I refresh my website, and my resume at least once per year, and my resume can be downloaded with one click.

Gaps in Your Resume

Periods of unemployment tend to create gaps in your resume. It is important to let recruiters and hiring managers know what you did during this time, and how you learned new skills that you can put to use right away in a new role. You can also demonstrate how you contributed to an organization or started your own business.

Being unemployed should be a time that stretches you in ways that allow you to be creative and to explore new opportunities and technologies.

Don't let time pass you by while waiting to land your next role.

Join Networking and Career Search Groups

It's important that your friends, colleagues, and family know that you are in between jobs. Shake off the pride and let them help you connect with people in your profession.

This is a time to put yourself ‘out there’ and explore new groups. Most cities have networking groups that are set up by industry or profession. In Dallas, I attended meetings through CareerConnection and know that Dallas has many more groups as well.

I am aware of another Jobs Ministry through a church in Houston. Both of these organizations have helped place tens of thousands of people into jobs.

The people that attend these group meetings come from all industries and backgrounds. They may know people at a company you are targeting for a new job. Get to know these people, and definitely connect with them on Linkedin.

These networking groups can help you update your resume, practice interviewing and expand your current network.

If you live in an area without that type of resource, check out this article about optimizing your resume with keywords.

Reach Out to Recruiters

Linkedin is a terrific website for connecting with professionals in your industry, searching for jobs and catching up on the latest industry news. One of the benefits of this site is that the name of the recruiter is often listed in the job posting. You can apply for a job of interest and connect with the recruiter at the same time. I strongly suggest that you include a personalized cover letter when you apply for the job, addressed to the recruiter.

You can also Follow a company on Linkedin to see when new jobs are posted, check out new hires, see if there are changes to the management structure and stay up to date with new partnerships. You can also join Groups that will connect you with people in your industry. Many groups have recruiters because they are looking for people in their industry. This is an easy way to connect with them!

Applicant Trashing Systems and Cover Letter

The Odds Are Not in Your Favor

You are probably the perfect candidate for many roles. However, many Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are so poorly designed that very few submitted job applications actually make it through 'the system.' Even fewer resumes and cover letters that do survive the process actually get seen by anyone in Human Resources.

Network Your Way Into a Company

Many companies require 30-60 minutes to completing their online forms. Nearly all ATS tools require that you tick a box for gender, race, veteran status and criminal record.

Former employees tend to be brutally hones about a company's leadership, training opportunities, restrictions, culture, and travel. Research company reviews through Glassdoor and you'll learn there is a common theme to reviews.

Check out the company profile on LinkedIn and look for the HR Manager, Recruiter, or potential Hiring Manager for the role you want to apply. Reach out to one or two of those employees and use your cover letter to network your way into the company.

Breaking up the madness

How do you handle 'cabin fever'?

See results

Change Your Daily Routine

Although you need emotional support and encouragement, you can’t allow yourself to get stuck in the doldrums. I make it a point to leave my house once a day. At the time, gas was $3.50 per gallon and I drive a full-size SUV, so I didn't go very far. Visit a local park, go for a walk, take random pictures while you’re out, then blog about it.

On a walk along a greenbelt, I discovered a mother duck with more than a dozen ducklings. I took pictures of the little family each week and created a photo blog which turned out pretty cute. I continued to take pictures over the next few months and watching those ducks became part of my daily routine.

I learned that baby ducks have a low survival rate because there are so many predators. The little duck family was very quickly down to two ducklings as they were consumed by other animals. This is not a comparison to working for someone else, it's just something I learned through observation.

Take time to breathe

I took this photo in Farmers Branch, Texas.
I took this photo in Farmers Branch, Texas. | Source

Play with your pet

My son's dog, destroying a new toy.
My son's dog, destroying a new toy. | Source

Appreciate Funny Moments

My son gave five years of service to the Marine Corps and came home to roost that summer. His goal was to attend college full time and I was psyched! My son has a Big Heart and he really wanted a dog. Me....not so much. We visited several animal shelters and came home with a two-year old hound mix. My son named him Remmy, short for Remington.

Remmy loves toys and can remove a squeaker from a new toy in less than two minutes. I was always amused by this and one took pictures of him with a new toy. The photographs ended up telling a very funny story which I also blogged about and named, The Scene of the Crime. It got me out of the house. It gave me some creative time and I still laugh every time I read the story.

Focus on Your Craft

I had always wanted to learn how to make jewelry but didn’t have any skills. I bought a couple of books at Barnes & Noble, and then purchased some equipment so that I could start a basic jewelry line. The problem with this little hobby is the cost of precious metals. A sheet of silver is not always budget friendly.

You can always start a hobby that you have been putting off. Blogging is an easy hobby. It doesn’t cost anything, doesn’t take up any room, and it allows you to express your creative or technical side. There are so many blogs about cooking, parenting, gardening, do-it-yourself projects but none with your particular level of passion or expertise.

You can make passive income from blogging through pay-per-click ads. I created this profile on Hubpages and although I don't spend much time on it, the blog does bring in some revenue.

I Learned Metalsmithing Skills While I Was Unemployed

I made this gift for a friend that moved to Illinois.
I made this gift for a friend that moved to Illinois.

Going Back to Work After a Period of Unemployment

The Next Opportunity

I was unemployed for eight very long months before I received my next job offer. During that time I managed to pay all my bills, learn new skills, and I kept a pretty good outlook.

I was contacted by a staffing agency about the role. Then I has a phone interview with the hiring manager, and I was brought into a new role for CRM Marketing for a retail company. I was so excited about the opportunity, and used it to learn new skills that would expand my professional experience.

Stretch Yourself During Unemployment

Periods of unemployment tend to create gaps in your resume. It is important to let recruiters and hiring managers know what you did during this time, and how you learned new skills that you can put to use right away in a new role. You can also demonstrate how you contributed to an organization or started your own business.

Being unemployed should be a time that stretches you in ways that allow you to be creative and to explore new opportunities and technologies.

Don't let time pass you by while waiting to land your next role.

© 2012 Michelle Orelup

Comments

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    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      8 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      GREAT HUB! Nice for you to worry about others!

    • lifelovemystery profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Orelup 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Thanks bearclawmedia!

    • bearclawmedia profile image

      bearclawmedia 

      8 years ago from Mining Planet Earth

      This is a thoughtful and well informed article, thanks for opting for hope in the face of bleakness. Your fan Bearclaw

    • lifelovemystery profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Orelup 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      This had been a difficult time but I want to encourage others that this trial will eventually end. Thanks for your vote and for your kind words!

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      8 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Thanks for a fine article on getting back up again, and again, and what to do when you are down. Well done! Up and useful.

    • lifelovemystery profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Orelup 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Thanks for visiting my blogs wetnosedogs! I adore your hub name!

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 

      8 years ago from Alabama

      Good luck on your new job. I enjoyed your blogs, cannot rate ducks and the dog, they are both terrific.

      Great hub.

    • lifelovemystery profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Orelup 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Thank you Judi Bee! This has been quite a struggle in a tough economy but I finally got a break.

    • lifelovemystery profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Orelup 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      That's a great point rfmoran! One if the things I did was to develop a presentation for people in my church on how to use all the features of LinkedIn. This is a great time to Pay It Forward to other people and organizations.

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judi Brown 

      8 years ago from UK

      Congratulations on your job offer! Great hub, full of motivational advice for people who find themselves unemployed.

      Voted up and useful

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran - The Write Stuff 

      8 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Excellent Hub on a very important topic. Also consider volunteering as an intern for one of the countless non-profits that need help. You may even get a title, but more important, you will have a "job" with responsibilities.

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