I try to generally keep this blog positive, upbeat and a source of inspiration for young job hunters. But it's impossible not to recognize that many people young and old are struggling out there. Yes, it's hard to find a job. And you may have lost one in the past few months.
In response, there have been a lot of articles and tips on how to survive a layoff--some useful, some just even more depressing. I found one that suggested buying a bunch of canned goods and selling your own possessions on EBay for the long, lonely, unemployed months ahead. Let's not get desperate here. Having been laid off, I wanted to put together a few strategies that I found useful.
1. Make yourself a schedule. Just because you don't have a job doesn't mean you shouldn't be organized. In fact, it's even more important know because you must be your own timekeeper, secretary, and supervisor.
2. Keep tabs on the industry you would like to go into. Follow news and updates about your desired career by reading trade publications and newsletters, following blogs and talking to people.
3. Be a shameless hustler. Send emails, make cold calls to see if you can set up informational interviews. Check out job postings every single day. Apply to jobs immediately, don't wait for the deadline. Get yourself a part-time job to bring in some extra cash (maybe babysitting or nannying, dogwalking, working in retail or hospitality). Don't be afraid to do something that falls outside of your post-secondary education and skills qualifications.
4. Save your money, but don't forget to have some free fun. Sure, you can clip coupons, pinch pennies, buy only on-sale items. But don't worry about spending a few bucks here and there. Go to a movie instead of staying in with NetFlix. Never had the time to go see a play or show, skip on a few capuccinos and buy yourself a ticket. Stop eating out, but start cooking yourself a few gourmet meals.
5. Take on more daytime activities. Do things you never had the chance to do before. I found a great modern dance class that I could never go to before because it was in the morning. I also went to museums I had never had the chance to see before. Is there somehwere you would like to volunteer? Now is your chance!
6. Do some retraining. Take courses in web design, writing, languages, car mechanics, painting. Anything that might help you to enter the job market with a competitive edge. There are lots of options for online courses so don't worry if there are no schools right in your community.
7. Take advantage of COBRA coverage and stay healthy!! No matter what the state of your wallet or bank account, do anything you can to stay healthy. Luckily, part of President Obama's stimulus package included a reduction in COBRA health insurance costs for many. See if these savings may apply to you.