What to Do If You Lose Your Job

I need to talk to you about what to do if you lose your job during this time.  Many people are being laid off or terminated, which is something they have never experienced before, so they are not sure what to do. I hope this helps you if you have lost your job.

The first thing you do if you lose your job is to apply for your unemployment benefits. You must apply as soon as possible.   In Alabama, there are currently only two ways to apply for unemployment benefits. The quickest way is online at https://www.labor.alabama.gov/ at the top of the website click on unemployment; a drop-down menu will have File a New Claim.  Click on File a New Claim and follow the directions all the way through and make sure you get a confirmation at the end.  You may not mean that you get your benefits immediately; the Alabama Department of Labor is processing a lot of unemployment claims.  But what it means is your benefits start on the date that you apply.  Even if it takes you a few weeks to get the checks started, it will pay you back to the time when you applied.  The second way to apply is by telephone, and that number is 1-866-376-8255, you may have to wait a while, but they will let you on the system eventually.

Check Your Cash Flow
If you lose your job, you need to do is take stock of your financial situation.  Many people do not realize how much money is coming out is their bank accounts through automatic withdrawals for different items. It can be anything from a gym membership, which you should not be charged for right now since gyms are closed. It can be a monthly subscription service for things that you do not need.  Another area is Amazon subscriptions for services that you may not even use.

What I tell people is to look at their last three months of bank statements to see what charges are being charged. You need to call those companies and have them stop the charges.  I suggest that you request an email with confirmation that the charges are stopped.  I suggest another step to be taken; I recommend that you take your statements to your bank with the highlighted charges you do not want to have charged again and tell them you want to stop payment on those charges you wish not to be processed.  I recommend taking this because what happens is companies will continue to charge you after they tell you they will not,  It is easy for the companies to charge your account and you spend time trying to get it stopped when if you stop the payments at the bank, it stops.   I recommend not to talk to your bank on the phone, see a live person at the bank, even if you go through the drive-through and hand it to them and discuss it. But take the time to make sure that this is handled.

Credit Card
Another area to review is your credit cards. Many credit card companies have forbearance programs during this period.  This article explains what a credit card forbearance program is and is not; after finishing this post, take a minute to read it.  Before contacting your credit card company take a few minutes to go to their website and see if they have a forbearance program.

A word of warning usually, if you are put into a forbearance program, the credit card company will shut down your credit, so you will not have access to the money or the credit line on that credit card. You need to be very aware of that possibility before you apply to be in a credit card’s forbearance program.

Rent and Mortgage Payments
If you find yourself in this situation, you need to look at your lease or mortgage and see if you can cut your expenses in this area.  If you rent, talk to your landlord to come up with a plan to pay a little less and to catch up on the difference when you get your job back.  In another post, we address the Governor’s Protection from Eviction and Foreclosure Proclamation, take time to read it.

Looking for Opportunities

“The Ask”
Let’s talk about is who you know and how they can help you with your job search.  The #1 thing you need to remember is most people want to help.  There are not be a lot of companies hiring people right now. I recommend you start by your grab to get a yellow pad and go through your contact list writing down people and what industries and companies they have connections to companies that may have jobs you want. I think you’ll be surprised about who you have in your contact list and the relationships they have.

The most important part of this exercise is to contact the people in your contact list and ask them a specific request on how they can help you connect with a person or company.  Too many times, people do not make a specific request when talking to their contacts about assisting them.  The thing to remember is that most people want to help, but they do not know how.  You need to give them specific things they can do to help.  In the political world, it is called the “Ask”  In meetings in Washington D.C. with congressional or senate staffers and you go on too long, they will say, “What is the Ask?” That is what you need to keep in mind when contacting people asking for help in your job search, what is my “Ask” for this person.  It will help you and help that person to get the satisfaction of knowing how they can help you.

Associations/Civic Groups
Important sources of contacts for job opportunities are industry associations or civic group you are a member of.  Call any association that you are a member of and see if they have an available position list.  If you went to the monthly meeting, continue to go if you have not, then start going and get active in the association.  If you are a member of a community or civic group, keep active in that group, maybe start working to increase membership in your group, that is a great way to meet new business people in your community.  You never know who you’ll meet, get your business card printed, put your cell phone number, your address, and your email address on the card.  Have your business card available to hand out people and start following up with people. We found people appreciate a handwritten note more than an email. It’s very easy to delete an email. You rarely get a small note card from someone, and even if it’s from a salesman trying to sell you something, you pay more attention to it.  So, start writing notes to people you meet.

Off-Resume Skills
We all have skills that are not on our resume or were acquired as we progressed through our jobs or positions; we develop skills that are not listed on resumes.  Many companies are looking for specific skills that are not reflected in the typical resume.  Examples would be the training of employees on safety or sexual harassment, being in charge of a company’s compliance with a governmental agency’s regulations.

The other thing area to look for off resume skills is your hobbies and outside activities. You need to take a look at the skills you have developed in pursuing your hobbies.  If you are a woodworker, there are opportunities in specialty and DIY stores because the stores want people who are knowledgeable about woodworking to help their customers. These are skills that you can look at and see if they help you get a job. The key is if you are looking for a job, don’t just look for the 40-hour job a week job, but consider jobs that are temporary positions until you find a permanent job, or a contract position that is for a specific task or time period You can always work those contracts until you find that 40-hour a week job,

Routine/Daily Habits
I want to talk about is your daily habits. We are creatures of habit. We all have routines, or the majority of us have some form of routine. You need to maintain that routine. You need to get up the same time; you need to take a shower, shave, and get out there.  You need to have a schedule to complement that routine. It doesn’t mean a minute-by-minute schedule but a schedule of tasks you are going to do that day.

Why should you have a routine and a schedule? It gives you a kind of purpose. It allows you to track what you’re doing and will enable you to break up your day.  An example is if you are working on sending out resumes, you do that for 30 minutes, and then you go and do something else for 30 minutes and come back and finish up the resumes.  By breaking up the task in 30 minutes or hour sections allows you to stay fresh and focused,

You must get out there, remember you are now a salesperson. You’ are selling your skills, your knowledge, and your experience, and you’re the only one that really knows all the skills that you can provide.  Take time to develop a sales pitch that covers who you are and what you have to offer before you start just going out and asking people to hire you.

Be safe. Keep your family safe. Thank you.

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