Think twice before quitting your job without a plan. Beyond the financial expense, unemployment can have a mental and emotional toll that makes your job search less productive. There's no way to predict exactly how long you're going to be unemployed. Make sure you have an accurate picture of the cost of being between jobs, so you can take steps to prepare for this potentially stressful experience.
Set a Target Timeline
A wealth of factors determine how long it takes to find a job, including the state of the local economy, your qualifications and the competitiveness of your industry. Companies often take several months to fill higher-level positions, which may further draw out your job search. Career and HR expert Alison Doyle advises job seekers to expect one month of job hunting for every $10,000 of their anticipated salary.
Although you could land a good position much sooner, setting realistic expectations from the start makes it easier to stay positive when unemployment drags on. Use your projections to create a job search schedule and set goals. Tracking your activity helps you hold yourself accountable and avoid procrastination.
Strengthen Your Finances
Think about ways to tighten your budget in advance. Small changes, such as cutting back on subscriptions or making your own lunch, are useful for building up your savings. Look into credit insurance programs that may be offered by credit card companies, so you can pause payments temporarily while your income is reduced. If you believe it's necessary to resign from your job on short notice, consider applying for part-time or seasonal positions. Having regular income can keep your spirits up while you job search.
Are you expecting to be laid off or fired? Find out whether you qualify for unemployment benefits and prepare all the necessary paperwork. That way, you're ready to file as soon as you lose your job and can start collecting unemployment benefits quickly.
Focus on Personal Wellness and Growth
Taking care of your personal health and well-being should be your top priority. The frustration and stigma of being unemployed can destroy your motivation, change your personality and hinder your efforts to find a new role. A Gallup study reported that one in five people unemployed for a year say they are receiving treatment for depression. The study also found that optimism about finding a new job often decreases the longer a person remains unemployed.
Instead of retreating from friends and family, seek social support and look for opportunities to use your talents. Share your job search goals with others, so they can offer referrals or introduce you to people with influence. You should also spend time learning new skills and engaging in hobbies that boost your self-confidence. Activities such as volunteering could lead you to your next job and expose you to a broader range of career options that match your skill set.
While unemployment is rarely a cakewalk, coming up with a coping strategy improves your chances of finding the right job. The more you relieve stress and fear, the easier it is to avoid making impulsive decisions in your job search out of anxiety. What advice do you have for other job seekers facing unemployment? What steps did you take to land a new role?
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