What Should You Do if You're Laid Off?

Today, the need for job assistance is greater than ever, as the unemployment rate continues to rise. It doesn’t matter who you are - this recession knows no boundaries in terms of education, skill level, training - or even years on the job. So, what do you do if you’re laid off, or your hours at work get cut? Here are some tips we found at CNN.com.

  • Apply for unemployment benefits. According to finance expert Clark Howard, this is the first thing you need to do. There’s nothing shameful about it. Employers pay premiums during the good years to provide for those who get laid off when times are tough. It’s not beneath you to accept these benefits.
  • Examine your bills. You need to know which debts to prioritize and which to neglect if your money runs out. For example, Howard says making your car payment should be at the top of your list, since it’s crucial to getting you to job interviews. Yes, it ranks higher than paying your mortgage or rent. In fact, you might want to consider living with friends or family until you can get back on your feet. What shouldn't you prioritize paying? Credit cards. Yes, this can hurt your credit, but if you’re in a situation where there’s no money coming in and you have to decide between paying the rent and putting food on the table, chances are your credit is already damaged.
  • Howard says once you get organized financially, it’s time to job hunt. Keep in mind that looking for work is a full-time task, and you need an action plan. Start by reviewing your list of contacts. Now, you don’t want to call and ASK for a job – that often makes people feel awkward. However, they do love to give advice that might lead to a job opportunity. Also, Howard is a big believer in networking. He says there’s a new organization called Laid Off Camp that’s like a free day camp for the underemployed. It’s a website where people can share ideas and learn from each other and you never know whom you might meet.

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