Stay in control as you explore new possibilities

Take your career into a new and exciting direction

Stay in control as you explore new possibilities

Take your career into a new and exciting direction

Loss of a job

Losing a job is not a life event anyone wants to go through, but being ‘let go’ from their job is a reality for many Americans.

Being unemployed, however, could also be an opportunity to take your career in a new, exciting direction, or to pick up some new skills that will make you more marketable during your job search.

Consider taking these steps after losing your job:

  • Calm down and listen closely to your company’s human resources representative. Are you being laid off for reasons beyond your control? Or are you being terminated for a cause? It makes a huge difference when it comes to unemployment, severance, and other possible benefits.

    Especially ask what happens next with your pay, benefits, unused vacation time or sick leave, references, and outplacement. Get the answers you need so that you can effectively answer the question: ‘why you left your last job?’ Dennis Nason, CEO of Nason & Nason, an executive recruitment firm, says when asked why you left your last job, your answer should be true, concise and as positive as possible.

    Finally, don’t sign anything immediately. You need time to review any documents.

    Unemployment Toolkit
  • Head to the unemployment office to apply for unemployment compensation. If you lost your job because of no fault of your own, you may be eligible. Each state’s requirements are different.

    In Alabama, generally you must meet certain requirements. You must be able to work, available for work, willing to accept suitable work, actively seeking full-time work, and be out of work due to no fault of your own. If you voluntarily quit your job, the burden of proof is on you to show that you quit for a good work-connected reason. If you are terminated or discharged, your employer must show that you were terminated for a work-connected cause as stated in the Alabama Unemployment Compensation Law. Benefits range from $45 per week to $265 per week, calculated using your base period earnings.

    In Tennessee, you may be ineligible if you: voluntarily quit without a good work-related cause; are discharged for work-related misconduct; participate in a labor dispute other than a lockout that is in active progress; and/or fail to seek or accept suitable work.

    Know your health insurance options and understand severance pay and other benefits you may be eligible for.

    Terminating Employment and COBRA Coverage
  • Reflect on why you lost your job. Do some self-evaluation. What changes do you need to make in yourself before you move to the next organization?

    Was your work performance below par? Did you add value to your company? Or were you laid off because the company fell on hard times and cutbacks were made?

    If it was because of your work performance, evaluate what you could have done to be a more integral part of the team; then use what you discover to help excel at your next position. If you were let go because your company needed to make cutbacks, focus your upcoming job search on companies that are doing well in today’s economy so that you can have better job stability. Read about more things to do if you lose your job.
  • Manage your mortgage payments. Cut expenses. Put the credit cards away. Don’t take on new debt. Rework your budget.
    Do you have an emergency fund or other savings? Figure out how long it can last you. Factor in any unemployment money you will receive, as well as any alternate sources of income you earn, and update your budget accordingly. There are lots of near painless ways to cut expenses. Start there and become more stringent the longer your unemployment lasts.

    Call your internet/cable/phone providers and see if you can get a discounted rate. Call your auto insurance company and see if you are missing out on any discounts you are eligible for. If you rent an apartment, look for a cheaper apartment or get a roommate. An article from Bankrate.com suggests prioritizing your bills. Creditors are persistent, but your five major priorities should be your rent or mortgage, utility bills, food, insurance, and medicine, according to the article.

    Plug Spending Leaks and Save Hundreds
  • Update your resume. Clean up your social media profiles. Update your LinkedIn profile. Write targeted cover letters so that they make a compelling case as to why you should be hired. Connect with your network: whether it is a college alumni network, professional, or personal one.

    Using LinkedIn in Your Job Search
  • Make finding a job your new job. Don’t get discouraged; this may take a while. Get a new, professional email address—one with your first and last name. Send a mass email alerting everyone you know that you are no longer in your former position and that you are looking for new opportunities that match your skills or experience.

    Do one thing each day toward your new path. This can be sending a follow-up email, making phone calls, or spending time talking to a mentor.

    Job Search Checklist and Quiz
For More Information, Speak with a Trusted Advisor

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BALANCE Financial Fitness Program is offered to RFCU members through a partnership between RFCU and BALANCE. RFCU does not warrant, guarantee, or insure products or services offered by or through BALANCE. RFCU and BALANCE are separate entities.

For a comprehensive review of your personal situation, always consult with a tax or legal advisor.