Currently, the unemployment rate has been the highest it’s ever been hitting a 4.4% in March 2020 and those numbers are expected to grow. If you’re finding yourself unemployed, you need to survive this difficult and trying time. Not having any income coming in can be very stressful and can cause some major problems for you and your family. The good thing is that because of the situation we are in as a country and even globally; there’s a lot of help. Not only is the government trying to help but there’s also a lot of programs emerging and people willing to provide assistance in one way or another. People will also be very understanding of any gaps this may cause in your resume. Losing your job and facing unemployment can be mentally, physically and emotionally draining. So instead of dwelling on your situation, use this time to your advantage by dedicating time to reflect, plan and move forward in your career. Don’t feel bad about taking some time to yourself to figure things out, we may not always be in control of unexpected situations that happen, but we can control how we address things. Below I’ve outlined some steps you can take for your current situation.
1. Take Care of your Basic Needs
First thing’s first, you need to make sure that your basic needs are met for you and your family. Whether this means tapping into your savings, applying for unemployment, taking out a small business loan or a combination of these to ensure that your food, utilities, shelter, and transportation needs are all met. There’s a lot of resources and opportunities right now for people affected by this pandemic so tap into those resources. If you’re currently unemployed and have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic check with your State Government to apply for unemployment and to see what other programs are out there that can provide more relief and be of assistance. If you’re a business owner, there’s a lot of financial help and even loans you don’t have to re-pay, for more information check out Disaster Loan Programs.
2. Find a Short Term Job and/or Side Hustle
Finding a new job will be your new full-time job! Right now you need to find something that will bring some income your way, even if it’s not your ideal job, you need something that’s going to pay the bills. This might not align with your career vision or plan but it’s okay, there will be a lot of employers in the future understanding career gaps and that people had to pivot during this time to make ends meet. If you find yourself looking for short term employment right now, there are a lot of companies hiring such as Amazon, Target, various delivery driving companies, grocery stores, customer service representatives jobs and more.
3. Have a Productive Schedule
Setting a routine/schedule during this time is key to ensure that you remain focused and productive. Set a schedule for the week and for each day. Write the most important tasks that you want to accomplish and block off time to work on them. This could be applying for assistance, looking and applying for jobs, or working on your resume and professional portfolio. Write it all down and dedicate some time to it. I know that for me what helps remain productive while at home is setting my alarm for a specific time, showering and getting out of my pj’s before I begin to work, setting my “To DO List” and prioritizing my tasks. Give yourself a schedule of when you are going to work on your tasks each day and find a space free of distractions to work on them.
4. Look for Ways to Provide Value and Build your Portfolio
This is the perfect time to get in touch with your passion/purpose and immerse yourself in it. Ask yourself these questions; How can I serve right now? what needs can I help with? What will I be able to look back on and say I contributed to during this time? Being of service can be in many different ways such as; providing guidance virtually, writing a blog/article or offering one to one assistance in an area of expertise. This will not only help others who are in need, but it will also help build your professional portfolio and who knows what new doors this may open up for you.
5. Take a Class
This is a great time to learn and improve or pick up a new skill. There are so many online learning opportunities going on right now making it so accessible for everyone. Enhancing your skills will not only add to your knowledge and expertise but it will also make you more marketable.
6. Join Networking Groups
Joining online forums and groups are a great way to engage and expand your network. I’ve developed great relationships with people who I’ve never met before through various groups. When you develop these relationships you’re expanding your network and sometimes people in these groups can help refer you to other opportunities and/or share resources and best practices. If you are an entrepreneur or considering starting an online business then you definitely should join entrepreneurship groups. I would recommend job search and career development groups on Facebook, Linked In and MeetUp. Join me at my Facebook group Career Boss Ladies, you’re looking to network and be surrounded by other supportive women working towards similar goals.
7. Ask for Help
If you’re struggling, you don’t have to do it alone. Whether it’s emotional, mental or financial help you need, there are numerous of supports out there for you. Especially right now that we are facing this health pandemic worldwide, there’s a lot of people willing to help, all you have to do is seek and reach out for help. Whether you’re in a crisis or just looking for information, turn to family, friends, help centers and hotlines to get the advice and help your need.