I’ve Lost My Job, Now What Do I Do?
Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve been laid off from my full-time job and I’m very upset.
I don’t even know what do to first!
It is very normal to be upset when you lose a job to a layoff. The most important thing to remember is that it is not your fault. People are laid off because their position was closed – either through lack of work or the company needed to streamline to become more efficient and cost effective.
Next, you’ll want to take the time to gather your thoughts and your important job related documents to make this challenging time as successful as possible.
It’s helpful to view the situation as a two-part process: ‘unemployment and filing for benefits’, and ‘reemployment and the job search process’. Keep the materials for those two important areas separate, organized, and documented with contacts, research notes, To-Do Lists, and more!
Enlist the support and assistance of as many friends and family as possible. It’s stressful for everyone involved when there’s been a layoff. The layoff was out of your control. What matters is how you handle it. Stay strong, stay together, and stay motivated.
I know. But I’m feeling ‘wiped out’. I worked so hard for all those years and I feel betrayed and angry. I went on one interview but all I could do was complain about being laid off. Even though I had the skills for the job, the boss didn’t want a negative person like me on the team. What is wrong with me and what should I do?
It’s normal to feel the way you are feeling. Just remember, feelings aren’t good or bad, right or wrong. They are just feelings. Try not to let them rule your life and end up causing a negative result to your job search. Job loss is just that – a major loss in your life. There are four stages to any major loss – shock, anger, grief, and acceptance. The key to success is moving through the stages and not getting stuck. If you do get stuck, ask your friends, family, colleagues, and spiritual community for help. You’ve been there for them and they will be happy to be there for you. It’s a priceless gift. Let them give it to you.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had to write a resume. Sure I’ve done a lot. I think…. I’m just not sure I remember it all and I don’t even know where to start.
That could be a real positive – You are a long-term worker who’s been at one company for a while! Just think of what you have learned during that time. Take the time to write down your job titles and any ‘extra’ work you might have done or skills you learned that were outside of those jobs. If you can’t remember everything that was included in your job description, research websites and resume descriptions that describe similar job descriptions. Speak with your old company, colleagues from past jobs, and family members. They might have input on your strengths and accomplishments that will surprise you.
Ok, I’ve got the words on paper. But how do I know if it’s a good resume or if it’s the right style of resume for me or the job opening?
The best job for you is the one that is the right job mix of skills, people, and company goals. It is working for the company that values WHO you are and WHAT you can do….You know who you are but do you understand who they are and what they need to win? Don’t just apply for a faceless job in a newspaper. Apply for an opening on a team that needs solutions, innovation, integrity, work ethic, attitude, etc. If you can, find out why this is an opening – Is it because the other person did NOT work out? Or did that person do so well that he or she earned a promotion or was recruited by the competition? Understanding what worked and didn’t work will help you determine your best course of action.
And, if you can’t wait for the pitch that is a ‘guaranteed home run’ – take an opportunity or offer that will get you to first base for now. But don’t give up. Know what you want and keep working towards it. You’ve probably heard this piece of advice before but I’ll say it again: ‘It is always easier to find a job when you have one’. So, do your homework. Research the company with the opening. Show them that you are the person to work well in their company AND be part of the solution.
Right. But the resume…..Should I spend money to have someone look at my resume to make sure it will help me get noticed and win a new job?
You can go to the source that is talented AND free! Make an appointment with the job counselor at the local NH Works Center. Have them look at your resume, suggest changes, and give you input on how to create additional styles and themes that will increase your chances for success.
Of course, if you are in a highly specialized field, are a ‘high-earner’, or have set money aside for this type of situation, than it might be beneficial to hire a resume/career specialist. Again, do your homework and ask for references and track record. Record numbers of career and resume specialists have surfaced since the outset of this economy. Be able to access their information to make sure you are hiring the right person. They can help you create resumes customized to each situation, give you extensive background company information, and might even have a personal connection that will get you on the ‘interview fast track’.
Now you sound like everyone I talk to these days with the ‘personal connection’ piece. People are always saying ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. Is that really true? I’m very quiet and have a small group of family and friends. Is the ‘networking’ thing really so important?
Absolutely. The ‘personal connection piece’, also referred to as ‘Networking’, is the Number One way to find a job. Human Resource people are so inundated these days with resumes that they can often turn to those candidates with personal connections or who are ‘referrals’ by other people inside the company. Even better, Human Resource has been known to call the career specialists in the NH Works offices and ask them to send a pre-screened group of candidates. They might not even advertise for the position! That’s why it is so good to get to know the people at the local NH Works so they will become familiar with you and help make positive job connections outside of your ‘regular’ circles.
It’s important to note that the ‘personal connection’ might improve your chance of getting in front of the people doing the hiring. At that point however, the interview will be focused on your skills, abilities, personality, and ‘fit’ with the company and team where the job opening is located. It it’s a good match, everybody wins. If not, the best game plan is to communicate your appreciation to the interviewer as well as your ‘personal connection’ and keep searching for a better job match. (I knew of one situation where the job applicant actually admitted to the interviewer that she wasn’t the right person for the job AND recommended someone else as the ‘best person’ for the job! That person got the job and eventually, ended up HIRING the original job applicant for better pay and opportunity than the original situation!)
Everyone makes networking sound so easy. I don’t even like telling anyone that I’ve been laid off…never mind asking total strangers for jobs. Why can’t I do what I did years ago, and just send in my resume or fill out an application? It worked back then? Won’t it work now?
As the economy improves, you might see a return to the more traditional methods of job searching. However, while the unemployment numbers are at their current levels, it’s best to try new and different techniques to enhance your visibility to the hiring professionals. A good technique to have in your ‘job search toolbox’ is the ‘Informational Interview combined with ‘social networking’. Start by listing as many friends, family, and extensions of those people (their friends and families) along with appropriate titles, company or field of work. Would you be interested in working at any of those companies? Ask others in your ‘network’ about these companies and possible connections at them. Have you ever wondered what they really did at their jobs or thought that you might want to do that type of work? Next, ask to meet with them at their jobs (if possible) and have an informational interview. Do NOT ask them for a job. Research the company and prepare a list of questions for this interview that will begin to give you an idea of the company culture, product, service, values, and goals. Determine if the company has any challenges that you might be able to help them solve. Find out the corporate structure and key contacts in the groups or areas you might be interested in. Keep your meeting to the time schedule agreed upon and follow-up with a thank you note. If appropriate, ask the interviewer to communicate any future job openings or opportunities with the company. If the company seems to be a ‘good fit’, continue to make connections with them, and offer (if appropriate and workable) to work as an ‘intern or apprentice’ as a ‘no-cost, low-cost’ workforce solution. (Note: NH Employment Security has created a ‘worksharing’ program that has been put before the Legislature for approvals (SB501). One of the sections is geared towards training and it will allow eligible dislocated workers to train at companies for specific periods of time. The dislocated worker is paid their unemployment benefits while being trained in a new skill and the company is able to observe the ‘trainee’ as a possible employee of their company! Check with NH Employment Security for more information on this program.)
Informational interviewing is just one method to help with the job search process. Use your ‘personal connection list’ with social networking sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook, etc.; reconnect with past work colleagues, attend networking events, volunteer at community events, and create opportunities to help others in need as well. One laid off worker saw a need for a TV broadcast showcasing unemployed workers for hiring companies to access. A national company was so impressed with her genuine concern for others (even as she was laid off herself), and her solution-focused attitude and professionalism, that they hired her for a higher position and pay than her prior job!
All of this social networking sounds interesting, but is there anything that could be a problem with it?
Good question. You need to be aware of the type of job you want, the industry, and the ‘face’ you are presenting to the hiring community. Be very careful of anything that is printed on websites, blogs, or common areas that could present you in a less than positive manner. The competition is fierce for new jobs and if there is even a small concern by an employer, you will lose the opportunity. Even something as simple as your voicemail message or email address can be a deterrent if not done correctly or professionally. Create simple (and free) email addresses that will not cause a potential new employer to blush, and make sure the voicemail message is free of barking dogs, unusual music, etc. Unless of course you want a job working with animals or producing music!
Are there any common interviewing mistakes I should know about and avoid?
Well, just as it is important to understand the value and be proficient in new technologies, it is also very important to know when to ‘turn it off’. When interviewing for a job, turn off or mute your phone and be completely focused on listening and connecting with the hiring person. Even if it is a ‘practice’ interview for a job that might not be your top choice, you must present as the best candidate possible. You might impress them so much that they’ll ‘create’ the position of your dreams for you!
Job Fairs seem like a good idea. Does anyone ever get a job from one of those activities? It can also seem overwhelming walking into one of those big rooms with lost of people and noise. I don’t know where to start.
Job fairs can be helpful for several different reasons, and it’s not always to get a job! It’s a good time to take your resume, ‘test drive’ your interviewing outfit, perfect your question list, and polish your presentation skills. To simplify the process and not feel overwhelmed, obtain the list of participating companies and research the ones you might be interested in. If a job fair ‘room map’ is available, determine your priority list of companies to visit, have your questions prepared, and allow yourself the most amount of time possible. This is an excellent time to practice your ‘meet and greet’ skills and talk with hiring companies as well as other job seekers. You’ll be amazed at the feedback, information, and opportunities you can gain.
I’m really interested in a company that I think would be a perfect match between their needs and my skills. But I just can’t get the human resource person’s attention or the person in the department I hope to join. What should I do?
I don’t want to stalk these people but I don’t want to give up either. I also feel like all I do is ask people for a job or a referral…I’m worried they’ll start avoiding me. How do I avoid this trap?
You’re right – there is a fine line between being seen as an ‘overzealous job stalker only thinking of himself’ and a ‘determined, enthusiastic job applicant thinking about others!’. A tool that salespeople often use is a ‘WIIFM’ tool. That stands for ‘what’s in it’ for Me?! Successful salespeople understand that most folks love getting something little as a reward if they help someone! And, if they have received something or know they could ‘win’ something, they’ll be more motivated to think of that person when the situation arises! You’re not trying to ‘buy’ the job, friendship, etc. You’re creating a trigger for that person to think of you when an opportunity arises.
Types of ‘rewards’ that are fun, inexpensive, and appropriate:
- gift cards in small amounts to the local coffee shop with a card attached that might say “I would love to connect over a cup of coffee and discuss _______________. When can you make it?”.
- marketing gifts like pens, magnets, mugs, etc. that have your name, phone number, and email address.
- A notecard that describes the ‘reward’ for getting you a job referral that gets an interview or even the JOB! Make sure your contact info is on the card and that they understand how to ‘track’ your progress to ‘cash in’ on their reward! (Restaurant gift cards, car detailing gift cards, a photograph or print for their office, etc.)
- Of course this isn’t time to be spending money frivolously, but some targeted, ‘job reward campaigns’ can prove to be quite successful.
Have fun with this! Any time you can ‘match’ the job opening or company with some type of creative ‘reward’ – you will grab their attention in a positive way and hopefully, the JOB!
I’ve never had to file for unemployment before. What should I do now?
Once you have become unemployed, file a new claim via the Internet at the Employment Security website or visit the nearest NH Employment Security office to file your claim on a computer in the Resource Center. If you became unemployed from full-time work on Thursday or Friday, open your claim on Sunday or Monday. If you live in another State and your last employment was in NH, you may file your claim over the Internet. If you do not have access to the Internet or need language assistance, you may call 1-800-266-2252 to speak with a Customer Service Representative during business hours (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.).
Filing is a TWO-STEP Process and you must complete BOTH steps to be potentially eligible for payment. It is important to obtain and read the pamphlet titled – “Unemployment Compensation-Your rights and obligations”. You may find that pamphlet at the NH Employment Security office or on-line at the Employment Security website.
Employment Security Website: www.nh.gov/nhes
I didn’t lose my job but my hours were reduced a lot. Will I be eligible for unemployment too?
You might be eligible for unemployment benefits if your work hours have been reduced significantly. Start by opening your claim during the week your hours are reduced. You will then be mailed a Determination of Unemployment Compensation about your monetary eligibility and, if there are any questions about your claim, one or more Determination of Eligibility documents about your non-monetary eligibility.
My friends keep telling me to go to the ‘NH Works Office’ to get help with finding a new job. Isn’t that just for filing for unemployment?
Your friends are correct! NH Works is the ‘One-Stop Career Center’ for New Hampshire! There are 13 NH Works centers throughout the State and they are available to everyone searching for employment! If you have been laid off from a job, have moved here from another State and want a new job, or are underemployed and want to see what else is available, the NH Works Centers have the resources, materials, and employment specialists to help you find what you need!
They can help you if you have questions about filing for unemployment and need assistance on the computers in their Resource Center. They also provide everything from copies and faxing of job related documents, telephones, internet access, the job matching system, and materials such as magazines, books, videos and publications to help with your job search! There are software tools to help with creating resumes, employment counseling, workshops, and more. It really is the ‘One-Stop Shop” for job search assistance.
It seems like jobs in my industry are ‘going away’. I’m worried that if I can find a job in my industry, I’ll be laid off again. I’m not even sure if I want to keep working in that field. What should I do next?
It can feel like many jobs are disappearing or not available any longer in this economy. Being unsure about what to do next is the perfect time to make an appointment with an Employment Counselor at the local NH Works Center in your area. The Employment Counselors are trained to help assess your strengths, skills, and interests, and provide input for career direction. (There are also many books and websites geared toward providing career assessments, input, and assistance that you can access prior to meeting with a counselor.) Once you’ve gotten an idea of what new area you would like to pursue, your Employment Counselor can provide information on possible trainings needed for that work. If you qualify, you might even be able to access free training programs while receiving your unemployment benefits!
I’ve been interviewing a lot but keep getting told I need a certain training to qualify for the job I want. Can I take the class and keep getting unemployment benefits?
If you are interested in continuing your unemployment benefits during a training program, it is important to always work directly with your Employment Counselor at the local NH Works office. They can assist you with the process and determine your eligibility for receiving unemployment benefits while participating in the training!
I have a disability that can be a barrier to employment. My old company was aware and accommodated it so I could be successful at my job.
I’m worried about how to approach the job search process with this disability, and not sure who I should talk to about it.
Vocational Rehabilitation in the Department of Education in NH is the best place to start. They are the leader in disability-related employment solutions. Their counselors are trained to meet with you, determine appropriate assessments, and create a plan of action for reemployment. They will help you to look for work and provide input and guidance as you navigate the challenges of a new job and new personalities.
Now that I’ve lost my job, I’m worried that I can’t pay my mortgage. Are there any programs or websites that can help?
Yes, the State of NH has several programs available. Start by accessing the official NH website for homeowners concerned about foreclosure. http://homehelpnh.org
Also, the NH State Court System has created a Foreclosure Mediation Program. For more information, Forms, or to see if your are eligible, please visit the website http://www..courts.state.nh.us
or call: Lynda Troy in the Office of Mediation and Arbitration at 603-271-6418.
Job Related – Questions to ask:
- Do you know of any openings for a person with my skills? (Identify what your skills are.)
- Do you know of anyone else I might contact about openings? (Get names and phone numbers, if possible.)
- Do you know of anyone else who might know of someone who could help me locate openings?
- May I use your name when I contact….?
- Does your company have a ‘referral reward policy’? (keep track of all personal referrals and links to interviews and offers)
Important Websites and Information:
It’s tough to focus on a job search if you’re worried about your healthcare or your child’s healthcare.
- 211 is the NH State phone number to access a general information line. Call them if you are not sure where to find information or need help.
- Use the keyword search: ‘social services’ for your local area’s resources
- www.nhhealthykids.com – health insurance program for NH children
- US Department of Labor/Employee Benefits Security Administration
COBRA info – 1-866-444-3272
- Medication Bridge: Prescription Assistance
- Low Income may qualify for medications through pharmaceutical manufacturers.
- Foundation for Healthy Communities/NH Health Access Network
(info on accessible providers for all NH areas)