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What To Do When You’re Unemployed

Okay, so the worst has happened and – whatever the reason – you lose your job and end up unemployed. What do you do?

This can a very traumatic time for anyone. However, the worst thing you can do is sit around and mope about your situation. Well, okay – you may need a day or two to grieve, but then it’s time to develop an action plan and get busy. Don’t let yourself get idle for too long! First thing you need to do is to look at the whole situation in a proper perspective, try to peer at the bright side.

Actually, you have one big advantage from a job search standpoint when you are unemployed: time. You have lots of time to devote to finding your next job. In fact, you should treat your job search exactly as if it was your full time job, because now it is (or should be!).

While you are unemployed, you should spend a minimum of four to six hours each week day on your job search. This is what it takes to use every job search tool at your disposal to find a job as quickly as possible.

If you still find yourself with some extra time on your hands, do something with it! Don’t just sit around. Get out and meet people in your industry, or even start a home based business. Do anything, but do something!

You may think there aren’t enough things to do to spend this much time daily on your job search, but you’ll be wrong. To use every tool described throughout this site, you’ll easily use four to six hours per day. In fact, there are so many different things you can do that I’ve divided them into four categories:

  • Prepare
  • Consider
  • Search
  • Do


There are several things you need to do before you actually start looking at job postings, both to make your search as productive as possible and to be prepared to immediately respond when you do find an appropriate job opening.

  • Get organized. Here’s how.
  • Assemble your job search tools.
  • Write or refine your resume.
  • Develop your “30 second commercial”.
  • Prepare answers for possible interview questions.


While you’re doing everything else, here are some things to consider.

  • If you’re short on money, consider taking a part time job. Just be sure to leave sufficient time for your “full time job” – your job search!
  • Consider a career change. Here’s information and the outlook for several types of industry specific jobs.
  • Consider relocating. The job prospects are better in some parts of the country than others. Here’s information and links on several of the larger job markets.


Once you’re prepared, you need to spend the majority of your time every day on actually searching and applying for jobs. Here are the major searches you need to do regularly, and by regularly I meanevery day that you are unemployed.

  • Online classifieds and paper classifieds. This is a critical part of your job search. Contrary to popular belief, most non-senior level jobs are posted in the online newspaper help wanted ads, as well as the Sunday paper help wanted ads.
  • Search company web sites. Almost every company of any size now posts its job openings on the company web site – usually before they are posted anywhere else.
  • Search online job posting sites. Sometimes companies choose to advertise here instead of the newspaper online help wanted ads, so you need to check both regularly.


In addition to searching and applying for jobs, here are some activities you’ll also need to do while you are unemployed:

  • Apply for unemployment. In today’s world of layoffs and downsizing, there is no shame in applying for unemployment. Besides, your taxes help pay for it, so you definitely should get back what you are entitled.
  • Contact your network. Now is not the time to be shy – contact every friend, neighbor, relative and business associate you can think of and let them know you job searching.
  • Attend all job fairs Even if you don’t find a job, these are great networking opportunities.
  • Contact recruiters and employment agencies. These are a necessary evil in your job search. Just don’t expect immediate results.

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