7 Steps to Take When You Lose Your Job

7 steps to take when you lose your job“I’m sorry. We’re going to have to let you go.”

These words strike fear into the hearts of wage earners across the U.S. every day.

What if it happens to you? Do you know what to do?

Two months ago my husband lost his job. It was tempting to panic, knowing our family had just lost its primary source of income.

But we’ve been through this before. My husband works in sales, and sales jobs are not very reliable. Over the years we’ve learned what needs to be done from the moment you lose your job.

If you’re facing unemployment, take a deep breath. Then take the following steps to maximize your chances of being back in the workforce soon.

Tell Everyone You Know

Talking about your recent unemployment might be the last thing you want to do. But fight the temptation to keep quiet. Now is the time to network with everyone you know.

Your friends and family don’t want to see you suffer in unemployment. If you let them know you’re looking for a job, they will help you look. You may discover unadvertised job openings or leads on jobs you never would have found otherwise.

The other thing friends and family often do is provide you with opportunities to earn a little extra cash to keep you afloat while you’re looking for a good job. A small $200 job may not seem like much, but it will buy groceries for your family.

File for Unemployment

File for unemployment as soon as you lose your job. Even if you file right away, red tape may slow down your ability to collect benefits. You want to get those kinks worked out before you really need the money.

To qualify for unemployment benefits, you need to have lost your job through no fault of your own, and you need to meet your state’s requirements for collecting unemployment.

If you’re unsure, just file. The state will let you know if you don’t qualify.

Note: If you have a great business idea, check to see if your state has Self Employment Assistance Program for unemployed people who want to start their own business. Sometimes you can get unemployment benefits while you get your business up and running.

Rules vary, and the program isn’t available in all states, so contact your employment office for more information.

7 Steps to Take When You Lose Your Job

Update Your Resumé

Since you will need a resumé to apply for most jobs, take a day or two to create a resumé or update an old one.

Besides updating your work history, make sure you note any significant professional achievements, additional training you’ve completed, and any professional organizations you’ve joined.

Also edit your resumé to use active verbs and up to date jargon for your profession.

While you’re updating your resumé also contact potential references, so you will have references ready if a potential employer asks. Update your LinkedIn profile, too, as more and more businesses are asking potential employees to apply with LinkedIn these days.

Hit the Streets (or the Internet)

When you’re unemployed, your main goal is to get a job. So work at finding a job like it is your full time job.

Every day check sites like Indeed.com, Career Builder, Linkedin, Craigslist, and your state’s employment website to get job leads. Then follow up on those leads.

Spend most of your time on job search related tasks. The more time you put into finding a job, the more likely you are to find a job quickly.

7 Steps to Take When You're Unemployed

Cut Your Expenses

While you’re out of a job, even if you’re receiving unemployment benefits, chances are the benefits won’t cover all the line items in your regular budget.

To make your money last longer during these uncertain times, audit your bills. Decide where you can make budget cuts and trim your budget to the bare minimum.

Can you cut out cable? Save money on groceries? Switch to a more inexpensive cell phone plan?

If money gets really tight, you’ll need to prioritize which bills get paid first. Housing, food, and electricity are important. Paying your credit card bills will necessarily fall to the bottom of your priorities.

If you do have to stop paying bills for a time, be sure to contact your creditors to keep them in the loop. They’re much more likely to work with you, if you keep them informed of your situation.

Take Care of Yourself

When you’re worried about finding a job and making ends meet, it’s easy for the stress to consume your life. And when you’re paralyzed by stress, it’s hard to make good decisions regarding your job search and your finances.

Make sure you take care of your health. Eat well. Get plenty of sleep. Exercise. All of these things will help your frame of mind so you’re prepared for any job interviews that come your way.

Trust God

Your job loss is no surprise to God. He knew it was coming, and he has a plan to take care of you and your family. He loves you, and he’s not going to let you fall through the cracks.

During this time, you may not be able to have everything you want, but God has promised to provide what you need (Philippians 4:19).

Ask God for wisdom and direction. It may be that your job loss is the catalyst God is using to make some major changes in your life.

Facing unemployment is never fun. But like any trial, unemployment grows and stretches us. It helps us to place our full dependence on God.

Our family has faced unemployment a few times over the years. After the trial is over, we’ve always been able to look back, amazed at how God worked through the situation. I pray that you can do the same.

Ready to Quit Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck?

Just click to join 225,000+ others and take our FREE email course to better manage your money, pay off debt, and save! And get FREE access to our money-saving workshop ($29 value)!

Related Articles:

  1. Barb F.

    I have also read that doing volunteer work is also useful as it fills in the gaps on the resume if unemployment is longer than expected. It also shows a perspective employer that you are not just sitting around.

    • Lynnae

      That is a fantastic tip!

    • Charmaine

      I never thought of volunteering while unemployed. Good idea!

  2. Pearl Lederman

    ive been out of work myself, dont have a job now, used to work resorts but had to leave cause of 2 hip implants and a knee surgery, had several jobs since but none worked out, ive mostly been living on no income but youre right god does help when noone else will, i have a friend that will help if i need her, cant get ssi but i managed to get food stamps and medicaid, and ive been going to school so i live on grants right now. thinking of doing something for self employment, theres christian companies that do craft stuff, i might try one of those

    • Lynnae

      Self employment can be a great option. I know that’s what Bob did when he lost his job, and obviously SeedTime is doing quite well for him.

      Best wishes. It’s tough out there!

  3. Jennifer Jacobs

    No matter what I do I can barely keep a job for more than three months. This has been happening for at least 20 years. I even wasted over $20,000 in financial asst for a bachelors degree in Business Management, which I wanted Business Administration, I even have a certificate as a Nursing Assistant, but I am currently suspended because of a mistake I made with a resident. People make mistakes all the time. But, after 20 years of trying and going nowhere, where does God want me? This is a question that has been puzzling me for years. i don’t want to be in suspence anymore.

    • Lynnae

      I pray that God gives you clarity. It’s not easy out there at all!

  4. Haggag Hussein

    Great Post and the best statement in it is (Trust God) because he doesn’t make your good work goes in vain.

    Thank you for the info.

  5. Johanna

    4 weeks unemployed pray the Lord bless me and keep me. In Jesus name Amen

    Trusting my provider Jaweh Jired.

    • Lynnae

      And he does provide…not always what we want, but definitely what we need. We’re going on week 13 or 14 now. We didn’t think we’d make it past two months, but God has been faithful, and we have everything we need.

      Best wishes!

  6. Deb Geller

    Your last point is potent and wonderful to see.

  7. Brian Lund

    I’ve been in this position before and it’s definitely not fun. This is a great set of things to do. Anyone looking for work right now should print this one out.

    • Dorcas Tshabalala

      Thank God for this article, I am a single mother and bread winner at home. My daughter has been looking for job for some time now. I know very well how difficult the situation has been.

      We definitely will use these set of thing.

      Thank you.

  8. Ricky Nguyen

    Amazing. I received this email on my last day of work for my last job. Perfect timing. Great message.


    Splendid! I am much impressed with this message. It has come at the right time. Be blessed for this message.Amen