Survive & Thrive After a Job Loss in 12 Steps

"Job loss happens. Learn how to do more than survive with this job loss guide that takes you through your next steps toward thriving." - Lorelei
Quick Links for Survive & Thrive After a Job Loss in 12 Steps

You opened your work computer and tried to log on, only to find that your access is gone and you can no longer log-in.

Or you got a mass email, or a phone call or pulled into a large conference room and told that today was going to be your last day.

No matter how you lost your job, it’s scary.

You went from a sure-thing, a routine, structure, confidence that you could pay your bills and take care of yourself and maybe a family to… now what?

For many people, when you lose your job, you lose your identity. It feels personal. It feels like rejection which can lead to feelings of shame and unworthiness.

YOU ARE NOT YOUR JOB.

Yes, that’s easy to say, difficult to feel. I get that.

But “I am not my job” is a great mantra to try using every day as it shifts your mindset to being more open, creating space for new opportunities and creativity.

If you are not your job, who are you?

Feel the shift?

Having a break from your job can give you an opportunity to discover who you really are and what you really want, especially after securing the “life fallout” of losing an income.

If you’re looking for personalized support, book an Ask an Advocate session and we can work through your options and find your next step.

Process Your Emotions

That is NOT to say there aren’t a ton of emotions that need to be processed.

Feeling and processing emotions is 100% a part of the process of finding your next step.

Processing the:

Fear of not knowing what to do, the uncertainty.

Doubt that you’ll find a new job, be able to pay your bills.

Shame that you were one of the one’s laid off.

Relief that you’ll no longer have to work in a potentially toxic environment.

Excitement that you get to look for something new.

Sadness that you lost a job and work that you really enjoyed or people you liked being around.

Joy that you get to spend more time with yourself, your family and friends.

Anger that this happened to you at all.

Channel Grounded Emotion to Create Real Change covers how to tap into the wisdom and energy of your emotions to create change. Better Understand Your Emotions in 5 Steps also has guidance on how to connect with your emotional wisdom.

Most importantly, it’s really important to set aside some time to feel all of your emotions. Write them in a journal, talk to a partner or a friend.

Movement also encourages energy to move (emotions are just energy in motion) – spending time in nature, going for long walks, listening to music or a podcast, immersive sensory experiences all can help release pent up emotional energy and clear the path for action.

How long can processing emotions take?

It will take as long as it needs to. If you find yourself starting to turn to distractions, wallow in feelings, collapse onto the bed or couch, it may be helpful to reach out for professional help.

There are many affordable virtual mental health options now and there’s the Lifeline (988 on your phone) which can be used for all kinds of emotional crisis, not just suicide prevention.

When you are ready for action, below are your next steps to handle this job loss.

File for Unemployment & Government Support

Right after you receive formal notification of losing your job, you’ll want to apply for unemployment. Each state has their own criteria and benefits so you’ll want to look into what your state requires and provides.

Most states offer up to 26 weeks of benefits ranging from $235 – $823 per week which isn’t a lot but it can still help so it’s worth at least checking on eligibility.

Outside of Unemployment, there are many Government programs that can provide financial assistance. They often take a very long time to process so you’ll also want to apply right away.

If you think you may need food assistance, you’ll want to apply for that now too. The Government food program is called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) also known as Food Stamps.

If you have a family, you may qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) which is also a state-run program meaning each state has their own eligibility requirements and benefits.

FindHelp.org is also an excellent resource at helping locate local free or reduced-cost support.

Review Your Severance Package (if applicable)

Did you know that you can negotiate your severance package? You can negotiate the amount and all of the terms of conditions of the package. LinkedIn has some good tips on how to better negotiate your job loss severance package.

If you received one, it may also benefit you to have a lawyer review it as it could contain fine print that may make seeking new employment harder (think non-compete, non-disparagement and confidentiality agreements).

Apply for Credit Card(s)

This next idea isn’t a conventional one but I’ve seen it help so many people so I’m going to mention it.

Apply immediately for at least one (or one additional) credit card. Ideally this will have a 0% APR offer or a 0% balance transfer offer. I like to look at bankrate.com or nerdwallet.com for options.

Here’s the thing – you do not have to use the card. You can store it somewhere safe and use it only if you need it.

BUT when your credit report updates to reflect your job loss, it will be harder to get credit.

Your credit application will also ask you what your income is and just after your job loss you are still being paid (through the end of the pay period and/or severance) so you can list your income without it being $0 or your unemployment checks.

If you own a house, another option is a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) but that would need to have been established prior to the job loss because it takes usually 30+ days to close.

I have seen some people actually shift all of their spending to a 0% APR credit card and pay just the minimums to make their savings last longer.

While I see the appeal in doing this, it’s also very risky because the actual interest rate after the promo period ends is usually very high. You’ll want to make sure that you can cover the full balance of the 0% APR card by the end of the promo period otherwise you’ll get hit with a very high interest payment (most often interest accumulates during the entire promo period and  becomes payable at the end or sometimes if you miss a minimum payment).

Health Insurance

After you’ve applied for benefits and lined up some extra credit, you’ll want to start thinking about healthcare.

You have a few options:

COBRA

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows you to continue using your current health insurance, however, you become responsible for ALL of the premium payments. Usually your employer covers a substantial portion of the premiums making it more affordable for you while employed. You will not be allowed to change to a cheaper plan unless you are in open enrollment.

Because you will be required to pay the full premium amount, many people will forego paying for COBRA due to the cost.

Important note: You have 60 days to apply for COBRA and coverage is retroactive.

So what that means is IF you feel that your job loss may last less than 60 days, you could theoretically hold off on getting health insurance coverage and wait to see if you need it and then apply.

You can also use COBRA for a short period while you wait to set-up other benefits to ensure that you have no lapse in healthcare coverage.

Marketplace

When you lose your job or employment-sponsored health insurance coverage, you qualify for a special enrollment period with the healthcare Marketplace.

You have 60 days from the date that you lost coverage to apply for Marketplace insurance. Coverage is NOT retroactive meaning you could experience a gap in coverage.

States vary on their enrollment and activation windows for benefits so be sure to look at what your specific state does.

In terms of plans themselves, many on the Marketplace are HMOs or EPOs meaning that you will have only in-network benefits. There are also four levels of benefit options – Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. There are also catastrophic care plans for people under the age of 30.

Also, I have been seeing a trend towards healthcare providers NOT accepting Marketplace plans as in-network, meaning that if you went to that provider, you’d be cash pay. You will want to check the healthcare professionals that you use and see if they accept Marketplace plans. You can also check the healthcare plan’s website provider directory to see if your doctor participates.

Generally, the MarketPlace Platinum level plan is the most expensive in terms of monthly premiums but your out-of-pocket when you get care will be less. Bronze will be the cheapest per month but the most expensive when you get care.

States do vary in what plans levels they offer (some may just offer gold, silver, bronze) so you’ll have check with your state to see what’s available in terms of insurance carrier and network options. The ACA does, however, mandate the minimum amount of coverage each plan level must have with some state plans offering more coverage or lower out-of-pocket costs.

States can also offer credits for certain income levels to make Marketplace plans more affordable.

Medicaid

Every state has their own Medicaid program which means that eligibility and benefits vary greatly. More information on basic Medicaid eligibility and options are here.

For general information about Medicaid, the Benefits.gov website has a very high-level overview.

Health Sharing Plans – Religious

There are several Christian health sharing plans that may be an option. They require you to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and adhere to other lifestyle qualifications.

These programs are not insurance – you pay monthly into a pot of funds and the plan reimburses you for approved health expenses. Reimbursement is NOT guaranteed.

Medi-Share is one of the more well-known and well-established Christian health sharing plan and has a good FAQ section for more information.

No Insurance – Cash Pay

Medicaid’s eligibility in some states is very restrictive leaving many people in “The Gap” – they make too much to qualify for Government assistance but not enough to actually afford to live and pay for health insurance.

Health insurance is generally expensive and often seen as a luxury item when paying for housing and food is hard enough. Going without any kind of health insurance is also incredibly risky as illnesses and accidents happen.

Ideally, if you are under the age of 30 you can qualify for Marketplace catastrophic coverage which would help protect you in the event of a serious health crisis.

For those older than age 30, the Bronze Marketplace plans might be a good option to ensure that you have some basic coverage should there be a need to access care.

There are also many non-profit organizations that can help negotiate medical bills, find more affordable care and help link you to local reduced-cost medical support.

Find Help – Directory of local support options for medical needs and more.

HealthWell Foundation – Offer financial assistance to make critical medical treatments more affordable.

The Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation – Help with out-of-pocket medical costs.

The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC) – Search and find a local free or charitable medical clinic near you.

Go Fund Me – Social fundraising platform that can collect donations from people willing to directly support you.

If you need further assistance, please feel free to message me if you find yourself in “The Gap” and I’m happy to find you some additional resources.

Paying for Medication Without Insurance

If you have daily medication needs, there are many programs that can help you continue to afford your medication. The Patient Advocate Foundation has a good overview of options.

Generic drugs are always cheaper than brand name ones so if you are taking a brand name drug and there is a generic available, asking your doctor for a new prescription could be a way of instantly saving some money on your medication.

Cost Plus – Mark Cuban’s drug company that sells generic medication at cost + fixed 15% profit margin.

GoodRx – A well-known prescription drug discount program

NeedyMeds – A website dedicated to helping you reduce your medication costs.

RX Assist & RX Hope – Both are directories of pharmaceutical Patient Assistance Programs and information on how to apply for support.

Verywell Health also has an overview of other prescription drug discount programs.

Review Your Budget

By this point you’ll have a better idea of your income (unemployment + potential Government benefits) and healthcare costs. Next stop is life expenses.

You will want a clear understanding of how much it costs you to live – housing payment (include utilities), home/rental/car insurance, phone payment, loan payments (car/credit card/personal loan/etc.), healthcare, food, basic shopping needs (personal care products/household products).

You’ll then want to add about 3-5% of your expenses as a cushion so that you can handle some budget variability.

Handling Consumer Loan Payments

If you think you’ll need support handling your mortgage, start that conversation BEFORE you miss a payment. Sometimes lenders will let you just pay the interest on a loan, others may let you pause payments. For mortgages it’s called forbearance.

You can also work with your car loan lender to discuss payment modification options.

If you have credit card balances, see if you can balance transfer them to a 0% APR card or fix the interest rate on a portion of the balance. Some cards now have programs where you can fix the interest rate on large purchases which could save you interest, thus reducing your payments.

Balance transfers often have fees so check to see how much interest you spending on the current card vs. the amount you are paying to transfer the balance.

If you have an outstanding 401(k) loan with your employer, it will need to be paid back shortly after your job loss. You will need to have a plan to handle this if you are in this situation. The plan often includes taking on other debt to pay off the loan or borrowing from family.

If you need help paying your bills there are organizations that may be able to assist you, especially with housing and utility payments.

If you are having trouble paying the rent, it can get tricky as you really need to review your lease and see what your options are. Sometimes rental agreements cover hardships and other times they don’t.

There are also Emergency Rental Assistance Programs that can also provide temporary rental payment support. For more on finding help in your area, check out Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s website. For non-profit based support, check out Rent Assistance’s website.

Take a look at what’s left and see if anything has to be added to the expense amount or if you can cut out the expense without issue (as in you do not have a contractual obligation to pay the expense).

Student Loans Payments

See if you can defer any student loan payments or just pay the interest while you’re unemployed (loan forbearance). Many loan programs have hardship clauses that will allow you to modify the amount you pay while you are experiencing hardship. Keep in mind that interest still accrues on the loan.

You will need reach out to your student loan servicer and see what your options are.

Childcare & Private School Obligations

Many childcare facilities, especially those that identify as “schools,” and private K-12 schools contractually obligate families to pay the full annual tuition, often in monthly/quarterly installments.

This means that they do not provide refunds or credits in the event of a job loss. Some may be willing to work with you to reduce payments during the job loss period but if you are in this situation, it’s best to reach out quickly and see what accommodations the childcare center or school can make.

Take Stock of Savings & Income

Hopefully you have some savings available as you’ll likely need to it complement your unemployment benefits.

You’ll want to think about the cost of any credit you take on, the current interest rate on your savings, and rate of return on any investments.

So for instance, if your credit card carries a 22% interest rate and your savings account earns 2%, it makes more sense for you to use your savings instead of paying 22% interest on your credit card.

If you have Certificates of Deposits (CDs) that you want to cash out early, check the penalities on them.

Investments

If you sell your investments, you’re missing out on any potential gains that the money could earn and may have to pay tax and/or penalties on the amount you withdraw. If you have investments in a non-retirement accounts you also lose the potential dividend payments.

You really only want to sell investments if you are absolutely out of options meaning your cash savings is gone and you do not have any reasonable interest rate credit options.

One strategy is to only sell investments that are already in a loss position which means you can deduct the loss from your taxes, helping you actually save some money as well.

If you have a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k) you can withdraw contributions (what you paid into the Roths, not the gains) anytime, without penalty.

You can also do a 401(k) rollover and use the money as a 60 day float before it needs to be deposited into an IRA. If you aren’t able to deposit the full amount by 60 days, you’ll have to pay taxes on the withdrawn amount. There are also limits on the number of times you can do a rollover.

This solution carries a lot of risk and requires a lot of very well executed paperwork.

Borrowing from your employer sponsored 401(k) likely will not be an option as they will not have the ability to reduce your paychecks to pay back the loan. If you have 401(k)s at old employers, the same issue applies. You might be able to qualify for a hardship withdrawal.

If you are older than age 55, you also have a few more options for tapping your retirement savings early.

The Financial Planning Association offers a comprehensive guide to help you financially navigate a job loss.

In general, if you are considering selling investments it would be wise to work with a professional financial advisor, many of whom offer their services as a fee-only contract. Getting their opinion could end up saving you money even though you’ll have to spend some to get their advice.

Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) and Chartered Financial Consultants (ChFC) are two types of fee-only advisors I’d recommend contacting. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors also has a directory as does the Garrett Planning Network.

Important takeaways for handling your money are:

  • Reduce expenses as much as possible
  • Keep a careful eye on your loan interest rates
  • Use liquid savings first
  • Sell investments only as an absolute last resort (ideally with help of a professional advisor)

Consider Flexible Income

It might be really nice to pick up a gig, freelance or part-time work while your job searching. States vary a lot in how working a side hustle impacts your full unemployment benefits so you will really want to take a look at your state’s rules for how extra work impacts unemployment pay.

Generally, you’ll want to make sure that you are making less in supplemental income than you are in unemployment benefits. For some states though, any amount of money you make as supplemental income directly reduces your benefits.

Other states may offer partial unemployment benefits but it may be difficult to quality.

What kinds of activities offer supplemental income?

  • Caregiving (babysitting)
  • Tutoring (school subjects including foreign language)
  • Pet care
  • Freelancing (writing, graphic design, book keeping)
  • Teaching (fitness class, dance class, sports)
  • Task work
  • Shopping services
  • Cooking/cleaning services

Protect Your Mental Health

The average length of unemployment (August 2022) is 28 weeks.

Mental health is often one of the first things to be impacted by job loss. This is totally understandable because your life just dramatically changed and you’re trying to cope with a lot of added stress.

You can protect your mental health by:

  • Setting a daily routine and getting yourself on a schedule
  • Adding in a daily ritual such as a morning walk or afternoon tea
  • Keeping a to-do list with Life Care activities such as: chores, exercise, cleaning, yard work, and anything else that need to get done around the house that you can check off and feel a sense of accomplishment.
  • Finding some time to unwind, relax, and recharge especially if your job was stressful. This can include free activities such as journaling, connecting with nature, reading, adult coloring books, exercise, etc.
  • Being social – Connect with friends or family, look into free community events (local library or community centers often have events), hang out at a local library or coffee shop, engage on social media networking sites.
  • Doing something fun – Think about having one splurge, maybe a trip, a dinner at a nice restaurant, an outing, an activity, etc. that gives you something to look forward to and that you know you’ll enjoy.
  • Picking a celebration prize – Have something in mind that you’re going to do/buy when you get hired into your new job.

I’d also like to challenge you to make space to thrive during this time. This isn’t me ignoring the suck and the discomfort of a job loss – it is hard!

It is me reminding you that life can be more than hard work and suck – the other side of the coin is ease and joy. Can you make some space for that too?

Can you see if there is any point in time where you might *enjoy* life without your job?

Maybe getting extra sleep, spending time with your family or friends, getting space to recover and recharge and get to know yourself? Might there be pleasure in those things?

When there’s a job loss, many of us grieve. It’s normal and expected. For most of us, our jobs are a huge part of our identity and sense of self-worth.

What if this job loss gives you an opportunity to un-couple from that perspective?

What if the job loss is actually an invitation to define yourself on your own terms? Get to meet yourself without someone else’s expectations?

The ability to have time for self-reflection can be viewed as a gift – an opportunity to design a life that is yours and not dictated by someone else.

You get to define your version of success. You get to define how much money you need to thrive. You get to decide what you value, what your priorities are and what boundaries you have.

This job loss gives you the space to do all of that – if you let it.

I am not denying that you still need to work on finding a new job and that will take time. But what if you carved out some time just for you?

What would you thriving look like right now?

Get to Know Yourself

Job loss can be a powerful tool in hitting the career reset button – for the better. It starts by really getting to know who you are, what you value, and what all of you can offer the world.

When we bring all of ourselves to work, and not just parts of ourselves, we create a career (and income stream) that will last.

How?

When we deny parts of ourselves and hide them from our employers, we constantly have to expend energy masking them. At some point in time, we’ll get tired and let that hidden part slip.

When people realize that someone isn’t being authentic, they lose trust.

Establishing trusting relationships is one of the strongest foundations on which to build a successful career.

So how to you establish trusting relationships? You get to know yourself.

I like to start with personality assessments because they are often free and offer some quick insights into one’s personality. Many assessments also offer up keywords that can be used in resumes or help you identify key strengths which can be discussed in interviews.

16 Personalities – This test is rooted in Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the free version provides a good overview of your personality type and characteristics. It’s a great starting point to dive into learning more about who you are as a person.

DiSC – A great way to better understand how you respond to conflict, manage stress, communicate with others and solve problems. It’s a nice complement to the MBTI test.

Strength Finders 2.0 – You will want to grab the book which includes an access code for the online test. The more affordable test will give you your top 5 strengths and the book contains detailed descriptions of them and how harness them in your career conversations.

How to Fascinate  – This is one of the only tests that focuses on how other people perceive you which can be very helpful for interviewing and personal branding. You are given several keywords that you can use in your resume or when talking to better communicate the value your personality adds.

Skills Inventory Assessment – Need help narrowing down your top skills? This assessment can help capture both technical and soft skills that jobs and interviewers often require. You’ll also want to research the top skills mentioned in resumes for your particular job title. Here’s a general list of some top skills recruiters are looking for on people’s resumes.

Enneagram – This test is gaining traction in business after being used personally for years. It complements the other tests and offers more detailed personality descriptions, especially areas that can be improved to deepen your connection with others.

Human Design – I hesitate to put this on here, however, it provided me personally with a lot of insight. Founded in astrology principles, it provides a guide to better understanding you are based on your place and time of birth. Take what works for you, leave the rest.

Who Am I? Inquiry – There are a few ways of approaching this. The ones that I am most familiar with are the exploring this question through Christian principles of prayer and connection to God and/or the Buddhist way of finding Zen through a series of questions.

Values Exercise – As a companion to the Who Am I? inquiry or perhaps as a substitute, figuring out your values and priorities can be really helpful in creating a life you love and feel fulfilled by. I personally like the One Core Values Deck for exploring my values and those of the people around me. Psychology Today has a good post on 6 Ways to Discover and Choose Your Core Values, as does Mind Tools.

For other test ideas, see AARP’s Take These Tests to Find Your New Job.

Volunteer

There are so many ways that you can volunteer within your community and remotely.

Volunteering helps you network, gives you a place to showcase your skills, and provides a sense of accomplishment.

Skills-based volunteering can also be done remotely. I have personally worked with Taproot Foundation and Catchafire and really enjoyed my skill-based volunteering experiences.

There are also non-profit Board Positions that are available. This can be a great way to grow your personal brand, gain leadership skills, improve soft skills and really make a difference in the organization and the community it serves. For general information on how to find non-profit Board positions, see BoardSource’s article.

The Idealist website also has volunteer opportunities available and Volunteer Match can help you find local in-person volunteering opportunities.

Volunteering can be a great way to break up your job loss period, grow new skills to add to your resume, find a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction by helping others.

Manage Your Job Search

The first thing that you’ll want to do is consider setting a schedule for your job search. It might be tempting to work all hours or odd hours looking for a new job but that’s usually not sustainable.

Treat your job search just like you would be going to work – set hours, with a clear focus.

Start with a Job Search Strategy

You’ll want to first grab your old resume and give it an update. Many libraries offer free resume reviews, cover letter assistance and interview prep so you’ll want to check to see if your local library offers such services.

  • Consider using a spreadsheet to capture all relevant skills and experiences and then add/remove items to tailor resumes to specific jobs.
  • Think about keywords that describe your strengths, skills and experience.
  • Look into tips and template ideas.

If you are really stumped, a resume writer can help you format and improve your resume. The Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches has a directory of Certified Resume Writers and here’s an overview of other resume writing businesses.

Plan Your Next Career Move

Next you’ll want to start thinking about your next career step.

What did you like about your old job and company? What did you not like? What kinds of things do you want in your next job?

Getting an idea of what your ideal next job looks like and dream employer can help you find it. I do believe in the power of manifestation so if you get really clear on what you want, I truly believe that your mind will help you achieve it.

The exercise also helps you get clear on what to look for and what you’ll want to pass on. Yes, you may not have the luxury of being picky, but taking any job for the sake of having one often does not end well in the long-term.

This is where LinkedIn can be really helpful in terms of researching peoples’ careers and companies that are doing interesting things. I have spent hours before just browsing company job postings to see what words they use and then scroll through employee profiles to see what words they use to help me better tailor and target my search.

I also like checking Glassdoor and reading company reviews. The reviews often sway negative (people who are really happy generally don’t take extra steps to leave reviews) but you can get a better understanding of benefit options and company culture.

Being active on LinkedIn by sharing your experience, knowledge and expertise can also help you get noticed by employers looking to hire (especially recruiters).

Commenting and engaging on other people’s posts also can bring more people to your profile and potentially spark new conversations.

Finding a few companies where you might want to work and reaching out to some of their employees for an informational interview can be a great way to learn more. Justin Welsh has a great article on how to build relationships on social media.

Find Jobs

You likely are already using the large job search engines such as Indeed, Monster, and LinkedIn but there are often smaller job search engines which have fewer applicants meaning less competition.

I really like Flex Jobs which hosts flexible and remote-friendly opportunities. You do have to pay to be a member and apply to jobs on their site but I can often find promo codes via a Google search which greatly reduce the price.

Colleges also often have their own private job boards and being alumni gives you access.

Libraries also often offer free job searching support and interviewing preparation.

And there are many others.

Ideally it’s helpful to narrow down a few companies that you are targeting and see what opportunities they have available and sign-up to be notified of any new postings.

If you’re in the non-profit sector, check out Foundation’s List of 24 Job Boards that specialize in non-profit sector jobs.

When you are searching, it’s helpful to have a few job title keywords or key job responsibilities that you’re wanting to match with. For instance, someone who is looking for a data analyst may search for “data analyst” or “data” or the name of the computer software that they use to work with data.

I also like to keep a spreadsheet listing every job I applied to which includes:

  • The job title
  • The company name
  • A link to the job posting
  • Any job requisition number (makes it easier to find later if the link breaks)
  • The date I applied
  • Which resume I used to apply
  • Where I found the job posting
  • Name and email address of anyone at the company who makes contact with me

Interviewing & Offer Negotiating

When interviewing it’s really important to control the narrative. That means anticipating what questions an interviewer will ask you about your specific situation and have a plan for how you will respond.

Anything that stands out to you on your resume or is uncomfortable for you to answer likely will get asked. Be sure to have a response ready and have a question that you might be able to ask the interviewer to move the conversation along.

Such a situation as: “I noticed that you have a gap in your resume, care to share why?

You could follow it up with: “Yes, I was let go as part of a larger company restructuring and it was not related to my job performance. I gained valuable experience in that role and others, could I tell you about how my experience relates to the (specific job function, i.e. project management) responsibility of this job?”

I also really enjoy A Power Mood’s content on Instagram for scripts on how to handle tricky interview questions.

There are a few options that provide free or low-cost, online mock interviews where you can practice and receive feedback on your interviewing skills. One such tool that covered both non-verbal and verbal responses was Interview Focus.

Let me know if you try any of these, I’d be curious to hear about your experience.

Glassdoor also provides an Interview Questions Tool that provides both general interview questions and company specific interview questions.

Lastly, be sure to have company-specific follow-up questions prepared. These often come at the end of the interview session and open with: “Is there anything else you’d like to know?”

Make sure you have at least a question or two that shows interest in the people interviewing your or the company.

You can follow-up with questions such as:

  • What’s one thing that you enjoy about working at XYZ company?
  • How do you deal with office conflicts?
  • How would you describe the corporate culture?
  • What is one struggle that you see the company facing in the next 3 years?

For more general tips, check out Career Toolbelt’s list of Free Interview Practice Tools.

How to Negotiate Your Offer

Yes, you can still negotiate your offer even when unemployed! The most important tip is to not create a situation where you give the potential employer an ultimatum: they either accept your counteroffer or you don’t take the job.

PayScale.com offers some useful tips on how to avoid that situation.

How do you negotiate without issuing an ultimatum?

It really comes down to having done some salary research and understanding your value to the employer. Glassdoor can be a place to check for salary ideas, googling job titles and looking at jobs that list salary, looking at Bureau of Labor Statistics for super general occupational salaries.

Salary.com also has salary information for specific job titles.

If you’re willing to pay for a compensation report, you can do that at SHRM and download a report that’s backed by Salary.com data and tailored to your job title. This is the same kind of report that professionals use to assign salaries.

Here’s a sample of what that paid report looks like, it’s pretty similar to the free version but does add a few additional insights. You will really want to be clear on what job title you are targeting if purchasing the paid report as it only allows you to select one job title.

Aside from salary, you can get creative about negotiating other benefits that may make the offer more attractive such as a flexible schedule, signing bonus, higher leave category to start, etc.

Worst case if you really don’t feel comfortable negotiating the salary at the start, ask for a performance and salary review after 6 months. That opens the door for a conversation about an increase and gives you an opportunity to really showcase the additional value you bring.

For more on negotiating a salary after a job loss or gap, see Monster.com for tips.

Handling Rejection

I understand that being told “no thank you” can hurt. Ghosting, where no one even responds, can also be super uncomfortable.  It’s really hard not to take it personally.

It’s also really important to understand that hiring is actually a business transaction. The company pays you and you complete the work they ask you to complete.

If you get a personalized “no thank you” response, see if the person might be able to give you feedback on why you weren’t selected. The majority of the time they won’t but you might find someone who will and that feedback can be very valuable.

As hard as it may be, try to maintain a positive attitude and hold out hope that you will find a job, and it will be awesome. I am holding this hope for you!

Keep in mind that there are thousands of reasons why you may not be hired for a position and they have nothing to do with you. You are worthy of finding work and the more that you believe that, I truly believe that the work will find you.

Celebrate Your New Job

It’s likely been a good bit of time and a lot of hard work so when you’re finally hired somewhere, celebrate it!

If you wrote down a celebration prize when you first started your journey, take this opportunity as a time to do it!

I also recommend writing down any tips, tricks and wisdom that you gained from your job loss journey. These can be powerful reminders of how much you’ve grown and learned during this time. They can also help you in the future conduct a faster job search if you decide to switch jobs.

These tips can also be shared in your network to help someone else!

If this guide helped you at all, please consider supporting me by sharing it with your network and/or buying me a coffee below. I’d love your support!

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Disclaimer: The information contained within this page is educational in nature and nothing within this page should be taken as medical or financial advice, as it is not medical or financial advice. You should always work directly with a licensed Healthcare Provider or a Certified Financial Professional to discuss and address any of your health-related or financial-related questions, concerns and needs. Please read the full disclaimer in the footer of this website for more information.

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