Manage Job Loss

If you have just become unemployed, you are probably dealing with a lot of different feelings right now, one of them being anxiety about your next steps. You may be wondering how you are going to make ends meet and what you are going to do next to get your career back on track. Here are some steps you can take to ease your anxiety and make you feel more in control.

Address immediate practical concerns

Find out if you are eligible for government unemployment benefits. Determine how long your financial resources will last and find out how to maintain your health care benefits. Most likely, you will be able to purchase benefits through COBRA (The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) also protects your right to health insurance coverage if you lose your job.

Evaluate and strengthen transferable skills

Consider using your skill sets in a different sector. For example, someone who possesses finance and banking skills can market themselves toward a finance position in the health care, high tech, or media sectors. The Occupational Information Network is a helpful online tool that illustrates skill sets for a variety of positions.

Consider changing careers

If layoffs are rampant in your field, you may want to consider making a change to a field that is growing, or is at least stable. A helpful place to start your research on this topic is the Change Careers page, featuring timely resources and tips.

Research possible occupations

If you would like to change careers, find out what occupation you want to pursue. Hiatt offers a very helpful online resource to get you started with the self-assessment process called TypeFocus. Access the site password for TypeFocus by logging in to Handshake > Resources. We strongly recommend that you schedule an appointment with our alumni counselor to discuss your results.

Update application materials

Review your resume, compose cover letters and review your job interviewing skills. For assistance with updating your self-marketing documents, check out the Elements of a Job Search section of the website.

Network, network, network

Tell your networking contacts about your current employment status in case they have leads. There are a number of tools to help you identify Brandeis alumni and other contacts in your field, including the Brandeis alumni directory in B Connect and Brandeis groups on LinkedIn. Learn more about finding and connecting with professional networking contacts.

Meet with a Hiatt staff member

You may also need professional help with your decision-making process and how to best prepare your self-marketing materials. Contact the Hiatt Career Center at (781) 736-3618 to schedule an in-person, phone or Skype appointment with a career counselor.

Acknowledge that you are in a very stressful situation, and being upset, or even angry, is normal. Take a little break to evaluate your situation, and be kind to yourself.

By Meridith Apfelbaum