Laid off? Five Things to Do Right Away

1. File for unemployment. See the Young Money article “Everything You Need to Know about Unemployment” for, well, everything you need to know about unemployment.

2. Start looking for a new job. Network—talk to everyone you know and tell them you are looking for work. Your job search should become your new full-time job. Set goals for yourself and keep them. Search the job sites daily, send letters of interest to companies that you want to work for, and keep a record of everything you do and every place you apply. This will help you from sending the same company your resume and when you do get an interview it will help you remember every correspondence you’ve had with that company.

3. Update your resume. Add your last job to your resume. Be clear, concise, and focused. Try to keep your resume one page—don’t go above two pages. Update your list of references and let them know they might be getting calls. Make sure you are ready for that new job. If you haven’t had to interview for a few years make sure that you have an interview suit that fits. If you have to buy a new one choose a classic cut that will never go out of style.

4. Get health insurance. If you had health insurance with your job then you should get papers for COBRA. COBRA is a continuation of your health care, except now you will be paying the full amount. However, it should still be cheaper then individual health care. And you don’t want to be without health care—one unexpected accident and you could burn through your savings and be accumulating debt in no time. While you have some free time start a new exercise program and begin eating healthy. This will help you deal with the stress of being unemployed and save you money—getting sick can cost a lot in medication and co-pays. For more information about COBRA:

5. Cut out the extras.
This means cancel what you don’t need. Cable TV is a good place to start (plus then you won’t be tempted to waste good job searching time in front of the television). Eat at home. Clip coupons. In short, cut every non-essential cost from your life.

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