How Unemployment Works

Dealing with Job Loss

If your former company offers outplacement assistance, be sure to take advantage of it.
If your former company offers outplacement assistance, be sure to take advantage of it.

Losing a job can be one of the most stressful experiences a person goes through, especially if you're concerned about supporting a family. Try to maintain your perspective through this process, and use your available support system -- friends, family and mentors. Don’t close yourself off to them; now is a time to ask for help. You should also start looking for a new job immediately, consulting professional contacts, friends and former employers. Online job networking sites like LinkedIn can help you network with possible future employers and find leads, so make sure that your resume is up to date. Your old employer may also provide access to outplacement services to aid you in your job search.

When not looking for a job, stay active, and maintain hobbies and social activities. An active routine is good for maintaining mental health. Try using your job skills in a volunteer setting. You’ll be doing good for others, keeping your skills sharp, staying busy and feeling good in the process. You can also learn new skills and meet new people, which may lead to a job.

Be particularly careful with your finances during this time. Create a budget with your family, and stick to it. If you have debt, figure out how you’re going to afford your payments, and if you think you may run into trouble, consult a consumer credit counseling agency.

Finally, take care of your mental and physical health. Eat well and exercise to stay fit and lower stress. Get proper sleep, and stay away from drugs and alcohol. You can also join a support group, keep a journal or seek counseling. Most of all, take time to enjoy yourself (while keeping your budget in mind), and stay determined in your job search, following up on every possible lead.