10 Steps to Take After a Sudden Job Loss

March 21, 2020

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A job loss is never easy to deal with, but when the loss of a job is sudden and unexpected, it can be very difficult to cope with a range of emotions, financial obligations, and the daunting task of searching for a new job. If you lose your job during an economic downturn, it can be even more difficult to manage.

It may not seem like it, but there is hope and you will find work again. It’s important that you make a plan and start taking action to set your career and your life back on the right track. Here are a few of my top tips for coping after a sudden job loss and specific action steps for you to take.

#1 Apply for unemployment benefits.

When you lose your job, you also lose your main source of income. So, the first thing that you need to do is apply for unemployment benefits. The qualifications for benefits vary in each state, and the amount you are eligible for may not replace your income entirely, but any money can help you get back on your feet. You can apply online, and the process is quick and easy.

#2 Assess your financial resources.

The next thing that you need to do is assess your financial resources. Write out ALL of your monthly bills and financial obligations. Don’t forget to include expenses like groceries, medical expenses, medications, gas, and transportation. Write out a budget and cut out unnecessary expenses like dining out. Prioritize necessities like food and rent.

#3 Contact your creditors.

If there are any bills that you won’t be able to pay, contact your creditors and let them know that you have lost your job. Find out if you can defer any bill payments, or make alternative payment arrangements. Remember to stay calm on the phone and don’t get too discouraged by creditors that won’t work with you. Revise your financial plan after you’ve made any arrangements.

#4 Secure health insurance benefits.

This is an important but often overlooked step to take after a job loss. When you lose your job, you also lose access to your employer-paid health insurance plan and benefits. You may be eligible for coverage under COBRA that allows you to continue your coverage. Alternatively, you can apply for federal health programs or private insurance. Be sure to budget for additional help care expenses if you have to pay for the full cost of your coverage.

#5 Rewrite your resume and cover letter.

Now that you’ve taken care of your finances and your personal health, it’s time to prepare for your job search. Dust off your resume and rewrite it to match your current skillset and the type of job that you are looking for. Browse job descriptions for ideas, and list out your own skills. Consider purchasing a resume template from a site like Creative Market or hiring someone to help you update your resume if it’s within your budget to do so.

#6 Update your LinkedIn profile.

If you don’t have a profile on LinkedIn, you need to create one. LinkedIn is a professional networking site where you can connect with people in your industry. Your LinkedIn profile should be polished and you should use a professional headshot and list your skills, qualifications, and relevant work history. Many employers will use LinkedIn to find candidates and it’s also great for connecting with career contacts and searching job postings.

#7 Start applying for new jobs.

Now, it’s time for the most daunting task. The next step is for you to start applying for a new job. There are many reliable online sites to look for job openings like,, and Be sure to let people within your network know that you are looking for jobs, and be open to applying for a variety of jobs related to your skills. During an economic downturn, you need to be especially flexible during your job search.

#8 Listen to business and career podcasts.

During your job search, listen to business and career podcasts that can help you stay focused on your goals. Podcasts can help you learn about the latest trends, what interviewers are looking for, and how to answer questions in interviews. One YouTuber that I like to listen to for career information is Andrew LaCivita. His tips will help you land your dream job quickly, and his videos on YouTube are completely free!

#9 Consider freelance work and entrepreneurship.

If you’re out of work, you should consider freelance working and starting your own business as an entrepreneur! You can use the career skills you already have to pitch your services to clients. You can start freelancing or start an online business with relatively low start-up costs! You can also create digital products to sell online. The internet makes it very easy to find clients, so there is no better time to start your own business.

#10 Manage your mindset and practice self-care.

Stress can take a heavy toll on your body during a job search, so it’s important to manage your mindset and make time for self-care. You can do inexpensive things like take a walk, indulge in a hot bath, read a good book, or spend time journaling. If you are struggling with depression or difficulty coping with changes, you can should seek help from a medical professional.

Points to Remember

Even though times are tough, it won’t last forever! It’s important to take action to overcome and get back on track. Try to maintain an abundance mindset and believe that you will find work and you will be able to earn an income to support yourself and your family. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and seek support. You can download or pin the graphic below for quick access to these tips.

10 Steps to Take After a Job Loss Infographic by Debra Johnson

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