Laid Off? 5 Steps to Get You Back On Your Feet
Take Advantage of a New and Powerful Era of Communication
The U.S. economy lost an eye-popping 540,000 jobs in January alone, making it likely you or someone you know has become a victim of the tanking economy and swelling unemployment.
But the worst time to panic is when you are laid off and lose your main source of income. We live in a new and powerful era of communication, one where we can find support, gather news, and network without ever leaving our computers.
With that said, the following websites have been pulled together by Mashable.com to serve as an excellent resource for anybody who has lost their job and is looking to get back on their feet again.
Step 1: Find Support and Recover
eHow: eHow has a massive collection of articles that can help you learn everything from how to support a laid off spouse to how to claim unemployment benefits.
About.com: Job Searching: About has a similar set of articles, but focuses more on tasks such as acquiring unemployment benefits and how to file for them.
LaidOffCamp: LaidOffCamp is a movement to bring anyone who has lost their job or is self-employed together to discuss topics that are important to the laid off – living on tight budgets, becoming a freelancer, and more. The first LaidOffCamp is in San Francisco on March 3rd.
Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration: The DOL’s first resource for those laid off, it outlines ways to get benefits, provides fact sheets, and gives you contact information for your state. It’s a good resource.
I’m in like with you: Seriously, relieve the stress by playing games for a few hours and indulging in the fun.
PlentyofFish and Okcupid: You need to get your mind off of losing your job and get out of the house and meet people. If you’re single, there is no better way than dating. PlentyofFish and Okcupid are both free dating services, making it cheap to find a date. Just make sure to pick an affordable date; I suggest a trip to the zoo.
Diddit: Now is the best time to pick up a hobby you’ve always wanted to do but never had time for. diddit is a relatively new social network for finding people who are doing the things you want to do. Use it to learn more or just find partners to go skydiving with.
Step 2: Manage Your Money and Stay Afloat
Careeronestop Unemployment Benefits Map: This map will link you to unemployment benefit information for your state.
Department of Labor Health and Retirement Benefits Toolkit: Another U.S. government website, this is the DoL’s job loss toolkit. It has fact sheets and publications on COBRA, pensions, and more.
Mint: Mint is a free budget management and finance tracking service. After connecting it with your online bank accounts and credit cards, you can see all of your financial activity and set budgets based on categories of spending. When you lose your income source, you need to be sure you are keeping on budget. Mint will even send an SMS if you go over your budget or have unusual charges.
Wesabe: Wesabe is similar to Mint in that it can track your finances by linking to your online finance accounts, but it also leverages its community to make recommendations and tips that can help save you money. Users can also share advice with the rest of the community by commenting on items.
Employment at SmartMoney.com: SmartMoney is a great resource for investing and managing your money. The Employment section specifically has videos, columns, and articles on starting your own business or surviving a layoff. It’s from the Wall Street Journal – it’s quality information.
Slickdeals: The popular deals website allows you to find discounts and freebies on a random assortment of items. When you’re in a crunch, every penny matters.
Step 3: Earn Short-term Cash
Craigslist: Even if you’re receiving unemployment checks and have a few months of savings to rely on, earning a couple of extra dollars can mean the difference between making rent and being in hot water. The #1 place to look is the world’s largest classified section, Craigslist.
Workstir: A newer website, Workstir allows you to find contract jobs near you. Everything from painting to web design can be requested, searched for, and accepted as work. Its Facebook Connect integration helps you search for gigs geographically.
HotGigs: HotGigs is a hub for freelance consultants and staffing firms. You can join, connect with contract firms, and even see information on average market rates for consultants in your industry.
Freelance Writing Jobs: Blog and write for some extra cash and get some added exposure as a bonus.
Step 4: Network, Network, Network!
LinkedIn: Start at the world’s largest professional network and start contacting everyone who might owe you a favor, be in debt to you, or fear your wrath. It’s time to let the world know that you’re looking.
Plaxo: One thing Plaxo does very well is contact management – it’s quick and simple to organize all of your business cards and contacts. Take the time to type them in and categorize them. Then email every contact you’ve got.
GarysGuide: Although most of us techies do our work from a computer, networking doesn’t always work that way. GarysGuide lists out tech events and gatherings in metropolitan areas. Start a system of attending at least two of these a week and shake hands with as many people as possible. You’re not going to find your next opportunity sleeping in late.
AllConferences: The same deal as GarysGuide; find conferences in your industry and attend them. If you’re low on cash to attend them, talk to the organizers and tell them about your situation, get yourself in as a speaker, or strike a deal to blog about the event with a news blog – you’d be surprised how easy it can be to get free conference passes if you put in some effort.
MeetUp: Even more networking homework for you, MeetUp is extraordinarily comprehensive in its listing of events and includes events for non-metropolitan areas.
Twitter: Oh yes, our favorite social media darling can also become your favorite networking darling in dire times. Primarily using Twitter, Bostoners were able to quickly organize a pink slip party. Use it to tell your followers you’re looking for a new opportunity, ask them to retweet, and then search twitter for relevant job keywords.
Step 5: Time to Hunt For a Job
Mashable’s Career Toolbox: One of my absolute favorite posts on Mashable is the Career Toolbox, a comprehensive listing and description of websites that can help you find a job and then land it. Start here when you’re looking for a job.
LinkUp and SimplyHired: Unlike most job sites, LinkUp and SimplyHired are aggregate search engines that search company and job websites for job postings and openings. This will give you an idea of openings in your industry and the general feel of what companies are looking for.
USAJOBS, DirectGov (UK), and Australian JobSearch: There are a lot of government websites that can help you directly search for a job, I’ve only listed three of the best examples here. With multi-billion dollar stimulus packages flying everywhere, there’s bound to be some government jobs.
Mashable’s Job Board: No list would be complete without the Mashable Job Board.