Press 1 Once and Other Tips for Navigating the Unemployment Process by Raz

Unemployment Rate Jumped To Four-Year High, originally uploaded by greatcreation.

Now that other PoP contributors have shared their unemployment, I will as well. I ironically was laid off a few weeks after starting my Recessionista series.

If you are unemployed or think your job is in jeopardy, here are some tips based on my experience these past weeks.

  • Fix up your resume and start putting out feelers. Update and polish up your resume, and start talking to people in your field.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask. It never hurts to ask people for things. You’d be surprised at the positive response. When I meet interesting people at networking events, I ask them to meet and tell me more about what they do. I mostly want to better understand what they do, what the skills are, and how they got there, but many of them gave me job leads or introductions to other people.
  • Press 1 Once. At least in Maryland (I worked in Maryland and you file for unemployment where your office is), there are no in-person unemployment offices; everything is done on the phone or online. I had further questions and needed to speak with a person. I had called about 20 times and never received a person on the other end when I followed the prompt. I went to what I thought was the unemployment office in Wheaton (it is actually just a job resources center) and was told that if you only press 1 once, and do not follow the prompt, you will get a person on the line. That was probably the best tip I’ve received so far. After using this strategy, I got a person on the line and had my questions answered and problems resolved.
  • Attend to Your Back-burner To-Do List. Like Tina talked about in her Jolt-n-Bolt review, this is a great time to do all the things you never had time for when you were working. Continues after the jump.
  • Stay Busy and Get out of the House. I try to make one daytime plan and one evening plan everyday. I’ve been going to a lot of museums, meeting friends for lunch and coffee and walking around. I also exercise and volunteer a lot.
  • Work Your Brand. Treat yourself like a business you are promoting. Make a card for yourself to hand out at networking events ($30 for 100 at Staples), make a blog highlighting your work (depending on your field), etc.
  • Network, network, network. Get out and meet people. All of my interviews so far have come from personal connections. There are a ton of networking events around town – look into trade associations, alumni associations and industry networking events. I try to go to one a week.
  • Follow-Up. After the networking events and interviews, follow-up with the people you met. Ideally email them within 48 hours.

Ed. Note: Obviously these tips may not apply to all particularly if you have a family and/or have been out of work for a long time, so relax Dave. Does anyone else have some suggestions or tips?

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