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Manage Job Loss
By Meridith Apfelbaum
If you have just become unemployed, you are probably dealing with a lot of different feelings right now, one of them being anxiety about your next steps. We understand that you may be wondering how you are going to make ends meet and what you are going to do next to get your career back on track. Here are some steps you can take to ease your anxiety and make you feel more in control.
Address immediate practical concerns
Find out if you are eligible for government unemployment benefits. Determine how long your financial resources will last and find out how to maintain your health care benefits. Most likely, you will be able to purchase benefits through COBRA (The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) also protects your right to health insurance coverage if you lose your job.
Evaluate and strengthen transferable skills
Consider using your skill sets in a different sector. For example, someone who possesses finance and banking skills can market themselves toward a finance position in the health care, high tech, or media sectors. The Occupational Information Network is a helpful online tool that illustrates skill sets for a variety of positions.
Consider changing careers
If layoffs are rampant in your field, you may want to consider making a change to a field that is growing, or is at least stable. A helpful place to start your research on this topic is Hiatt's article, Time for A Change: Switching Careers, featuring timely resources and tips.
Research possible occupations
If you would like to change careers, find out what occupation you want to pursue. Hiatt offers a very helpful online resource to get you started with the self-assessment process called TypeFocus. The site password for Brandeis Alumni is: BU78. We strongly recommend that you schedule an appointment with our alumni counselor to discuss your results.
Update application materials
Review your resume, compose cover letters and review your job interviewing skills. For assistance with updating your self-marketing documents, check out Hiatt’s How To pages.
Network, network, network
Tell your networking contacts about your current employment status in case they have leads. B Connect – Brandeis’s online alumni networking community is a great place to start. You can access B Connect through Brandeis’ Alumni Association page.
LinkedIn is another great resource to identify Brandeis alumni in your field. If you are an active LinkedIn member, simply use the advanced search feature to look up alumni by keyword (e.g. Brandeis), company and/or industry. Also, consider joining the Brandeis University Career Connections group.
Meet with a Hiatt staff member
You may also need professional help with your decision making process and how to best prepare your self-marketing materials. Contact the Hiatt Career Center at (781) 736-3618 to schedule an in-person, phone or Skype appointment with a career counselor.
Acknowledge that you are in a very stressful situation, and being upset, or even angry, is normal. Take a little break to evaluate your situation, and be kind to yourself.