Unemployed

When it comes to knowing what to do when you lose your job, UK workers can commonly find themselves at a bit of a loss.

The shock of losing your primary stream of income can upset the proverbial apple cart significantly, leaving you with quite the pulpy mess to clean up in the aftermath.

If you've been unfortunate enough to find yourself in that situation, don't throw the towel in just yet. There is light at the end of the tunnel...

 

"I've lost my job - what do I do?"

While you may feel like curling up under the covers and shutting yourself away from the world in the wake of losing your job, try to resist the temptation to withdraw into your shell.

It's unlikely you're going to find new employment while you're sat in your SpongeBob undies, eating cereal from the box and watching re-runs of Friends, so try to stay positive and be proactive.

Turn those hard times into a fresh start with these five easy steps to make your journey back to the top that much easier.

 

Get What You Pay For

Claiming unemployment benefits in the UK is a sensitive subject for many, bringing with it the unwarranted negative stigma that commonly surrounds them.

That being said, unemployment benefits are a right every UK citizen is entitled to and you shouldn't feel bad for getting something that your taxes pay for.

What's more, claiming benefits also allows the government to continue paying your National Insurance contributions during your time between jobs.

Depending on your circumstances, you will likely be eligible to apply for either Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) or Universal Credit to help contribute towards your living costs.

You may also be able to apply for Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI), which comes in the form of a loan and helps pay towards the interest on your mortgage.

 

Budget Wisely

Most recruitment specialists agree that a typical job hunt will take around three months to complete, from the end of the previous employment to the start of the next.

Three months can be a long time to go without an income, particularly if you weren't given any kind severance or redundancy pay-out on your way out the door of your last job.

As such, the importance of budgeting during this time cannot be overstated. Cut back on unnecessary outgoings and try to streamline your spending to the bare minimum.

Paying for an unused gym membership? Cancel it ASAP. Eating out regularly? Brush up on those cooking skills. Smoking your way into debt? Ditch the cigarettes. Etc, etc, etc.

While it may be a shock to the system initially, switching up your living habits will go a long way in ensuring your finances stretch further.

 

Update Your CV

Now that your finances are relatively structured for the weeks ahead, it's time to focus on the task at hand - getting a new job.

Whether you had been in your last job for several years or a matter of months, updating your CV should be your first port of call.

Gaps in employment naturally raise questions with employers so be sure to add your latest working exploits to your working history.

A CV is essentially your own personal shop window for you to display your skills and experience for passing employers, so treat it as such.

Make sure it's presentable, well-constructed and don't waste space superfluously. Ensure it's loaded with key selling points unique to you.

When it comes to applying for specific roles, you may want to tailor your CV for individual jobs by highlighting key skills relevant to particular vacancies. The same applies to your cover letter.

Read the person specification carefully and include key terms and phrases mentioned in the job description. This will help you stand out as a suitable candidate that ticks the necessary boxes.

 

Secure References

During your job hunt, your quest for employment and, more specifically, the application process that comes along with it will likely include requests for professional references.

Depending on how you left your last job, you may want to include a trusted figure from your latest job as a referee. This provides any would-be employers with an up-to-date account of your skills from those that have worked with you most recently.

When choosing a referee, think about what kind of reference they may provide. A co-worker will be able to provide an accurate depiction of your character and work ethic, while a manager may be able to give a better reflection of your achievements and results.

 

Prepare for Interview

Inevitably, your job hunt will eventually call for you to attend an interview at some point down the line. As such, it pays to be prepared.

While the 21st century is more liberal than ever, presentation is still an important factor at interview, so dress to impress. An un-ironed band t-shirt and yesterday's jeans won't cut the mustard.

It's also worth getting your story straight with regards to your last job. The "why did you leave your last job?" question is a common, if not slightly awkward one, so prepare your narrative beforehand.

When you do secure an interview, be sure to do your homework on the company your interviewing for, as well as the role. Lack of preparation is a tell-tale sign of a nonchalant attitude, which is rarely an attribute desired by employers.

 

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