Finding yourself unexpectedly unemployed can be a frightening situation. You’ll get through it, though, and we’re here to help you with these seven tips.

Finding yourself unexpectedly unemployed can be a frightening situation.

You start to worry that you won’t have money to pay the bills. You start to wonder if you’ll ever be able to find another job. You start to feel more stress and more self-doubt than you’ve experienced before.

But being unemployed can happen to anyone for any reason at any time. It doesn’t mean you’re not a good worker or that you’ll be forever unemployable. It just means you’ll have to take action to get yourself back on track.

Ready to get out of your unemployed slump? Here’s what to do if you’re suddenly without a job:

Research Unemployment Benefits

If you’ve been laid off, you may be eligible for unemployment. Take some time to research your options and see if you are eligible to collect benefits. Unemployment benefits don’t last forever, but they can help you get through a few rough months while you look for new work.

If you are eligible, file your applications and paperwork immediately. Claims take time to process, so be swift in filling out and submitting your forms.

It’s important to research health insurance benefits as well.

Depending on the type of health insurance you had with your employer, you may or may not be able to maintain your coverage. Don’t let your health insurance lapse. Take the necessary steps to get private health insurance, at least until new health insurance benefits kick in at your next job.

Update Your Resume

If you’re unemployed, you sort of already have a new job, and that’s to find your next paid position.

Before you start researching job opportunities, take some time to update your resume and your LinkedIn profile.

Be sure to include the details of your last position. Update your career summary. Include action words and keywords that make your resume more relevant to the positions you’ll be applying for.

Search Job Boards for New Employment Opportunities

With your new resume polished to perfection, it’s time to start searching for a new position. Scour listings and sign up for notifications from online career boards such as Indeed, SimplyHired, and LinkedIn.

It’s also a good idea to brush up on your interview skills.

Once you start submitting your resume to potential employers, you should be ready to interview and start a new job immediately.

Get your interview outfit ready. Research the companies you’ve applied to in order to create a list of interview questions that you can ask the interviewer. And always be willing to accept an interview at a moment’s notice.

The more time that passes between jobs, the harder it can be to land a new position.

Network

If you’re unemployed, you have plenty of downtime, and you should spend some of that time networking.

Reach out to former colleagues. Connect with people in your LinkedIn network to see if they know of any opportunities that might be right for you. Make new contacts to expand your network both in person and virtually.

The more people you can meet and connect with, the more leads to more jobs you’ll have.

Reduce Your Expenses

The scariest thing about being unemployed is the uncertainty of being able to pay the bills.

If you’re not earning money, you’ll need to spend less, and there are several fairly easy ways to do so without having to alter your entire lifestyle.

One thing you can do is to contact your lenders to see if they offer deferment plans for mortgages and loans. Putting your biggest monthly bills on deferment can ease your mind and keep more money in your bank account so you don’t have to drain your savings.

Another way to cut back on your spending is to eliminate your discretionary expenses. Dining out at restaurants, online shopping, and weekend trips should all be put on hold until you start earning a paycheck again.

It can be hard to do, but when you’re unemployed, you have to cut back on spending wherever and however you can.

Practice Self-Care

Don’t let unemployment get the better of you. Take a deep breath and make a point to stay sane and stay calm.

Unemployment can happen to the best workers at the most inopportune times. It’s not a reason to beat yourself up, and it’s not a reason to sink into depression.

The stress of not working can increase anxiety and self-doubt, so be sure to carve out some time for relaxation.

Learn how to meditate. Start practicing yoga. Read a few books. Relaxing your mind actually helps you to focus. The more focused you are, the more motivated you’ll be to get back to work.

Find Small Opportunities to Earn Money

Finding a new full-time job can take time, but you can take on flexible, part-time gigs to pay the bills.

Drive for Lyft, walk dogs, deliver food for GrubHub, or work from home as a virtual assistant. Take this time to declutter your closet and make some extra cash selling your unwanted items on eBay, Etsy, or Poshmark.

If you have professional skills that you can do virtually, start looking for part-time freelance gigs on sites like Upwork or Freelancer. These sites are ideal for people with skills in graphic design, writing, marketing, social media, and tech.

Employers don’t like to see gaps in employment, so be sure to include part-time work and freelance gigs on your resume, even if you’ve only been doing it for a few weeks.

Conclusion

Don’t let unemployment scare you. Instead, use it as motivation to find an even better job than the one you had before.

Create a brand new resume, network like crazy, and search for new jobs right away.

Reduce your expenses, apply for unemployment benefits if you’re eligible, and look for part-time jobs or gigs to supplement your income.

Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you “deserve” some time off. It’s normal to want to take a few days off to recuperate from the shock of being out of work, but don’t let too much time pass by. Until you land a new position, your new (unpaid) job is doing whatever it takes to find a lucrative one!

Caitlin Sinclair is the Property Manager at The Charlie Orange County with five years of property management experience and many more in Customer Service. She shares her passion for her community and looks forward to making The Charlie the place to call home.