• Thursday, June 20, 2024
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BusinessDay

Are you facing job loss?

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Job loss ranks as one of life’s most challenging events. No job is secure; one day you can plan with a steady income in mind; the next day the letter arrives, and you find yourself unemployed. For thousands of graduates, the job outlook looks grim, as having a degree is unlikely to translate to immediate employment.

Here are some practical steps that can improve your prospects should you find yourself in this position.

Remain Calm

When you think about all the looming expenses with no income, it is easy to despair. When you panic, you will tend to over-react and may take impulsive, drastic action. Try not to rush into any major financial decisions whilst you assess your situation; you need a clear positive outlook to be objective and proactive.

Do you have any savings?

How much money have you saved? How long will it last based on your monthly expenses? The importance of an emergency fund becomes glaring at times like this. If you have been able to set aside say 6 months of expenses in a money market account, you will be able to pay some of your bills and relieve some of the pressure while you look for new job.

What are your entitlements?

What do your full entitlements amount to? If you have no savings at all and you are fortunate enough to receive severance pay or other benefits, use this as a bridge to tide you over the difficult period. Be careful not to be lulled into complacency; continue with your job search or other income generating opportunity.

Revise your budget

Adjust your budget to suit your new circumstances. How much will it cost to maintain your family, your home and lifestyle? Keep family members informed so that expectations are adjusted all round. You don’t know when your next paycheck will come in so try to cut back on non-essential expenses. Don’t let your insurances lapse particularly your health and home insurance.

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Be cautious about borrowing

Try to avoid borrowing unless absolutely necessary and only for essential important that cannot be delayed. If you are unable to fulfill your financial obligations, such as your mortgage or car loan, contact your lenders immediately. It may be possible to negotiate new terms for a limited period of time. It is better to approach creditors than to fall behind with payments and risk the re-possession of your assets.

Update and circulate your CV

Send your updated CV to family, friends and ex-colleagues so that they have you in mind should any opportunities come up. Include all the talents, skills, education and experience you have and show potential employers what you have done. Apply for only positions that you are actually qualified for. Search in related fields to your actual educational qualification to boost your chances of finding something relevant to your skill set. Be truthful about your credentials and abilities; it will obvious during the interview or soon after you start work. Only include references that you know will speak well of you.

Network, network, network

It can be very tedious and disconcerting to send out several applications with little success. Whether yours was the only position that was cut, or an entire unit or department, the feelings caused by being laid off are largely the same regardless of the circumstances. Many people experience a loss of self-esteem, a sense of failure and even depression after retrenchment.

Try not to feel embarrassed or inadequate; don’t withdraw and let negative feelings keep you from job-hunting incessantly; you need your network now more than ever before to spread the word that you are in the job market. A positive attitude will enhance your prospects. Don’t give up.

Seek alternative sources of income

To increase your chances of finding work, cast your net wide. Be practical and flexible and don’t focus solely on a specific role or job. Temporary or part time work will generate income and give you the time and flexibility to actively pursue a more permanent position. This might be a time to upgrade your skills, or go back to school. Your hobbies, talents, skills and other interests may well provide income-generating opportunities for you.

Don’t be choosy

If you are broke and are not one of those that is fortunate enough to be housed and fed by your parents or other family members, you cannot afford to sit and wait for the perfect job. Try to get a job even if it does not meet with your long-term expectations and is not in line with your qualifications, credentials and experience.

Volunteering

Rather than staying at home waiting for the perfect job, consider volunteering. You will be able to show your employer what you are capable of and can create a positive impression of your commitment and professionalism; you would also be broadening your network and gaining more experience even if you don’t get hired by the firm.

As difficult as this may sound, one should try to view this period of unemployment positively; it is an opportunity to re-evaluate your future, to change your career or start a new business. Losing your present employment may well be the impetus that you need to take a fresh look at your life and re-define your goals. Often, it is times like this that propel people to greater heights.

Nimi Akinkugbe has extensive experience in private wealth management. She seeks to empower people regarding their finances and offers frank, practical insights to create a greater awareness and understanding of personal finance.

Nimi Akinkugbe