Tips and Tricks to Have Structure When You’re Unemployed

Kelly Tompkins
Apr 4, 2020 · 4 min read

Tips for treating unemployment like a full time job.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Matt Noble on Unsplash

With news outlets like the NY Times reporting that unemployment is probably around 13%, it’s hard not to feel like everything is out of place. Companies that couldn’t move online had to make heartbreaking decisions to close their businesses for the foreseeable future.

For some of us, the quarantine sent us all home to work until we could ‘flatten the curve’. We had to develop new schedules to adjust to life away from the office and it took a while but we adjusted. Then companies that could conduct business online had to start cutting pay and laying employees off. If you were one of the unlucky ones like myself who were laid off, you had to once again prepare yourself for a new way of doing things and learn to manage your time.

I was fortunate enough that I had amazing co-workers at the company I worked for, Alegion. Being laid off with people who are the most intelligent and compassionate people I have ever met, we may not work together anymore but we’re still helping each other out. In our personal Slack workspace, we’ve built a community helping each other network and find employment during this tough time that is the pandemic.

Yasser Farra,VP of Engineering at Alegion, along with Director of Engineering Jan Capps, are vital players in making this uncomfortable transition easier. So I want to spread the wealth of knowledge with everyone that might be going through a rough time. Here are some tips and tricks to bring some structure back into your life and optimize your day.

Starting out

  • First and foremost, Start your job search right away. Nothing helps your self confidence more than recruiters and companies showing interest in you.
  • Be disciplined.Treat looking for a job like it’s your full-time job.This is not a vacation. Structure your day as if you are working, get up at a certain time, stop at a certain time, have a loose plan for the day (although each day may be different).
  • Post your resume on Indeed, maybe on Linkedin. Indeed is the best job board hands down. Everyone uses it. Everyone also uses LinkedIn.
  • Schedule calls with your former colleagues.
  • Make sure you change your settings in LinkedIn to say that you are looking or open for recruiters to reach out to you. A friend told me not to make it obvious that I was no longer at a company because I will have more people reach out that way and he was right about that.
  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and looks good.
  • Apply for unemployment right away.
  • Other places to look for job postings, Monster, Ziprecruiter, You can also post your resume on Monster, HotJobs, ZipRecruiter, Ladders, etc.
  • Keep track of all your “contacts” which are all the things you do towards getting a job, every application you submit, every coffee with someone, every screen and interview. You need those for unemployment. Either a Google sheet or even your calendar is a great place to track these, record everything.

Don’t get discouraged

  • Expect ups and downs! If you’re not a salesperson, or you’ve never been laid off before, you may not be used to rejection especially in a down economy.
  • Check out Launch Pad Job Club. They are a job searchers support group and can help you out with resumes, mock interviews, etc.
  • Don’t waste your time trying interviewing for jobs you don’t want.
  • If you have been laid off for more than 3 months, tell them that you decided to enjoy some time with your family, or working on a cool personal project.
  • Network like crazy: this means meet people for coffee, lunch or at a networking event (obviously right now virtual networking). Your goal is to just talk, you’re not there to ask for a job. Talk about what you’re looking for in general, type of job, industry, role, etc, what you’re really good at. You’d be surprised how the people least connected to what you might suddenly say: “you know my neighbors is X, let me introduce the two of you to each other”.
  • Keep your schedule full. if you get a rejection, the best thing is to have something else to focus on, whether it’s an interview, a phone screen, a recruiter call, a networking event, or even coffee with a colleague. The worst thing to happen is you get a rejection and you have nothing in the pipeline.

Getting the interview/job

  • When you land an interview, do some serious homework about the company and those who will be interviewing you.
  • If you’re offered a job, be prepared to negotiate. Even though the market is competitive, once a company decides you’re the one, you’re in a position of strength.
  • Finally, when you land a job, make sure your start date is at least one week out (if not more). While you might be anxious to start the new job, remember, you’ve been doing the “job-hunting job” for a while and you need a break. I have found the time in between landing a new job and starting it the most relaxing and stress free vacation ever (there is no work to worry about).

If you take anything from the above tips and tricks it’s to: have a plan, stick to the plan, and get a job. Take networking seriously and lean on your previous coworkers and connections. It can feel like your entire world was turned upside down without any framework in your day so it’s important to take back your work day.

If you stay diligent and be persistent, you can make it through this. And if you haven’t already applied for unemployment, you can get more information here on how to apply in your state.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +771K people. Follow to join our community.

Kelly Tompkins

Written by

Austin,Texas sober girl. Lover of horror movies, cats, and fitness. Occasional bad poet.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +771K people. Follow to join our community.

Kelly Tompkins

Written by

Austin,Texas sober girl. Lover of horror movies, cats, and fitness. Occasional bad poet.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +771K people. Follow to join our community.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store