What To Do When You Are Unemployed

Unemployment is one of those nebulous times in life when you feel as though you had the rug taken out from under you.  You may feel lost, harassed by the question of “What now?”  You wonder about how you will make ends meet, or the impact on your family, or if this is a good time for a career switch.

If you are lucky, you will transition from position to position without a hitch.  But for the rest of us, we will inevitably hit that rough patch in life called “unemployment.” It's rough, but being unemployed can bestow its own unique blessings.

What does one do when one finds themselves unemployed?  Here is a list of things to try while you contemplate your next steps.

Apply For Unemployment Benefits

One of the benefits of living in a developed country is the social net – that net that catches you when you fall on hard times.  It is this very same net that will keep the roof over your head while you search for a job, and a net into which you have been making payments ever since you first became gainfully employed.  The process differs from country to country, but you should apply for employment insurance so that you can live and eat while you search for a job.

Don’t Panic

Although it may seem, as your bank account balance inches slowly towards $0, that you come closer and closer to homelessness, don’t panic.  Panic will only make things worse.  In order to succeed, you need to maintain a cool and level head.  Be calm.  Tell yourself that you will be okay and you will find a job.  It is likely that if you think this way, it will happen sooner.


Don’t waste your time lamenting your job loss or inability to find a job.  As someone who is unemployed, time has suddenly been freed up for you to discover and develop your other interests.  Pick up that long neglected hobby.  Find and join a cause about which you are passionate and offer your time.

Being unemployed serves as an unparalleled opportunity to develop skills, to network and to build your portfolio, all the while helping your community or those less fortunate.  Done wisely and sincerely, such community service can be a proud addition to your resume and increase your employability. The key to not being depressed about your job status (or lack thereof) is to keep busy and productive and to step outside of yourself and help others worse off than you.


Companies all over are look for translators, web site developers, social media experts, bloggers, and writers.  Even lawyers and doctors are sought after to provide legal or medical counsel or research.  If you are a professional, a good place to start would be to e-mail the editors of magazines of your profession or niche interest.  Also check out Elance.com, oDesk.com, and Freelancer.com which are reputable freelance websites where jobs are posted daily.  Some projects may be hourly; others may be fixed-price.  No matter the format, you can make ends meet doing freelance work while you wait for another job to come through.  Freelance work allows you to have maximum flexibility and control over your time.

Sign Up With An Agency

Employment agencies pool together candidates for various job postings and then contact these candidates when an employer makes an inquiry.  There are a number of employment agencies that can help you find contract work in your field.  Some of these include Randstad, Cartel, Robert Half Legal, ZSA, Adecco, Manpower and Youth Employment Service (YES).

Brush Up On Your Job Finding Skills

Unemployment is also a great opportunity to brush up on your job finding skills.  Fine-tune your resume at a clinic offered by the YMCA or any other organization.  Learn how to network.  Brush upon on your interview skills.  Try to become a more polished candidate so that when opportunity knocks, you will be ready.

Look And Apply For A Job

For most people, in order to find another job you will have to use some elbow grease and look for one. “Seek and you shall find,” as the Good Book says. A great place to start would be to upload a resume and create profiles on job search websites like Eluta, Workopolis, Indeed and LinkedIn (and join the online groups!).

Moreover, many jobs are not posted externally.  Feel free to put out feelers and let your contacts know that you are looking a job, as well as cold call and send out your resumes as you see fit.

Don’t Accept Defeat

Just because you haven’t heard from the twenty job postings to which you responded, and just because all ten of your job interviews proved unsuccessful does not mean that you are not employable.

The job search is a lot like dating.  Don’t let defeat determine your worth. If you are rejected by one employer, there are plenty of other fish (…ummm… jobs) in the job market sea. The right job is out there for you and the right employer will call you for an interview.

Consider A Career Change

So you’ve been applying for jobs and no one has called you back for an interview.  Maybe that is a sign to change gears.  Start looking into other careers, paying special attention to market needs and listening to your heart.  Take stock of your inclinations and hobbies.  Turn your hobby or side hustle into your main gig.


So you’ve been applying for jobs and still no one has called you back for an interview.  Instead of looking at this as a failure, take it as an opportunity to decompress and refocus and rest and rejuvenate.  Finding a job is a job in itself, and if you have been working hard at your last job and you are working hard at finding a job, you will need time to rest.

James Bond "No Time To Die" Teaser Released [Video]

More in Job & Salaries