If you unexpectedly find yourself out of work, it can be easy to take your foot off the pedal. However, the time you spend in between work is vital to your future career prospects and can mean the difference between a short-term situation and long-term unemployment.
It’s estimated that in the three months leading to January 2020, the UK unemployment rate was 3.9%. An estimated 1.34 million people were unemployed between November 2019 and January 2020, according to the Office. With an estimated 825,000 people up to 6 months and 212,000 between 6-12 months out of work, many people are looking to ease their situation.
To add to this, it is estimated that more than 6.5 million jobs could be lost due to the UK’s coronavirus lockdown, with accommodation and food services sectors expected to see 75% of jobs lost. With unemployment being a concern for many, we’ve put together some top tips on job-loss survival.
Budget Your Current Finances
When unemployed, financial uncertainty can become a key concern, meaning understanding the budgets you can put in place is important. Knowing what your current sources of income are and what your essential outgoings currently total can help you budget accordingly.
One of the best ways to do this is by utilizing a budget planner, which can help with better reflecting your financial position, where you can make necessary savings, and what your monthly outgoing totals are. Last year, the average household in the UK spent a total of £585.60 per week, with food and housing making up 42% of total expenditure for those with lower incomes and 26% for the richest 10% of the UK population.
Understanding exactly where you could make some cost-savings can allow you to budget more effectively whilst faced with the financial uncertainty of unemployment.
Look At Available Benefits To Claim
Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has offered other lines of support such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in an attempt to limit the impact on employment across the UK. Having extended the eligibility date to 19 March 2020, many more individuals may be protected from unemployment.
However, for those who are faced with unemployment, understanding what you are entitled to claim may help to alleviate financial strain.
Universal Credit is an option that is available for those who are unemployed, with approximately 1.24 million people claiming this in February 2020.
You may be entitled to claim for this if you are either unemployed or on a low income and have less than £16,000 in savings between you and if you live with a partner. You can find further information in the UK. GOV page for Universal Credit.
Contact Your Creditors
As well as budgeting your finances, contacting any creditors you currently have to advise of your situation is recommended. Whether you have a mortgage to pay, credit cards, short-term loans, or utility bills, speaking to these creditors may help you to arrange payment and outstanding debts.
After budgeting your finances and checking your savings, you will be able to see how much you have available to put towards your most important payments and prioritize them.
Start Looking For Temporary Work
One of the ways people can boost their income whilst looking for a permanent role is to consider temporary work. Not all temporary roles will be in the same field many people are used to, so some may need to broaden their horizons when searching for temp work.
At the end of February last year, there were 1.54 million temporary employees in the UK, with 408,200 of these choosing temporary work as they couldn’t get a permanent role. Temporary work can provide an opportunity to bridge the gap when in-between jobs, help an individual to expand or refine their skillset, and to show dedication and work ethic to a potential new employer.
Volunteer Your Time
In between job hunting, you may want to consider volunteer opportunities. Whilst these won’t bring an income, the value of volunteer work on your CV cannot be understated. Being able to prove that you’re doing something in between work can help your job application stand out, especially for those who find themselves out of work for longer periods.
Not only that, volunteer work can be great for keeping a daily routine and building a positive mindset. In 2018, approximately 20.1 million people volunteered through a group, club, or organization, with 81% doing so in their neighborhoods. Volunteer work is also a great way to give back to the community and to support others around you.
Look Into Your Savings
Having savings to rely on during unemployment can ensure the most important bills are paid, so it’s worthwhile checking your available savings accounts. Whilst the Money Advice Service recommends people to have at least 3 months’ worth of expenses saved, 15% of UK adults have no savings at all, and 1 in 3 UK adults has less than £1500 in savings.
In the event of a financial emergency or unexpected bill, savings can provide you with a lifeline alongside your income. For those who are unemployed, your savings can provide you with some assistance with day-to-day living should you require it.
Keep Up Your Normal Daily Routine
Whilst out of work, many people find it helpful to maintain their daily routine. Yes, you may not need to commute anywhere currently, but continuing a usual daily and weekly routine will help to maximize your time. If you usually work a 9 to 5, try to stick to this routine even if you are not leaving the house.
This can mean actively searching for employment, updating your CV, attending interviews, or simply working on a project or hobby which helps to keep you working to your normal routine.
Make Time for Yourself
It can be a stressful period whilst looking for work. If you’ve been made redundant unexpectedly, for example, the worry of how to pay your bills and how long you could be out of work can take its toll. Both physically and mentally, making time for yourself is still important.
Being able to recharge and relax at some point in the day will help to strengthen how you approach each day. Staying positive can be difficult during unemployment but taking regular breaks and the time to reflect helps to focus on what’s important.
If your employment history consists of an office or store-based jobs, it may be worth considering remote or online working. Many people already have online-based jobs thanks to advancements in technology over the years, with 1.54 million people working from home for their main job. When conducting a job search, looking for remote working roles can help open up many opportunities that you may not have considered before.
Whilst working online has its benefits, it isn’t for everyone, with 1 in 5 remote workers struggling with loneliness. Many people also forget that their skillset can be utilized as a part of a contract or freelance work too. For example, an individual who has a strong grasp of the English language may find freelance copywriting roles attractive.
Alternatively, a receptionist may find a remote PA or customer support agent role beneficial. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing businesses of all kinds to work remotely, the way that we work is likely to change forever, with work from home potentially becoming the new normal.
Searching for online work, freelance opportunities, and other remote roles could be the ideal way to capitalize on this and get back into employment.
Expand Your Skillset
Improving your skillset can help to boost your employability and ensure time in between searching for a new job is as productive as possible. Examples include learning a new language or sharpening your knowledge of computer software.
There are many skills that employers want to see the most on CVs, so it is worth looking into the most wanted skillsets. Data literacy, critical thinking, and leadership skills are some of the most sought-after job skills to consider.
With many online courses available (both free and paid for), there are plenty of opportunities to expand your skill set and sharpen your CV for future employment.