Unemployment Can Happen to Anyone
Preparing for job loss can significantly shorten the period of time you will be unemployed. Here are some steps you can take to help keep a potential period of unemployment from hitting you too hard:
Prepare by Having Your Résumé Ready
The standards for what is considered a “good résumé” are always changing. Even if your résumé was considered great a few years ago, you may need to completely redo it now to make it seem relevant. Focus your résumé on accomplishments rather than a list of duties. Use numbers and other statistics to quantify as much as possible the value you’ve added. Don’t wait until you’re unemployed to show your résumé to others and get feedback. The employment center or self-reliance center can help you with a professional résumé consultation. Your ward or stake employment specialist can also assist you.
Prepare by Keeping Your Network Alive
Approximately 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking. Of course, the best time to build your network is before you become unemployed. Networking helps you to tap into the “hidden job market”—jobs that are filled before they are ever advertised. You should actively network while you're still working; participate in the networking meetings held at the employment center or self-reliance center (in the United States, the Professional Placement Program offers other networking options); check in with members of your network with a quick phone call or e-mail; join community- or industry-related organizations; talk to as many people as possible about your goals (no successful person ever does it alone—they all have help, so why shouldn’t you?); and take the opportunity to help others as well—they may someday return the favor!
Prepare by Sharpening Your Skills
Brush up on your skills or learn some new ones; if you don't think you have time to attend classes, consider distance learning. According to a recent survey, hiring managers throughout the country believe the number-one thing people can do to increase their marketability is to sharpen their computer skills. Sharpening your transferable skills increases your value in the marketplace. President Hinckley said, “[The] world will in large measure pay you what it thinks you are worth, and your worth will increase as you gain education and proficiency in your chosen field” (“A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” Ensign, Jan. 2001, 4).
Also, don’t forget to sharpen your job search skills. Many people who find themselves unemployed are uncertain about how to approach their job search. They have been employed and have not had to rely on such skills. The employment centers and self-reliance centers offer a job search training program called the Career Workshop. The workshop focuses on the most effective job search skills and techniques, such as networking, sharing your strengths, interviewing, and so on. Attending a workshop before you become unemployed is a great way to brush up on your skills and be prepared should you find yourself without a job.
Prepare by Considering Additional Income Streams
Consider taking any job, regardless of whether it utilizes your skills or is in your field. This will provide income while you continue to look for the right position. You might also consider a home-based business to bring in additional income that would be available if you should lose your primary source of income. Participating in the Self-Employment Workshop will help you determine if a home-based business is right for you and will teach you sound approaches to starting a business.
Prepare by Thinking about a Career Change
If you've been thinking of a career change, you're better off pursuing it while you're still employed; when you lose your job, your priority may be finding a new one as quickly as possible.
Prepare by Strengthening Yourself Spiritually
Unemployment can be a spiritually harrowing experience. President Hinckley wrote about those experiencing unemployment: “As days lengthen into weeks and months and even years of adversity, the hurt grows deeper, and he is sorely tempted to ‘curse God and die’” (quoted in Glen L. Rudd, Pure Religion: The Story of Church Welfare Since 1930 , 310). You will want and need the Lord’s help and guidance in your job search. Like all trials of life, the Lord will bless and sustain you if you place your faith in Him, though this does not always mean instant results. Attend the temple regularly and remember to “counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good” (Alma 37:37).