The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to wreak havoc on lives across the UK and the world, and despite the furlough scheme set up by the government, it has not been enough to keep some businesses afloat. Many of those that have survived the pandemic so far have had to let some employees go – with even big-name companies such as Rolls Royce and Aston Martin making significant cuts to staffing levels.
Losing your job during a global pandemic and the inevitable recession that will follow is a daunting experience. While you are far from being alone in this situation – the unemployment figures are thought to have hit around 4.5% since the beginning of the outbreak – it is not a reassuring fact.
If you are one of the unlucky ones who have found themselves wondering how on earth they are going to pay their bills in the next few months, don’t panic. There are things, people, and organizations out there to help you. Here we look at some tips and tricks to help you get through this unnerving and worrying period.
Look at your outgoings and cut down where possible
Unfortunately, whatever happens, you are probably going to find yourself with less money than you had when you were employed, even with the benefits that you are entitled to claim. While there are some things that you can’t reduce or cut back on – rent or mortgage, utility bills, and so on, there are some things that you will have to cut out. It is typical money-saving blogger advice but cut out the takeaways and coffees from your favourite coffee shop, get rid of any unnecessary subscription services that you use, and shop around for new insurance and utility providers to make sure that you have the best rate available.
Consider any side hustles
While your aim is to get back into work as quickly as possible and be earning the same amount as you were before, consider whether there are any ‘side hustles’ you can start up with to earn a few extra quid. Of course, if you are claiming any sort of benefits these need to be declared so that you do not end up getting more than you are entitled to, and earnings need to be declared to HMRC. However, while you are hunting for work, why not dabble in some freelance work if you have the skills – Upwork, Fiverr and People Per Hour are great places for wannabe website designers, social media managers, and content writers. Alternatively, take a look at matched betting. It is a risk-free way of making some extra cash!
Make sure that you are claiming any benefits that you are entitled to
There can often be some stigma around claiming benefits of any kind thanks to the portrayal of claimants from the media. However, if you have lost your job, you still need to find a way to pay your bills, and that is what the benefits system is there to help you with. Talk to a professional – Citizens Advice and the Job Centre can give you advice as to what you may be entitled to and help you with the application process if you need it. Remember to follow the instructions carefully and fulfill your commitments and responsibilities to avoid getting sanctions and losing out on money.
Seek legal advice
If you believe that you may have lost your job unfairly or have been a victim of discrimination, you may want to seek legal advice from somewhere like Ellisons Solicitors. In most cases, employees have to follow a certain procedure when making someone redundant. If you do not think that this has been the case with your former place of work, talk to a solicitor who will be able to give you an idea as to whether you have the basis for a claim.
Spend some time updating your CV
When it comes to searching and applying for new jobs, one of the first things that you should be doing is creating a strong CV. If you had been in your previous role for a long time, you might need to think about updating it. Spend some time creating a well-crafted CV that is going to make you stand out from other applicants for jobs in the right way. Write a good opening statement explaining who you are, what you can bring to the company and what makes you particularly well-suited for that role. While you will need a master copy of your CV, it is essential that you tailor your CV to every role that you apply for and tweak it accordingly.
Think about what the right roles for you are
While being unemployed is scary and to claim particular benefits you need to be seen to be making applications, jumping into a job that is completely unsuitable is not a good idea, especially if you do have the financial resources to take your time. Start by making a list of jobs that you would like to do – not just ones that you are able to do. This may be a good opportunity to focus on what you want from your career; it may involve retraining, switching industries or taking online courses. For example, with media training courses you can improve your ability to express yourself better when doing any kind of public speaking. If you have been or are being made redundant, see if your company will offer you the services of a career coach as part of your redundancy package.
Keep positive and seek help if you need it
Losing your job, for whatever reason, is difficult and can bring about a lot of stress and worry. It can also knock your motivation and self-confidence. However, in most cases, the loss of a job is not your fault. Try to remain as optimistic and positive as you can and approach the search for a new job in the right frame of mind – if you go in with the wrong attitude, you are less likely to find what you need. There is help and support out there if you are struggling, so make sure you use it.