Sunday, September 21, 2008

Don't burn through your emergency fund! How to find a job in this rough economy

Smart Money ran an article last week on the Five Best Cities for Job Hunting. The cities that were mentioned in the article are:
  • Provo-Orem, Utah
  • Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Austin-Round Rock, Texas
  • Huntsville, Alabama
So, what are you to do if you are unemployed and not in one of those states? Well, hopefully you can file for unemployment benefits. You should do this as soon as possible as there is usually a waiting week where you will not get a payment. Of course, unemployment benefits are not paid out in the full amount of what you were earning. So, you can't rely too much on them. 

The first thing you need to do is to take some action. The longer you wait then that is longer that you have less income coming in. And that could lead to some dire financial consequences. And if you are fortunate enough to have an emergency fund, you do not want to exhaust that either as you will just have to rebuild it once you get employed. So, start looking for jobs and sending out resumes.

Remember that you are in no position to be picky. Basically you need a job and you need it to pay more than unemployment. So, you may not be able to hand pick a job that is exactly equal to what you were doing previously. You may have to take a pay cut and you may even have to take a job that you are overqualified for. 

It doesn't have to be permanent. You are allowed to take a job offer that pays your bills but is not your ideal job. The objective is to get a job that pays your bills. You can always keep looking for something better. And there is no need to feel guilty about taking a job that you don't plan on staying at. If you don't then someone else will. Of course, you don't want to let them know that in the interview.  :)

Think ahead to the worst case job scenario. I am currently unemployed in a state/city that is not on the list above. For me, the worst case is that I have to get two full-time retail jobs. That should enable me to make enough to just barely cover all of the bills if I am careful. Would that totally suck and be less than ideal? Yes! But I know that there are plenty of retail jobs - especially with the holidays coming up. And I would try to choose wisely - for instance going for a job at Target for the 10% employee discount I could use on things like toilet paper and shampoo. 

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