If you’re back at work after a layoff or shutdown now is not the time for relaxing on your laurels. It’s time, instead, to plan and organize what your next move will be should a formal, and permanent, layoff takes place. In short, now is the time to start planning for your new future.
While you’ll no doubt be glad to have returned to work, things at work may be somewhat unsettling and you may decide it’s time to job search. Before moving forward to job searching, it’s important to determine what your benefits are, when you will receive them and how to apply for them. Some of these benefits may be mandated by law; others may be provided by the company you work for or have been written into your contract or hiring paperwork.
Start by requesting copies of any and all medical and other company benefits you are due. Start a folder with the following information:
1) Employee Benefits
* Paycheck and back pay – how and when will you receive them?
* Accrued vacation – It may be company policy or written into your contract or hiring paperwork.
* Overtime Pay owed you. By law, you must be compensated for any accrued overtime upon dismissal.
* Severance pay – It may be due you if it’s company policy or written into your contract or hiring paperwork.
* Pension benefits – depending on your plan you may not receive them until your date of retirement or as specified in the plan. If you have a 401K your company may – however – pay you a lump sum payment upon leaving. Check into it.
* Medical insurance benefits –
-How long will they continue; what type of benefits will you receive upon leaving?
-If you have no continuing medical benefits, upon layoff, check on COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). Paying into it allows you to continue to receive group benefits from the company you’ve been laid off from. This can sometimes be set up before you leave the company.
You can also check into the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) to discover whether you are qualified to apply.
* Unemployment Insurance.
* Life insurance.
* Disability or Workers Compensation.
3) Other Benefits
* Unless you work in the U.S. Department of Labor – and know the laws – check into employment-related laws, regulations and compliance to be clear you are receiving what’s due you and know the facts regarding other employment policies.
* If you are a member of a union, you should check with your union rep to be clear the company you work for – even if it is the government – is following the rules related to your employment and/or layoff.
* Check to discover if you have any other benefits still available when laid off. For example – if you are attending a school to upgrade your work skills, as required, is that benefit eliminated once you are laid off, or upon completion of the education?
4) Upgrade or revamp your Resume and LinkedIn Profile
If you’ve been in the same position for years, it’s highly likely it’s time to review and revamp your resume. When you’re about to start job searching this is imperative. These are your own personal marketing tools which introduce you to an interviewer, hiring pro or company interested in hiring someone with your skills. And – bottom line – they are your initial connection as a potential job candidate.
Your resume is a simple and straightforward method for presenting yourself to potential employers. It serves as a tool to attract attention, get the interview. A well-written resume helps you stand out from other candidates by showcasing your aptitudes, expeience and accomplishments in an engaging way.
Use your LinkedIn Profile to showcase your skills and talents to help the right people, and opportunities, find their way to your LinkedIn door. When you organize it to best reflect your experience, skills and achievements, your LinkedIn Profile freely markets you 24/7 – whether you’re searching for a new job, changing careers, are military transitioning to civilian.
5) Review your credit report and clean it up if necessary
Can information contained within a credit report harm your chances of landing a job? The answer is yes.
Especially when it comes to jobs in what are considered financial sectors. This includes banks, insurance companies, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, for example. And, of course, those jobs where you would be managing money for a business. Or protecting confidential, or secure, information.
Job Applicant Credit Report Tips
- Always have an accurate and truthful resume; lies or suggestions of lies, will get you and your resume kicked.
- Before interviewing, familiarize yourself with info contained within your credit report.
- Determine if there is any negative info contained within it.
- Attempt to correct the negative information in your credit report prior to seeking employment.
- Do a background check on yourself: https://www.checkpeople.com/public-records?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8pWJ05n52AIVUntiCh1w9A6cEAEYASAAEgKL9PD_BwE&aid=1&tid=110
6) Start Your Job Search
The truth is – you won’t get a job overnight. That said, it’s important – and more efficient – to start the process while you’re still working. But before you start be sure to include those Keywords – which best describe your expertise and skills – within your Resume and LinkedIn Profile.
* Create a Cover Letter. Since each one should specifically relate to each job you apply for, create a template and fill it in as you apply for each new job.
*Check websites of companies you prefer to work for. Or those whom you know have jobs related to your expertise and skills. Go to their website and discover job ads and/or job description info. Check out the company’s blog for more info. Discover Keywords used in those ads which also best describe your own skills and expertise and include several within your Resume and LinkedIn Profile. Find out how to apply.
*Go to LinkedIn and set up Job notifications for specific jobs you’re searching for. Review each job notification you receive and add several keywords – found within it – into your own LinkedIn Profile and Resume.
* Check popular online job boards. While it can be time-consuming, there are tons of job boards out there. For example – Indeed.com, CareerBuilder, SimplyHired, https://us.jobs/.
While, technically, there’s no concrete evidence, the old adage – ‘It’s far easier to get a job when you have a job’ is true. Hiring pros, interviewers and companies looking to hire are predisposed to considering and speaking with those who are already working. While not openly spoken about, this has been going on for decades.
Here’s a few reasons getting a job while you are hired is somewhat easier:
It’s considered those currently working will generally be skilled and up-to-date on changes in their industry; while those who aren’t now working may have let their skills lapse and be out of touch with industry and technical changes. Someone working will have current recommendations. As a way of eliminating an out-of-work individual, a company may require an individual update their skills or receive a degree in a specific area before considering them. And the list goes on.
Best advice – start job searching while you have a job. And upgrade your skills while you have the time.
Jean L. Serio CEIC, CPC, CDI, CeMA
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