The Unemployment Rate is Up – What’s An Employee to Do?
You have probably noticed that gas prices are up, in some areas of the country housing prices are declining, and the unemployment rate edged up to 4.5% in April. 4.5% unemployment isn't bad but when the jobless rate trends up, its a good idea to get your resume ready, make sure you have some money in your savings account, and pay down your debts. I don’t write about financial education so I won't address the last two of the previous three issues. I will, however, discuss generally staying ready in case you need or want to start a job search.

Even if your company isn't downsizing it’s a good idea to be prepared for the worst just in case. Here are a few tips on how to stay "job search ready":

  1. If you don't have one already, start a job diary. Keep the diary at home and write down your accomplishments on the job. Big or small, keeping track of what you do at work will help you to create a resume full of accomplishments.

  2. Make it a habit to keep your resume updated. Don't go years in between resume updates. Make a date with yourself to update your resume every few months. Add new responsibilities and accomplishments and remove anything that is outdated or irrelevant.

  3. Create an additional income stream. Do you love to sew? Let it be known that you do alterations. Are you a writer? Start doing freelance writing. Maybe you love the outdoors - you could start a lawncare business and work during weekends. Starting your own business while maintaining a full time job doesn't have to be cumbersome or overly time consuming. Just set up an LLC or a corporation. You can find the paperwork on your Secretary of State's website. Then go to the IRS website and get a tax ID. Shazam! Now you have your own business. You can print business cards or flyers at your local Kinko's and, if you choose, you can set up a website by using Register, Verio, or GoDaddy. For very little money anyone can create their own business and, thus, create an additional income stream that will give you a little (or a lot) of extra cash which makes the possibility of being laid off a little less scary.

  4. Grow your network. Get involved in your community, attend professional development sessions, become active with professional associations relevant to your career. The more people you know, the more likely you are to find out about choice job openings in your community when they arise.
Hopefully unemployment will not continue to rise and you won't be affected by layoffs. But, it's always better to be safe than sorry!