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Unemployed? Don't Overlook the Local Resources at Your Disposal  
11/23/2011 5:39:54 PM

By Angela Rose, BioSpace.com

Losing your job may feel like the end of the world. In a matter of minutes, you have become one of almost 14 million unemployed Americans. You worry about your mortgage. You worry about your kids. You experience a spectrum of emotions: panic, disbelief, anger, sadness, resignation. Then you settle down and get to work finding a new position. Sure, it’s going to be rough, but you don’t have to go it alone. Consider these free resources, many of them local, at your disposal.

Start with the Department of Labor and Employment. A quick Google search will connect you to the website for your state. You’ll find layoff transition services, job search hotlines, information on state-sponsored employment events and links to city Workforce centers as well as other potentially helpful resources. You may have access to workshops and information on financial and stress management while unemployed, resume writing, using the Internet in your job search, identifying transferrable skills, collecting unemployment insurance and the Dislocated Worker Program.

Move on to the local Workforce center. Each one operates in conjunction with the unemployment office. In most cases, you must register with the Workforce center in order to receive unemployment insurance benefits. Once you’ve registered, you can participate in their free workshops. Topics may include career exploration, updating your resume, creative job searching, using LinkedIn, interviewing skills and career transitions for job seekers over 50. Many centers offer free walk-in resume critique sessions as well.

If you haven’t looked for a job in awhile, you may find helpful classes at the local public library. Many have begun offering free classes on using the Internet in your job search, writing resumes and cover letters, networking and interviewing.

If your computer skills are a little outdated (or even nonexistent), don’t overlook the local community college. You are likely to find free courses for job seekers exploring basic computing, use of email, word processing and spreadsheets. Many community colleges allow locals to audit regular courses free as well (if space is available), so you may be able to brush up on math, science and English composition.

If you developed close relationships with your coworkers, you may find yourself missing more than a steady paycheck. Make new friends and get emotional support by joining an unemployment support or networking group. You can visit unemployed.meetup.com to search for groups in your area. Meet with other professionals and discuss your job search, get resume feedback and network.

The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training sponsors CareerOneStop. Visit the website at www.careeronestop.org and explore careers, learn about relocating, find information on unemployment insurance, take self-assessment tests, get resume and cover letter advice, brush up on your interview skills and more. You can also search state job banks.

You’ll find a wealth of helpful job search information online at websites such as Glassdoor as well. Visit www.glassdoor.com to get the inside scoop on jobs and companies. Browse job listings, research salaries, and then visit the blog for hundreds of articles covering virtually everything you need to know to maximize your job search.

The media has reported falling unemployment rates in some segments of the country. This news may portend an improvement in the unemployment rate nationwide. You have skills employers need. There are jobs available. These free resources will help you connect with them as well as put your best foot forward when you do so.

About the Author

Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for BioSpace.com.

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