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Unemployed and Unsure of What to Do For Money

Ask Savvy: Unemployed and Unsure of What to Do For Money

Dear Savvy,

I've been unemployed for over a month now and am unsure of what to do for money. I've sent out around 30-40 applications for various jobs, mostly administrative assistant positions and I'd say I was well qualified for at least 90 percent of those jobs. I am signed up for two temp agencies but neither seems to have any jobs at all right now. I've applied for unemployment but it's been a very slow process. I'm feeling incredibly frustrated and helpless, what can I do for money for my basic necessities? Borrowing from my parents is not an option.

See my answer when you


I'm so sorry that you're going through this difficult time, but don't give up hope! A month isn't a terribly long time to be out of work, but without any prospects on the horizon I can see why you're starting to feel overwhelmed. The key is to not let the feeling of powerlessness take over you and stay motivated about the goal at hand: finding a job that pays the bills.

You seem to be focused on working in an office but when times are tough you need to compromise those self-imposed restrictions. Scour your local listings for anything that will help you stay afloat and apply for anything within reach, even if getting two part-time jobs is what it takes to make ends meet. Depending on where you live, see if you can get a job within walking / biking / public transportation distance so that your paychecks aren't sucked up by gas, but of course don't let proximity limit your job search.

In the meantime, turn your job search into overdrive. Revamp your résumé and exhaust your search by taking time every day to apply for jobs. Follow up with employers to whom you've already submitted your résumé to see if positions have been filled and let them know you're still interested. If there are other temp agencies in your area go talk to them, too. Recruiters may be another option for you because some companies exclusively use them for hiring. Explore every single avenue possible in order to start making money again.

Dissect your expenses and cut out anything that isn't a necessity. Quick money idea: It's summertime and kids are out of school, which means that parents are always on the lookout for babysitters. Post for-hire flyers on bulletin boards at a local pool or community center and let neighbors know that you're available to sit for their kids. Let friends know that you're willing to babysit because they're likely to know someone that's asking around for recommended sitters.


Join The Conversation
GiGiG GiGiG 8 years
Being unemployed is miserable. I was in the same situation when I graduated from college. Here are some creative ways I made money: Hostess at a Restaurant Won Karaoke Contests Signed up with a Promotional Company (I promoted TAG Body Spray, Chivas, Bacardi) On-Call Retail Sold unwanted clothes to a re-sale store Sold unnecessary furniture on All of this sustained me for one year, but it also took away time from finding my "real" job. Find a balance and good luck!
Successdriven Successdriven 8 years
I've been unemployed for four months(still counting) and I don't know how I have been able to cope. It's one of the worst things to happen, especially at this time with the economy. Really depressing as well when you know you have the education and experience behind you. Networking is the best if you are comfortable sharing your story. That's been my downfall because I don't feel like answering questions as to what happened with my previous employer and what are you doing now, etc. I know something will come along soon so just drive down different avenues because you never know who you may bump into. At this point, any job is something until your unemployment benefits kick in and even then, you want to make sure to not depend on that for too long. Good Luck!
tiffanyfuchsia tiffanyfuchsia 8 years
You mention that you are well-qualified for 90% of the jobs you apply for, but I would suggest expanding your options and applying for jobs you may not feel you are entirely qualified for. Look at the description for a job primarily, and then mostly ignore the degree requirements, experience, etc. Last time I was job hunting, I applied for several positions I knew I could do, but I didn't meet the education requirements. I ended up getting offers for two of those positions!
citizenPT citizenPT 8 years
How unfair! I was in a similar situation a year ago and ended up moving out of state so that I could get a job. Hang in there and if things don't go through with these employers maybe consider relocating. Rural areas are horrible for employment- especially for young(er) adults. If you're in a rural area, let me say I hear ya and best of luck!
codewhiz codewhiz 9 years
What about enrolling in a training program that offers job placement assistance? That's what I plan to do. Unemployment can probably help with the tuition if the program is in your state's list of schools that receive funds, I'll see if I can get some clear answers on that.
amybdk amybdk 9 years
Networking, for me, has proven to be the most useful tool in job searching. I met a couple of my previous employers working at a small coffee shop where I'd see them each day. Coffee shops are awesome! I am also a huge believer in follow-up. Many people think it's enough just to submit your resume or application. It isn't. As a former manager who had to hire employees, I was more drawn to the people who called or stopped in to follow-up because 1) If they are this driven to get a job, hopefully they'll be this driven to do a good job, and 2) Their names stuck in my head, and 3) It was easier for me as I knew they were still looking for a job... applications and resumes can pile up which then requires lots of time making calls to see if they've found employment yet. Was I convincing enough? :ponder: Also, keep updating and going over your resume. Have anybody (esp. friends/family) who works in your desired field look at it and make suggestions. Heck, PM me and I'll be happy to give it a look. I do administration work myself! Good luck!
TheMissus TheMissus 9 years
Did you file for unemployment? That should be the first thing you do once you are laid off from a job. Also, a quick and easy way to make good cash is bartending or waitressing. You can do it a night, and still be able to go on interviews during the day.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
I already commented on this post before, saying the op should try taking some retail/restaurant/babysitting jobs, while simultaneously conducting a job search for those positions she's really after, but something important to remember is that when possible, FOLLOW UP on the applications you have already sent out. If you didn't get a job and it's possible, call/email/write asking for feedback. You might find that you're over or underqualified for certain jobs, or perhaps you presented yourself a certain way in your interviews that prevented you from getting the job. This feedback might help you secure future jobs.
graduatedsqueaks graduatedsqueaks 9 years
I agree with minday, networking is key! Even letting your friends know you're looking is helpful, many might have a suggestion on places to look, or at least they can keep you in mind when they hear about an opening. They can talk you up to their company! Also, take advantage of any alumni group (h.s. or college). Depending on the group setup, they might know of some people who like to help people with jobs, or your group might have social events (expanding your circle of friends expands your networking possibilities!) And think about social/business networking sites, like Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Doostang. Letting people know you're looking on these sites can be helpful. Just also keep in mind what your profiles on those sites might say (or imply). Many companies these days will "pre-screen" through Google-ing or looking on those sites, so be aware of your online presence. I'm currently almost 2 months into being unemployed, and it's starting to pick up a little. Don't get discouraged! And like Savvy's advice said, following up is really important too. Get the Unemployment office on the phone to get that all straightened out asap, and follow up with the companies you talked to. If they didnt hire you, you can ask if they have any advice/suggestions...some will be willing. Long story short, I'm really getting into this job hunt, and I think I've learned a lot so far, and am very willing to help with other suggestions or ideas, so send me a message if you want!
brielleblonde brielleblonde 9 years
Get a job waiting tables. Any regional chain will hire (applebee's, chillis, ruby tuesdays. etc) I had the same problem. I have a job lined up for Spring 09, but for this summer I had nothing. I applied at like 25 different places and no one hired me until I went to applebees. I got very very depressed for being rejected so many times, plus I was living on my own, without any roommates, for the first time.
cubadog cubadog 9 years
Everyone here has great suggestions when I was in the same situation I did a lot of dog sitting. I would also recommend calling the temp agencies everyday to see if they have anything for you to do including just answering the phone. It will get you in somewhere and keep cash coming in. I have a dog walker out of nessecity and it has been a life saver I no longer feel guilty and he loves her to death.
Berlin Berlin 9 years
Go bartend or be a shot is crazy and you walk with a stack each night, and you quit whenever you want.
colormesticky colormesticky 9 years
What's the difference between a recruiter and a temp agency?
kayla74 kayla74 9 years
Oh, I just read she'd already tried temp agencies. Oops. Okay, try working retail for a while until you find something. You'll at least be flexible for interviewing while making some money.
kayla74 kayla74 9 years
You can try going to a temp agency. It sounds like you want an administrative job and they fill those all the time. Even if you're just at a place for a couple days, you'll at least be making money. And who knows, one of them might stay as a permanent position!
lizs lizs 9 years
Freelance - put an ad on Craigslist or at the grocery store. Tutor (through Kaplan or the Princeton Review if you don't want to find clients). Work retail near your home - they'll be delighted at how competent and friendly you are, and even if the wage sucks you'll be bringing in something. Waitressing is a bit more stress but will earn you more (and feel free to lie about your experience when you apply to be a waitress - everyone does, in my experience). Work at Starbucks - it's not that bad. It's not permanent, and you don't have to put this period on your resume if you don't choose to. I once worked 95 hours a week to recover from a financial issue - it was lame, but I got through it. The last thing you want is to end up in deep credit card debt from this period!
PinkShoes21 PinkShoes21 9 years
I can related with you. I've been looking for a job for 3 months now. Really difficult to get one nowadays.
MindayH MindayH 9 years
I pcommented on the originalpost, but really want to emphasize that sending your resume out isn't the way to get jobs, network!!! This obviously won't help you make ends meet, but talk to everyone you know and let them know you are looking. Referrals get the job a majority of the time over unknown (and even more qualified) candidates.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
I understand how you feel, I was at this point once and almost homeless due to a lay off. I think you should take any job you can get and it its two the better. Maybe retail, restaurant, dog walker(you would be amazed at how many people hate walking their dog - if you can get three steady dogs you're in business), also during my stage I also did house cleaning and cleaned late at night for companies. Have you posted on every job site, keep looking for something better that would pay money. I know working for 7.00/ hour will barely cover your rent but 2 jobs will help until you get something else. You just need to hit the ground and run. I know it may be hard but please do not give up. If you need to just vent IM me, if you need any ideas or even to run ideas you can also IM me. I wish you luck and as always good advice Savvy!.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
How about just taking, any job, and not limiting it to one position, of course pickings are going to be slim!
itsme3683 itsme3683 9 years
I've been using and for occasional sitting jobs over the summer, and they're totally not-shady.
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
Can you waitress or bar-tend, dog-walk or babysit? Do you have a lot of stuff that you dont need, that you could sell in a yard sale or on ebay?
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