Lost your job due to COVID-19?

The Coronavirus pandemic has been a difficult time for a lot of us. For those who have lost their job as a result of the pandemic and the restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the virus, it has been an especially challenging period.

The pandemic has led to a surge in unemployment in recent months, with reports that in May 2020 The number of people out of work and claiming work-related benefits in the UK jumped 23% to 2.8 million as the virus hit its peak. Although the government’s furlough scheme has covered many workers, some will still lose out as a result of the difficult economic situation.

If the pandemic means you are now out of work, have a read of our guide to see what you can do to improve your chances of gaining a new job in this tricky time for jobseekers.

Get any help you are entitled to

When you find out that you have lost your job you may find that you throw yourself into the hunt for a new job without remembering to consider what help you may be entitled to.

If you have been made redundant remember that you have rights. If you are a member of a union, they should support you through your redundancy by providing necessary information and advice and by advocating on your behalf if required. If you have become unemployed because your employer is unable to pay their debts (insolvency) you should get in touch with ACAS (Advice, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) for specific advice and support.

You should also check to see if you are eligible for benefits such as Universal Credit, New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance, or New Style Employment and Support Allowance if you have a disability or health condition which limits how much you can work. Furthermore, see if you can make payment plans for any bills you may now be unable to pay, and take advantage of services that would enable you to manage your finances on a reduced income and become as financially resilient as possible.

Keep a routine

When you find yourself unemployed it’s important to form a routine that will keep you productive while supporting your mental health. Make sure you have a consistent sleep schedule and get up at a normal time each day, as sleeping in every day will affect your productivity and lead to sluggishness. Wherever possible, eat nutritious, healthy meals that will support your body and immune system.

Schedule your day so you have time to apply to short term jobs and more long-term roles. You may wish to allocate time to networking on professional social media accounts such as LinkedIn, and to upskilling or taking part in online training opportunities. Make time for breaks throughout the day and have some time outside to keep yourself energised and motivated. Planning time for exercise is another great way to keep yourself fit and mentally healthy. Finally, include time to socialise in your plan. Being unemployed can be an isolating experience for some so it's important to have time to touch base with friends and family.

Consider upskilling

You might find that you need to boost your skillset when you become unemployed. This is especially true for those who have worked at the same company or in the same field for a long time.

While it can be upsetting to lose your job after many years of service, try to view your unemployment as an opportunity to forge a new, exciting career. There are so many options to choose from- have a look at our helpful career guides (insert link) for solid advice on the benefits of different award bodies, which qualifications to choose, and how to get started. You don’t need to go to university or college to gain new qualifications as so many courses are now available online. From the comfort of your own home, you can upskill and gain training which will be invaluable in your search for a new job.

Boost your job search skills.

If you have been out of the job market or a while you might need to boost your CV and interview skills. Don’t panic - there are so many useful guides online including our CV and interview skills guides. Perhaps you have to start a new CV from scratch, or maybe you have been told you need a video CV to apply. There is a lot you can find out online that will be extremely helpful in your job search.

Additionally, plenty of advice relating to interviews can be found on our website. While interviews can be very nerve-wracking there’s always something you can do to improve how you present yourself to potential employers; be it common interview questions or general tips for appearing confident at the interview. Being adequately prepared for interviews is a huge confidence-booster that will serve you well in your hunt for employment opportunities.

Thanks for reading our guide to what to do if you lose your job as a result of COVID-19. We hope that our tips will help get you back into employment very soon.