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4 Ways to Hiccup-Proof Your Career

Job cuts tend to rise through January, as organizations wrap up their year and pivot into the future. Even if you’re riding high with a job you love, things can change and—in a heartbeat—you can find yourself out of a job.

These career hiccups are inevitable, but they can be particularly devastating during the holidays. If you’re laid off this season, consider these moves:

  1. Take unemployment seriously. If you’re a Texan and you qualify for unemployment benefits, the Texas Workforce Commission can help. Contact them immediately because it may take up to four weeks for them to gather all the information they need to approve your eligibility. Once you’re approved, follow TWC’s instructions very carefully to stay compliant.
  2. Be smart about informal work. It can be easy to find supplemental income in the current “gig” economy but doing so could cost you. Any income you make will reduce your unemployment benefits, for instance. And then there are the hidden costs, like self-employment taxes and certain liabilities. Most health and auto insurance companies will not cover individuals who get into an accident while driving for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft, for example.
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  4. Consider temp work. Many workers are afraid to take on temporary employment for fear of losing their unemployment benefits. Don’t be. Unemployment covers only a portion of what you last made, while temp work holds the potential to pay you much more. Plus, taking on occasional temp work during your eligible unemployment period doesn’t disqualify you from receiving benefits during the days or weeks in which work is unavailable (just be sure to follow TWC’s instructions carefully). And, finally, temp work can help accelerate your path to full employment again by filling employment gaps on your resume and job applications, connecting you with new employers and contacts, and introducing you to temp-to-hire opportunities.
  5. Network, network, network. Now is the time to connect (or reconnect) with colleagues. Consider sending holiday cards, attending happy hours and holiday parties, and getting involved with alumni and professional organizations. Be open to working with recruiters. Head to LinkedIn and update your profile, add new connections, ask for recommendations, and reach out to key colleagues. For inspiration, read these ten job search hacks and tips to use networking to find a job. Experts claim that up to 85% of all new hires are due to personal referrals. Cast your net first with the people you know.

Although employers tend to lay off workers this time of year, right now there are even more employers looking to fill positions. Consider your options when it comes to unemployment versus temp work and connect with recruiters and colleagues to nab job opportunities that aren’t listed yet. Who knows? A better job could be just over the horizon.