The COVID outbreak brought unemployment benefits into the spotlight. And when the worst happens, having that safety net provides important support. However, unemployment, at best, represents a short-term solution. To keep your career moving, you should seek out a steady job as quickly as possible.
For years, unemployment benefits existed for most people as a theoretical worst-case scenario. After all, with the jobless rate hovering below 4% at decades-low levels, not many people actually needed that help. That changed with the COVID outbreak.
The wave of layoffs that followed the pandemic forced the unemployment rate to spiked above 14% in April 2020. It has drifted lower since, but it is still sitting around 8%, more than twice the figure seen as recently as February. Meanwhile, every week, hundreds of thousands of new people file for unemployment benefits for the first time.
All this suggests that unemployment benefits have stopped existing as a theoretical experience. Now, they have become a concrete reality for a significant part of the workforce. Given the current state of the labor market, should you wait it out on unemployment before trying to get back into a job?
The short answer to that question is “no.” There are significant benefits of foregoing unemployment and finding a steady job as quickly as possible.
Here are some factors to keep in mind:
Unemployment Runs Out
Unemployment benefits aren’t permanent. The exact details change based on your state of residence and your current situation. But, eventually, you won’t be able to rely on that support. It’s best to find a position sooner rather than later, so you don’t have a ticking clock to worry about.
You Can Make More
During the early stages of the COVID outbreak, the government passed measures to beef up unemployment benefits. The result: some workers made more on unemployment than they did while on the job.
Don’t count on that happening to you. Such a scenario is both rare and temporary. By design, most unemployment benefits pay only a fraction of the amount you’d make while working. If you’re looking to maximize your incoming cash, you’re better off finding a paying position.
Keep Your Career Momentum Going
Don’t think of jobs as individual assignments. Think of them as stops on a journey, like driving by landmarks on your way to an exciting destination. When you’re unemployed, that trip is halted. You’re not moving. To get your career going again, you need to find a position in order to regain momentum.
Avoid Resume Gaps
Prospective employers hate resume gaps. It isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but it makes job searches more difficult. At the same time, these holes in your experience force you to waste valuable interview time explaining them. As much as possible, avoid these breaks in your work history by finding a job quickly.
You’ve probably heard it dozens of times: building a career is about networking. That means you have to seek out connections within your industry. You can’t do that effectively while on unemployment. Finding a job allows you to meet new people and create the bonds necessary to keep your professional development going.
Find Engaging Ways to Fill Your Day
While it can seem like a chore on most days, having an interesting, engaging job fills a spiritual purpose as well. You can invest your time in a fulfilling way. Of course, not every position reaches the height of excitement. But any job at least gives you direction and allows you to fill your time productively.
Ready to find that next job? A top-notch recruiting firm, like DHR, can help.
Contact DHR today to find out how they can place you in the perfect assignment quickly and easily.