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Money Matters: Starting over financially and finding a job in pandemic times

FRANKLIN LIVING— Many people’s finances look a lot different today than they did at the beginning of March. Whether you lost your job temporarily or permanently or had to take a cut in pay, you feel that impact immediately.

Looking for a new job during pandemic times is just one more facet of 2020 that feels like a mountain to overcome. Staying motivated while facing this challenge can be frustrating.

COVID cases continue to rise; filing for unemployment is a complicated process; and scarcity of jobs in some areas is enough to make anyone anxious for their financial future. Here are some things to keep in mind while job hunting in an extremely tough time.

First, you’re not alone. Even if no one in your immediate circle has been laid off or had reduced wages, it’s important to know that this is one of the times where everyone is experiencing the pandemic in some way. If it’s not financially, it might be work or family-related. Each challenge comes with its own set of stressors. Try to remember, in times of “freaking out,” there are millions of others in the same situation.

Next, keep in mind, hiring takes time. When you’re applying for tons of jobs, it seems at least one of them would be ready to hire on the spot – but that process can take weeks or longer, depending on the company you’re applying to. You might have to make budget concessions in the meantime until the right job comes along. Financial experts call it the “ramen noodle budget.” In other words, only spend money on the absolute necessities, like eating ramen for dinner instead of takeout or a grocery haul. These are not always pleasant times, but remember, it is only temporary.

Don’t forget to think outside the box on where you apply. Thanks to the digital age we live in, there are many remote working or work-from-home options out there. Also, consider if a commute or a move would fit into your life. You might end up on a whole new career path simply because you were forced to make a change; this can be a bright side to an unexpected hardship.

Take advantage of what’s available to you. We’ve all gotten used to applying online for jobs now; I can remember when we pounded the pavement submitting applications. Use today’s technological capabilities and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Go ahead and beef up your LinkedIn profile. Search skill sets and see what a good fit might be. Google how to make your resume stand out. Search applicable hashtags on Instagram and see what you find. Make a Facebook post letting friends and family know you’re looking. Sometimes it’s as simple as who you know, and they need to know you’re looking.

Emily Mays is vice president/senior marketing director at Community Spirit Bank in Red Bay, working in finance for 14 years. She is an enthusiastic social media marketer, financial literacy advocate and go local supporter. She lives in East Franklin and has one daughter, Lola.