Sure it might take some time -- even a few months or more in this recession -- to find something in your field. In the meantime, you need to feed your family and pay the mortgage and other bills.
So here are some tips on how to find jobs that can hold you over until that next dream post comes along.
Laurence Shatkin, a career information expert and author of 150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs, said that people need to be "looking for the hidden job market and not depending on the listings in the newspapers or the online job banks."
The best leads come through your networking connections. Those people can also act as a support network to help you cope with being fired.
"It's devastating. It's almost like a death in the family," Shatkin said. "You really have to work your way through this and get a positive attitude."
When it comes to finding that emergency job, think about how much training you need or what type of skills you can bring to the job. And think a bit outside the box.
Traditional fall-back jobs, like being a bartender ($19,740 average annual salary), waitress ($18,570) or restaurant host ($17,770) might not be available in some hard-hit markets where consumers have curtailed eating out because of the recession.
Instead, Shatkin suggested looking off the beaten path, such as working as a funeral attendant ($22,470).
"People go on dying, even when there is a recession," he said.
Other jobs that require only a few hours of on-the-job training are teaching assistants ($30,080), loan eligibility interviewers ($28,190), physical therapist aides ($24,080) and jobs sterilizing and preparing medical and lab equipment ($27,940). Another good option might be working as a postal service clerk ($44,290), but Shatkin said there is usually a big backlog of applicants for those jobs.
A host of other jobs only require a week or two of training and are still hiring.
He suggested looking for a job as a school bus driver ($26,190), or a pest control worker ($30,280). There are also jobs to be found as correctional workers ($39,970), court bailiffs ($38,510), medical assistants ($28,270), dental assistants ($32,280) and pharmacy technicians ($27,560). And for those people willing to take on a bit more risk in their lives: hazardous materials removal ($39,210).
Shatkin said all of these jobs "are less sensitive to downturns in the economy than most occupations."
You might be able to get a seasonal job -- like data entry for tax season -- but Shatkin warns that many of those functions can now be done easily, and cheaper, overseas.
Finally, Shatkin recommends trying to turn your existing skills into something new. For instance, if you lost a job in construction, consider becoming a fire inspector ($52,640). Also think about becoming a self-enrichment teacher ($39,600 ) or -- if you have a master's degree -- an adjunct professor at a local college ($71,950).
"If you can't do it," he said, "you teach it."
Michael Farr, author of 100 Fastest-Growing Careers and several other books on employment, said that a lot of older workers -- particularly those once in management -- are becoming self-employed.