Jobs for the Recently Laid-Off

"Managers and professionals need not to be locking themselves into one industry. So if they are having a hard time in the financial industry then they look at their management skills and have options outside the financial-services industry."

If you do take a job painting houses to pay the bills, Farr said it is okay to leave such positions off your resume.

Unemployment

Finally, sometimes it might just pay more to stay on unemployment.

Farr said that before you run out to start delivering newspapers or pour cups of coffee at the local diner, use your unemployment. You are probably better off financially. But once you've run out of unemployment, you may be more open to anything that pay the bills.

"A lot of people get discouraged and sit at home while they're collecting unemployment and that's a recipe for being unemployed a longer time," he said. "The more important question is what should I do with my time while receiving a benefit. The answer is to turn that time into a full-time job search."

You can find out how to apply for unemployment benefits in your state on the site CareerOneStop funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. (Most states let you file a claim by phone or online.) To estimate what your weekly unemployment benefits might be, see this Economic Policy Institute calculator.

"Hardly anybody gets a job offer by somebody knocking on their door," Farr said. "This is why you can't be sitting home every day reading the newspapers."

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