Over the last few months, millions of Americans found themselves furloughed, laid off, and without work through no fault of their own. Some data suggests as many as 36.5 million people. For many of those who became unemployed, both COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) and ACA (Affordable Care Act) insurance coverages have been lifelines. Some of the most recent estimates from the Economic Policy Institute suggest that 49% of American workers depend on their employer-sponsored health insurance. But COBRA doesn’t last forever, and much like the government-funded unemployment stimulus payments will eventually run out. You may be in such a scenario, and realizing your timeline to find a new job is narrowing. It can be nerve-wracking to find a new job and worry about an upcoming lapse in your insurance coverage. Today we’ll offer tips for those of you who find yourselves down to the wire with COBRA, and ready to streamline your job-hunting efforts.
Job Searching with Purpose & Driving Results
Job hunting has been difficult in recent months. But some industries, especially those deemed essential businesses, are starving for new employees to join the ranks. Now that you may be facing a lapse in insurance coverage, your goal to find a new job has renewed purpose. It’s time to buckle down and search with the intent on driving results.
Your Job is to Find a New Job
Since you’ve been off work, you may be spending more time with family or tackling projects around the house. But now that you’re on a mission to find a job, and fast, your daily routine should be focused on the search. Your full-time job now is finding a new employer. Make sure you’re dedicating enough hours of the day to reaching your goal. Even if the job boards look scarce, you can be spending time making a list of potential companies for which you’d like to work. Even those organizations that don’t have openings posted will always be looking for top talent to add to the ranks.
Use All Available Job Search Tools
To find the job opportunities, you’ll want to be sure you’re leveraging all available search tools and apps online. Of course, you’ll want to be dialed in with routine browsing of openings posted on the big sites, like Indeed.com, ZipRecruiter.com, and Glassdoor.com. But some industries have specific niche job apps that might be more obscure to find. For example, there are a host of IT and technical boards just for computer programming, designing, and engineering, like Dice.com. You may want to consider contacting recruiters for new opportunities as well. Most recruiters don’t charge candidates for their services.
Become a Resume-Sending Machine
Before you send your resume to any job listing, make sure it’s clean, updated, and free of grammatical errors. There are text checking platforms online that can help you put forth your best copy, including Grammarly.com. The experts will insist you also include a cover letter that is specifically catered to and addressed to the job opening at hand. Consider setting a daily goal for yourself regarding a number of resumes you’d like to send. If you fall short on submitting to posted jobs, you can always visit specific company career pages to send directly to HR departments, as well. Again, many companies may be slow to post openings, but be willing to entertain top talent additions to their teams.
Develop Your Personal Brand & Network
How your skills and experience translate on paper is one thing. But another important aspect of your job search is how well you develop your personal brand and network. Considering most candidate and employer transactions happen online, it’s important to ensure your online presence is making the best impression.
Social Media Platforms
Don’t be afraid to use your social media platforms as a resource to find a new job. Share with friends and family that you’re on the hunt and encourage them to refer opportunities. Join local or community-based groups online to keep your finger on the pulse of opportunities in your area.
Professional Networking Efforts
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated and reflects your willingness to entertain new job opportunities. It may also be helpful to message former colleagues within your previous work circles to remind them that you’re open to interviewing. Networking with old vendors or partners can also be a great referral resource for jobs.
With an increased flow of emails going out and resumes being sent, you’ll be increasing your chances of a response. It’s the perfect time to prepare for the next steps, including interviews. Consider practicing your interviewing skills with a family member, for example, to get comfortable explaining your experiences and discussing why you’re looking for a new opportunity. Also, be ready to conduct these interviews via Zoom or online at first. Have a quiet area in your home, with a background free of clutter, so you can present professionally. Consider virtual interviews to be the same as in-person visits and dress your best for the job.
Managing Insurance Coverages & Options
Because your COBRA insurance is running out soon, you’re feeling pressured to find a new job and keep from experiencing a lapse in coverage. Understanding your insurance options, including affordable ACA plans available to you right now, can help you better plan for what comes next, new job or not. You have enough to worry about right now. Health insurance shouldn’t have to be a concern.
Understanding Your COBRA Coverage
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act is an offering that extends your former employer’s health plan, in some instances, up to 18 months after you’ve lost your job. But to understand what your precise COBRA plan details, it may help to contact your former HR representative to discuss the details. You may want to connect with your former employer to make sure the plans haven’t changed and now include bringing employees back to work.
New Job, New Waiting Period
If you’re successful in landing a new job, your insurance coverage problems may still go unresolved. Many companies impose a waiting period before new staff members can opt into company insurance. Be diligent about inquiring so you know if the new plan takes effect immediately or is only available after 90 days of employment, for example. Consider exploring ACA plans designed specifically to alleviate these waiting period concerns.
Filling in the Insurance Gaps
You may realize that you face gaps in coverage, regardless of your employment status. If COBRA runs out before you find a new job or if your new employer imposes a waiting period, you might have a few months without insurance. You can decide to cross your fingers and hope no one in your family has an emergency. But that is a risky step, especially considering the state of the current pandemic. There are short-term insurance products available and worth considering.
You may be feeling the pressure now as you face a COBRA deadline and need to find a new job. But you can hone your job searching efforts, and you do have options to ensure you maintain coverage. If you anticipate a lapse in coverage between the transition of COBRA and starting a new position, you can browse available insurance products with us!