A To-Do List for the Long-Term Unemployed

The latest unemployment numbers released last week reported that unemployment is down to 7.7%, this is great overall, but many analysts believe that a large number of the long-term unemployed (unemployed a year or longer) have simply stopped looking for work.

What are a few things you should focus on if you fall into this category?

1.) Be sure to continue to pay your bills on time. This is when your savings come into play. It is very important to have 6 to 8 months of expenses saved. You should continue to keep your bills current. While you are job hunting, potential employers may pull your credit report. Be sure to keep your bills and expenses current and up to date.

2.) Protect your credit. As stated earlier, potential employers may pull your credit report. This has now become part of the recruiting process so it is important that you protect your credit. Pull your credit report periodically and review it to be sure that everything is accurate. If there are any mistakes, be sure to clear them up immediately.

3.) Deduct job-hunting expenses on your taxes. If you are looking for a new job that is in the same line of work, you may be able to deduct some of your job hunting expenses on your federal income tax return.

You can deduct amounts you spend for preparing and mailing copies of your résumé to prospective employers. You cannot deduct your job search expenses if there was a substantial break between the end of your last job and the time you began looking for a new one.

In order to be deductible, the amount that you spend for job search expenses, combined with other miscellaneous expenses, must exceed a certain threshold. For more information, please consult IRS.gov.

4.) Most importantly, don’t give up. This can be a frustrating time, but now is not the time to give up. Make sure you keep your skills sharp and up to date. Make sure you have support during this time whether it’s family members or a support group.

Black Enterprise Columnist Jennifer Streaks is a Financial Author, Expert & Pundit. Continue the conversation by visiting her website www.JenniferStreaks.com and following her on twitter @jstreaks.