One of the worst things you can do if you’re unemployed is to not do anything.
The sentiment that looking for a job is a full-time job itself may ring true, but if you’re unemployed and want to help position yourself for hire, you can’t let yourself stagnate. While you may grow weary of reading through job postings and tweaking your resume, don’t let these tasks define your entire job search. Take the time to also determine ways you can work to improve yourself and your skills.
If your job search is taking longer than you expected, think of other ways to make use of your time that can also help improve your prospects of getting hired. Just as you should strive to keep your skills sharp while you are working, it can be equally as important- if not more- that you put in the same effort while you are unemployed.
There are many ways you can grow your skills while unemployed. Whether you take a training course to learn a new skill, or sign up for classes to gain a professional certification, or if you seek out an internship or other volunteer opportunity, each of these endeavors will not only look good on your resume, but will also prevent you from having a large gap to explain, while demonstrating that you use your time proactively to add value to your skills.
There are also many online learning courses available –many are free- that you can do from home. A few examples of popular sites are Coursera, Open Culture, MOOC, and edX. Joining a professional organization, or following social media pages and groups related to your field of interest are other ways to help you keep up with industry news and changes. Ensure you stay sharp in your specialized field while continuing your job search.
Another benefit to any of these options is that each one also provides opportunities to help you build your professional network. The people you will meet through taking a class, attending a seminar, joining a professional organization, or another type of opportunity will most likely share your same professional background and interests and could prove to be valuable additions to your network. They may be able to provide advice and share personal experiences with you to help in your search, and you may even find out about job openings or companies that are hiring through the new connections that you make.
No matter where you are along your professional career path, there are always opportunities for growth. If you are unemployed, take advantage of the time you now have and look for ways to improve your skills and credentials. This added effort can help boost your resume and your job search efforts, while helping you feel more content with the way you are spending your time. Even though you may be unemployed, you can still work to propel yourself forward professionally until the next big opportunity comes around.