Don’t Lose Your Edge During Your Job Search

By Christy Eichelberger

In today's job market, more and more people are finding themselves unemployed for extended periods of time. Instead of being out of work for a month or two, many find themselves out of work for a year or more.

Being unemployed can be disappointing, but spending month after month searching for a job for an extended period of time can be draining. And if you spend that much time out of the professional loop, it may seem like it's going to be impossible to get back in.

If you have been looking for a job for an extended period of time, you might want to consider what you can be doing to help stay in the loop. It's one thing to have a small gap in your resume to explain, but it's another thing to be out of your field for so long that you fall behind or lose some of your job skills.

Here are 10 things you can do to stay up-to-date during you job search:

  1. Take a professional development course
  2. Attend a conference or seminar
  3. If you can't afford to attend a conference or seminar, visit the organizer's website for information on key topics and who is speaking. Then research those topics and speakers.
  4. Read trade publications- books, newsletters, websites, blogs, etc.
  5. Visit company websites for the latest news in your field
  6. Keep in touch with former coworkers or colleagues in your field
  7. Use a social network such as LinkedIn to connect with other professionals and get recommendations from them
  8. Attend an industry networking event to make new contacts
  9. Follow leaders in your field via their blogs, twitter accounts, Facebook pages, etc.
  10. Volunteer with organizations within your field

Being out of work doesn't have to mean you will lose your edge. Making the most of your time by keeping your knowledge and skills sharp will pay off on your resume and in a job interview. Potential employers will be pleased to see that you are motivated and dedicated to your profession by positioning yourself as a qualified employee despite a period of unemployment.