Ten Ways To Be Productive Between Jobs

Written by L.N. Cordero, MA
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One reason for keeping busy during periods of unemployment is to show potential employers that you are a go-getter who does not allow situations to control your attitude nor flag your pursuit of excellence in your desired field.

Periods of unemployment can also be depressing for some people. Staying active while you are between jobs can help lift your mood. Aside from updating your resume and job hunting, here are ten things you can do to be productive during your job search.

Enroll in a class. Keeping your skills up to date puts you ahead of other candidates who may have outdated skills. Taking a class also speaks volumes to potential employers about your initiative and willingness to learn. If you are planning to change careers, a class can help build your knowledge base in a new area. In addition to skill-building, taking a class will often allow you access to campus resources such as the career office and career counseling.

Teach a class. If you have been working in your field for some time, you may be just the person for whom universities, colleges and continuing-education programs have been looking. These organizations will often hire professionals to teach classes in their areas of expertise. The benefits of teaching include opportunities for networking, establishing yourself to potential employers as an expert in your field, and perhaps a small incoming revenue stream.

Stay involved in career oriented activities. Attend conferences, expos and workshops in your field. These are great networking opportunities and help you maintain knowledge relevant to your discipline.

Volunteer. Volunteering, especially if you are able to volunteer your career-related skills, allows others to see your skills in action. Becoming a volunteer can be a networking opportunity while simultaneously providing a sense of personal satisfaction. In addition, you stand out to potential employers as someone who is socially responsible and gives back to the community.

Become an intern. If you have little experience in your field, even if you held a full time job prior to becoming unemployed, internships are great opportunities to hone skills and gain experience. If you are planning to make a career change, internships can give you a leg up on the competition by offering hands-on training and references in your new field.

Become a consultant. Putting up a website and having business cards are two excellent ways to market yourself as a consultant and someone who is active in your discipline. Taking on projects could also provide some income.

Start your own business. If you’ve ever dreamed of owning your own business, a drawn-out period of unemployment could be just the opportunity you needed to invest the necessary time into your start-up. Without the distraction and obligation of a full-time job, you are now free to devote as much time as necessary to achieving your dream.

Demonstrate your leadership abilities. Join a professional organization such as your local chamber of commerce or one more specific to your field. Take your membership to the next level by coordinating events or serving in an official capacity. Employers are always looking for candidates with strong personal and organizational leadership.

Cultivate social networks. Attend community events. Join an intramural sports team. Organize a meal with friends or former colleagues and ask them to each bring someone you don’t know to the meal. Become more active on networking websites. Reconnect with former classmates or professors. Get to know your neighbors and other people you see every day. Having an “in” through a personal relationship may give you just the edge you need to land your dream job.

Have fun! Exercise. Travel. Take up a hobby. Throw a party. Participating in activities you enjoy not only helps lift your mood, but gives you a conversational piece. Having something interesting to talk about during your interview or social networking event sets a good tone for the conversation and helps you connect better with others. Social connection is key for success not only in the job market but also in life.

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Recently lost job

With the economic downturn, I recently lost my job. Thanks for these tips. Hopefully putting some of this stuff into practice will help me land my next job!