24 Aug Between Jobs? Things To Do If You Are Unemployed
The job market may be recovering, but for the nearly 7 million people in the United States who are unemployed, that might be cold comfort. Even if you are working on your resume, reaching out to contacts, and going on interviews, it can be difficult to stay positive and optimistic. Part of the reason for feeling down if you are unemployed is a lack of control.
Without a day-to-day routine of a place to go, a steady paycheck, a work identity, you can begin to feel that you are drifting along with no way to take action. But the truth is, there are a variety of things you can do when you’re unemployed to maintain direction, and feel like you’re growing professionally, even off the payroll.
Here are things to do right now if you are unemployed:
Take a class. If you aren’t working in your current field, a great way to stay up to date is take a course studying in it. You can take an advanced class to acquire new skill sets, or learn about changing laws or regulations that affect how you do your work.
You will also expand your network, meeting classmates and instructors with the same interests. And it is something tangible to add to your resume, including helping to narrow the gap between professional jobs with other experience, even if not for compensation.
Volunteer. You can offer your time to a variety of organizations and causes, whether related to your job search or not. At the very least, you will feel immediately useful and have a regular schedule. But if you choose an opportunity related to your field, you keep your skill set fresh and offer value in a way that is similar to the self-esteem you get as a member of a workforce.
Start a business. This option isn’t for everyone, and depending on your work experience might not be practical. If you’re in banking or construction, this might be a difficult area to begin self-employment. But some skill sets like accounting, law and teaching, are easier areas to jumpstart a solo practice with relatively low overhead.
If you were a teacher, you can offer tutoring services. If you were an accountant, you can hang out your own shingle. Even if you continue to look for traditional employment, having your own clients can stretch you mentally and keep you working in your field.
Teach. Community colleges, vocational schools and continuing education programs may be looking for people with experience to extend their knowledge to others.
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You may discover you even like teaching more than working in your field. And again, it expands your network, and keeps adding new experience to your resume, to help narrow the gap between traditional jobs.
Blog. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of starting a blog. Programs like wordpress and tumblr can make the technical part a lot easier. After that, it’s just writing about what you know. No one even has to know if you are unemployed.
You can link these articles to your LinkedIn profile, and not only feel like you’re still in the conversation, but even gain followers. If you can offer some thought leadership in your area, you increase the chance of a future employer reaching out to you.
There are ways to be in control, even if you are unemployed.
It isn’t easy to stay positive and motivated when you are looking for work. It’s important to stay around positive people, eat right, get exercise and take a break from the job hunt. But there are also tangible, actionable steps you can take to stay in control of your situation.
Try to think of this time as an opportunity to explore options that you wouldn’t have or couldn’t have before. You might surprise yourself and end up somewhere entirely different and utterly satisfying. And that’s real control.