When you’re searching for a job, the fact that you’re currently unemployed might weigh on you as you consider what potential employers will think about the time you’ve spent out of the workforce.
If you’re out of work and want to demonstrate you’ve spent your time wisely during that period, there are several things you can do.
Here are six job search tips that can help you use your employment gap to your advantage.
Volunteering your time to help others in your community is a considerate way to spend your time while you’re out of work.
Volunteering demonstrates your interest in contributing to something larger than yourself and also allows you to develop additional skills that you may be missing out on in between jobs.
Volunteer activities often require some prior planning or coordinating a large number of people, which can show your ability to manage a large group.
If you’re not sure where you want to volunteer, look up local nonprofits in your area, check hospitals for volunteer opportunities or ask your friends if they know of any groups looking for more participants.
2. Join Professional or Community Organizations
Not only will joining these groups supplement any other networking activities you participate in, it will also allow you to be a part of the conversations about trends in your industry and community.
When interviewing for a job, if you can speak to relevant news and refer to other professionals in your industry, you can show that you haven’t lost ground while you have been out of work. Additionally your connections can be leveraged after you have obtained a job, which is also a benefit for a potential employer.
3. Take Skills Classes
One of the best things you can do for yourself while you are unemployed is continue to build your skill set. There are many online programs such as Code Academy, which is free and offers lessons to help you learn coding languages.
By continuing to expand your knowledge base when you are out of work, you can show potential employers your initiative to learn and improve your skills. Particularly in tech industries, skills can be a major differentiator between job candidates.
4. Start Something
Unemployed people generally have much more time on their hands than they ever did while they were employed. This free time allows for the opportunity to be creative, come up with ideas and implement them.
Whether you blog about your expertise, start a consulting business or open a small business of you own, take the initiative to start something and follow through with it on your own to demonstrate your drive to a potential employer.
It may seem silly at first, but you can never be over-prepared for a job interview. Talk to a friend in your industry about conducting a mock interview with you.
By practicing the key points you want to mention about yourself and the questions you want to ask to demonstrate your interest in the position and the company, you will be more comfortable when it’s time for the real thing.
6. Treat Yourself
Pursuing a new job doesn’t mean you have to ignore your own passions. While you’re between jobs, spend time doing what you love. If you enjoy physical activity, keep yourself busy by staying active. If you prefer to read, maybe you should join a book club. Whether you’re a sports fanatic or an avid photographer, your hobbies can help you while you’re out of work.
When you’re job-hunting, every skill counts. As you interview for your next job you can discuss all of the things you’ve done to advance your career and yourself if you continue to pursue your passions.
A stint of unemployment can be a stressful time in anyone’s life. If you keep yourself busy and continue build up your connections, your resume, and yourself during this time, you will be viewed as much more hirable candidate to a potential employer.