At some point during your career, you may be without employment due to redundancy or by choice. Now you suddenly have free time on your hands and nothing to do. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it can take as long as 10 weeks to become employed.1 Here are a few tips to get yours through this time of uncertainty.
Whether you’ve been at your previous job for 6 months or 6 years, once you have left take the time to update your resume. List any new skills you’ve acquired and any jobs you’ve held since you last needed a resume. Contact information for yourself, businesses, and references may have changed as well. Once updated, have a friend proofread the resume for you. A second set of eyes is always important to spot errors or offer suggestions.
What do most employers ask from applicants when applying for a job? References. Many applicants are unprepared to provide professional references (don’t include your mom as a reference!) Before listing a colleague as a reference double check that they are willing to recommend you positively. You should provide 3 – 5 references when asked.
Though not a requirement when applying to a job, a letter of recommendation may go a long way during your job search. This letter will show future employers what strengths you can bring to the new job. Prospective employers appreciate hearing about your accomplishments from prior employers.
Now that you are in-between jobs you will have plenty of free time. Make better use of this time by staying busy. Instead of spending that extra time in front of the TV in your pajamas or online shopping invest it in personal enrichment. Prospective employers often ask about periods of unemployment so it’s useful to have examples of how you spent that time effectively.
There are plenty of opportunities to take classes between jobs. Local colleges are a great place to find enrichment classes on art, cooking, and even coding classes for a fee. Alternatively, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has free classes at your local branch. Online Resources through the Library include Universal Class and Lynda.com.
Another way to keep busy during unemployment is to volunteer. Though it’s not the same as work experience, listing your volunteer work on your resume looks good- and depending on the industry related volunteer work can be a helpful. Volunteering is also a great way to network.
Studies show that anywhere from 70 to 85 percent of positions are filled through networking. Take time to build your professional network when between jobs. Networking can be intimidating but can be a useful tool during your search for a new opportunity. There are several different ways to network. Using the networking site, LinkedIn is a great way to network with others in your industry. Other options include using the website, MeetUp or attend a program at the Library such as the monthly Career Talk Over Coffee hosted every second Monday by the Job Help Center at Queen City Grounds.
Now that you’ve updated your resume and have applied to jobs you may start receiving requests for interviews. To better prepare yourself consider practicing in a mock interview. Interviewing skills can become rusty if not used often. In the mock interview they will provide valuable feedback on areas of improvement. Plus, interviewing can be stressful, and practice may help you feel more comfortable during the interview process. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!
Hopefully, these tips will be helpful if you ever find yourself unemployed unexpectedly. Being unemployed may seem like a scary experience but it is something that may happen at least once during your work life. The important thing is to breathe and know you can get through it!