One of the worst things a job seeker can do is sit idly by waiting for a job opportunity to present itself. Whether you get laid off, take time off to raise your family, or find yourself otherwise unemployed, the key is to stay active and not let your skills lapse. Job searching can be challenging and seem disheartening at times, but it is important to remain positive and do what you can to maximize your potential. If you are in the midst of a job search, here are some ways to make the most of this downtime in your career:
- Volunteer. Find a local organization where you can put your skills to use. Not only does this help you to stay sharp, it is also a great way to gain additional experience and also network with other professionals. It can also give you a chance to try something new and apply your talents in different ways. You may discover opportunities in an industry that you never considered. Volunteering also looks good on your resume to show employers that you are involved in the community, using your skills to help others, and staying active while searching for a new job.
- Register for professional development courses. Check out the newspaper, industry websites, or professional organizations to find classes, conferences, or seminars related to your field. Many local colleges and universities offer courses as well. Expand your knowledge in management, leadership, computer software, or other areas relevant to advancing your career. Show that you are up-to-date on the latest best practices and committed to improving your professional skills.
- Enroll in certification or degree programs. Another way to make the most of your time is to continue your education. If you have been thinking about going back to school or earning a specific certification, start working on it now. A future employer may help to cover costs if it is beneficial to your career path and position within their company. It can also make you more marketable by showing that you are attaining advanced training and knowledge.
Consider what type of position you are searching for and what qualifications are desired. Do your best to maintain and refine your skills so that they stay current in the industry. You want to show employers that even while you are searching for a job, you are still continuing to grow and expand your knowledge and skills. This can convey your drive and dedication to your career. It also helps to fill in any gaps in employment and show that you have stayed active and involved.