Being unemployed can certainly be very tough, but it doesn’t have to be in vain. When you are unemployed, you have more time to do things for yourself that you would not have been able to do if you have a fulltime job. If you use all this time beneficially to become a better (and more marketable) person, finding your next job will be much easier as well as satisfying. Here are ten things you should be doing if you are unemployed to make sure you that time is not spent in vain:
1. Apply for jobs you actually want to do
If you are spending hours and hours looking for a job, your standards start to drop; jobs that you would not have taken before you were fired begin to look like the dream job you have always wanted. What you want to be doing is living your life productively, while keeping your eyes open for a job that really interests you.
2. Improve or learn any skills you may want to have
Do you ever look back and think to yourself that your life would have been way better off if you had learned how to program when you were younger? How about learning another language? Or even learning how to draw? These are things that you come to regret not learning when you were younger. Well regret no more—now you have all the time in the world. It may be difficult and time-consuming, but it is a much better use of your time than watching tv or laying on the couch. Upon improving yourself and learning new skills, you will make yourself more marketable in the workforce.
3. Start your own business
Being unemployed is the perfect time to start working on your own. You can start up a website or blog for literally $10. The internet has minted many bootstrapped businesses/blogs/websites that have gone on to make millions. Starting a business take time and commitment, so what better time to do them than when you have nothing on your hands but time?
4. Network and build connections
Networking can work in two ways; you can form relationships with former colleagues or meet new people. Networking events are held all the time, in all major cities. If you want to find people with similar interest or in similar industries, go to Meetup.com to find them in your area. If you want to connect with people from your college, go on campus and check out the events they have there. The people at these events normally have a lot to offer, so take the time to get to know them. However, you should never go to networking events empty-handed. You should also have something to offer—whether it is insight into an industry you are intimately familiar with or knowledge of something you just learned. Networking is a mutually beneficial proposition so make sure you have something to offer.
5. Take some classes
Education has never been constricted to four walls. But today’s technology reaffirms that notion. You no longer have to pay for classes so you are no longer allowed to use the “no money” excuse. Someone with no college degree at all can take classes, run by Stanford professors, online (coursera.org) to learn skills they never had a chance to learn in college. They teach topics that are in high demand, including programming, marketing, and business management. What better way to spend your unemployment time than spending no money and still getting an education?
6. Stay up-to-date with your industry
Something you will definitely want to do is stay in touch with your industry, or the industry you want to get into. If new products are coming out, you should know all you can about it right away. I mean, what else do you have to do? Read articles online relating to the topic and spend time researching it; the more you know, the easier it will be to get back into the job later on.
7. Discover your passion (and yourself)
The majority of people are too wrapped up with the everyday grind to do some self-reflection. Being unemployed is a great time to do that. Self-reflection allows you to find yourself and discover what you are really passionate about. Finding your passion (or calling in life) is something that the vast majority of people are never lucky enough to do. So consider this extra time you have a gift.
8. Start up a blog and build your online reputation
All employers now do a search online before even calling you in for an interview. You can use this to your advantage. Establish a blog and a social media presence, especially in the industry you want to be involved in.
Volunteering will give you something to put on your resume the next time you apply for a job, and looks great to employers. To top it off, the experience you gain from volunteering in different places is valuable and helping people in need always warm the heart; so if you are not doing any good for yourself, you are at least doing good for others.
10. Do something you have never done before
Use the extra time to cross off your bucket list. When you are always worried about being late to work, or being too tired from work, you often miss out on many experiences in life. Use this time off to try things you have never tried before; they do not have to be things that you have always wanted to try, it could be completely random. I know people that used their time off to bike from Seattle down to San Francisco. That would have been impossible for them to do if they were working.
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