Unemployment is a time of major change. As the door closes on one opportunity, the next step in a career might be waiting just around the corner.
However, for many job seekers, this period of transition may not move so quickly; meaningful change takes time. While the loss of a job may be sudden, the search for a new career path can be a painstaking, reflective process.
For the newly unemployed, this sudden switch can be overwhelming. The pace of a normal day slows down dramatically; chunks of time that were once filled by meetings, appointments and deadlines are now free. When “9 to 5” becomes “whenever I want,” this unexpected wealth of extra time can be equally liberating and dangerous. If gone unorganized, much of this valuable time can be wasted.
With that in mind, here are a few productive ways to use free time during periods employment:
Job board sites are a great source of information about open positions in your area. However, if this is the only place where you’re searching for opportunities, you’re only getting one side of the story (Not to mention these sites can get pretty repetitive after a while.) Schedule in some time to research companies and industries you are interested in, and make sure to do this in a variety of ways. For example, reviewing a company’s website can give you extra insight into the organization’s history, values and general structure. Whereas following a corporate Twitter or Instagram account may give you some insight into a particular company’s culture.
During the hustle and bustle of the work week, it can be difficult to find time to sit down with a good book. Take advantage of some gaps in your schedule by building in time for reading. Working variety into your reading schedule can not only help to keep things interesting, but also ensure that you are using this time to gain valuable skills and experience for your job search. For example, set aside Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for reading non-fiction material specific to your industry of preference, while Tuesdays and Thursdays can be focused on fiction writing you enjoy.
Back to School
Employers want to see that you have been actively expanding your skills during anytime of unemployment. There’s no better time to make a commitment to education than during a period of unemployment. Use this time to enroll in a course specific to your career goals. There are also great online-based resources that allow you to learn new skills for free on your own time. One fantastic example of this is Code Academy, an entirely internet-based way to learn website coding for free. Find subjects that interest you and add something new to your resume!
Going from a forty hour workweek to forty hours of freedom can be a startling change; don’t let specter of unused free time hurt your chances of landing a new job. Take this time to learn something new and show employers that you’re ready to take that next step.
Do you have any ideas for using your time wisely while unemployed? Let’s talk about them below!