With resume gaps now the norm, workers should pay attention to how they spend their time between jobs.
The reason is simple: Employers want to know how job candidates spent their time when they were out of work. Learning? Traveling? Moping? Being productive or non productive ? Planning for the future and doing things or just sitting around as if you were putting in time in a prison cell ? Unless you project the image of a can-do job seeker, you're likely to have a tough time bouncing back from periods of unemployment.
Most job interviewers will be looking at what you doing to be productive with your time during your period between jobs.
One cannot stress the importance of demonstrating continued involvement with career-oriented activities. It's not only critically important to the employer, but it's important to the candidate as well . It takes away feelings of depression, discouragement and hopelessness.
To project an active, engaged attitude during a job search consider these tips for being productive when you're out of work.
Volunteer your services . Volunteering provides "a double benefit". In addition to giving back to a cause or organization, you get to work with people who see you in action. It becomes a great new networking environment .
Be a Leader. Join a professional organization, but don't just attend meetings. Instead, take your involvement to the next level by serving on a board or organizing events. Through that you will often end up finding your next job .
Try taking classes . Employers are often wary about job candidates with outdated skills, especially in technical fields. If you take a class, or even begin pursuing an advanced degree, you already have a ready-made way of countering that perception as you demonstrate your engagement in the field.
Find an Internship . Those early in their careers may want to consider an internship, even if they have previously held a full-time job. The same goes for workers considering a career transition. An interneship may even help you with career transitions.
You may want to try teaching a cllass . Universities, community colleges and continuing-education programs such as in your local Y or in your local shool board often seek experienced people as well as professionals to teach classes. Aside from being a potential avenue for networking, teaching gigs look impressive to employers, positioning you as someone with expertise in your field and the ability to impart that expertise to others.
You can even try to be a Consultant to local organizations , businesses or local non-profit groups . If you are involved in a drawn-out job search try setting yourselv up as an independent consultant
Get business cards and a website. Your assignments may be small ones, but being a consultant allows you to market yourself as someone active and involved in your field.
Perhaps you should join a "Job Seekers Group". Churches, libraries and other organizations often host groups for job seekers. These groups often serve to help people make contacts and provide support.
You should build social networks . With jobs and other commitments, many people find they don't have time to develop the sort of social networks crucial to a productive life -- and career. Often people " get it done after they get everything else done,"
You should spend your time expanding social networks. Those connections often mean as much as professional ones during a job search. Start talking to your neighbour, and you learn they know X, Y , Z and B . It has been said by a very wise person
Raymond Strokon that if you know 5 people you know the world .
Have you ever thought of starting a business ? If you've ever dreamed of owning your own business, a period of unemployment may actually be the time to try to pull it off. There was a telecommunications executive who started actually initianted a Web hosting company with a number of friends during a serious time of his "between jobs ".
Now his partners have other engagements now and then, but their cooperative arrangement allows them to spend more or less time on the business as their schedules permit. And, not surprisingly, networking for tis business helps in other aspects of their careers.
Remember always to have fun . Life should not be serious. Everything always seems to work out. Remember that " in the long run we all will be dead."
Enjoy yourself . Play golf. Go for a run. You may even want to build something or do something that you always wanted to and never had the time before . Perhaps a rec room or a backyard gazebo . It will gives you something good to talk and think about . It can set the tone of your conversation. And conversation, whether online or off, is often the lifeblood of a productive job search.