Q&A: How Can I Make the Best Use of my Unemployment Period?

Question: I have just been laid-off from my previous job and am currently unemployed. I do not expect to be able to find a job right away. What can I do to ensure that I make the best use of my unemployment period and stand myself in good stead with my future employers?

Answer: For those of us who are hovering between jobs, unemployment can be a very trying time indeed. From the unspoken anxieties and tension that stem from not having a regular income, this momentary lull in our careers – however brief – can weigh heavily on us. However, this brief pause does not have to equate to putting your career on hold. You can still turn it into a productive time in which you pick up new skills or build on your existing strengths.

Furthermore, not being tied down to a strict nine-to-five schedule also means that you’ll have a lot more time on your hands to engage in pursuits that you were too busy for previously. Here’s how you can turn your unemployment around and lay the foundation to re-enter the job market as a more competent and confident person.

Enhance Your Skills

This is a great time to acquire skills that will make you more marketable or versatile. For instance, Photoshop could prove to be a valuable add-on skill for someone working in advertising and marketing. Similarly, a software programmer would do well to pick up a new programming language. You should look at what additional skills your industry could make use of and make an effort to acquire them. An industry certification programme might serve to boost your technical ability and credibility, while an industry-relevant seminar could equip you with valuable knowledge about the prevailing trends and put you in touch with important contacts.

Stay Active

While it’s easy to go on about how you should take up courses to bolster your credentials, this is also a great time for you to pay more attention to yourself and get into shape. Exercise can be a great boon to your overall mood and how you feel about yourself. It’s easy to let your spirits sink low when you’re unemployed, but an active lifestyle can go a long way towards boosting your confidence and motivation. And when your previous hectic schedule stopped you from paying attention to yourself, now’s a great time to take care of your health and fitness.

Go Back to School

This may appear require quite a leap of faith for some, but this period of unemployment may provide the best opportunity for you to return to school and get that degree or postgraduate qualification that you’ve always wanted. It’ll also be a solid qualification to add onto your résumé, and you will resume your job search more qualified and confident than before.

Furthermore, your future employer will be more likely to view you in a positive light as you will come across as a candidate who believes in a continuous process of learning and upgrading. At the end of the day, your unemployment period doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Having a vast amount of time on your hands to do with as you please opens countless doors to new opportunities to pursue your interests, upgrade yourself and make yourself more marketable. In fact, it’s all up to you to make the best of this time and turn it into a game-changing opportunity that will step up your career prospects!

What else can you do while unemployed? Share with us in the comment box below!

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