Losing a job is really hard but I hope you know that you are not alone. Most people, at some stage in their lives will lose a job. Of course, knowing that doesn’t really make jobless period any easier.
Whether you were made redundant, left on your own, got fired or still haven’t found the right opportunity post-graduation, dealing with a lack of employment (and, lack of money in your pocket) can be stressful and can pull you down.
But there is also a small positive silver lining to the whole situation. Your job-free status gives you something all the other working bees are lacking: TIME. Don’t waste it. Use it as efficiently as possible, and you may just end up looking right at your next job opportunity.
Here are six ways you can make the most of your time between jobs.
#1 Stop wasting time with TV –read instead
Don’t read for pleasure, but for information. Set aside an hour or so every day to read material like a business best-seller, a book on leadership or the newspaper. Why? Reading for information will stretch and refine your overall perspective and knowledge base, which will only benefit your job search efforts. Plus, you never know what kind of information will prove to be helpful in interviews with prospective employers.
#2 Revamp your resumes and cover letters
Notice the plural form of both ‘resumes’ and ‘cover letters’. It’s rare that any job search stays on one singular path; you may be open to a couple different types of positions, or the same type of position within different industries. Use your time to not only update your application toolkit, but also to generate multiple versions that are tailored to different types of openings.
#3 Learn something new
Now is the perfect time to gain a new skill or brush up on an existing one. Tech skills like coding and user experience are increasingly attractive to hiring managers, so consider registering for an online course with companies like General Assembly, Khan Academy or Skillcrush. Even if your new skill isn’t directly applicable to the positions for which you apply, having a well-rounded resume can still increase your chances of landing an interview.
#4 Show off your writing and communication skills
Whether writing samples are an official part of a job application or not, it’s a good idea to have a few well-written pieces ready to go, especially if you’re searching for a job in communications, sales, marketing or media. Even if an employer doesn’t request them, you can post them to a personal blog or LinkedIn account. You can write op-eds, offer advice on GitHub or Quora, cover industry trends, review new products on a special Industry forum – it almost doesn’t matter what you write as long as your articles are well-crafted, interesting and useful. It’s fine to take a strong position on a polarizing topic, but steer clear of negative content, complaining or anything that could be considered disrespectful. My tip: check out Amex Open Forum. I wouldn’t be surprised if you score a job lead there.
#5 Brush up on your cooking skills
This tip seems a little random, but trust me – it’s fun and you should use this extra time to learn to cook. Few things will help you save more money day to day than when ordering out every night is no longer necessary. Plus, typical take-out fare is rarely healthy. Get in the routine of preparing your own meals now, and it will be much easier to maintain this good-for-you (and your wallet) habit when you’re back to work.
#6 Get into networking mode – start with breakfast and lunch meetings
After a couple weeks of unemployment, it’s not uncommon to slip into hermit mode. If you haven’t changed out of your PJs or seen un-refracted daylight in 48 hours, it’s time to get out and do some networking. Catch up with old colleagues or schedule some informational interviews. Breakfast meetings and mid-day coffee chats are good for a couple reasons. First, they get you out of the house early and set the tone for a productive day. Second, unlike happy hour or dinner, they don’t cut into the other person’s precious out-of-office time.
Try it, I am confident your situation and mindset will improve and you will look at the period of unemployment with a different perspective. Go get started and remember to hunt wisely!