Make the Most of Your Job Search DowntimeSeptember 5, 2012
“What have you been doing since leaving your last job?”
If you’ve been out a work for a few months or more, you’re likely to hear this question in a job interview. You’re probably thinking of the obvious answer, which is, “Duh, I’ve been looking for a job!”
What the interviewer is really asking, however, is not how diligent you’ve been in your job search. He or she wants to know is what kind of resilience, initiative, and discipline you have when a structured work day is taken out of the picture and your world has quite possibly been turned upside down.
Here are three things you can do while you’re out of work that will provide you with some good answers for that question, as well as occupy your time constructively.
Find a volunteer job that takes advantage of your professional skills. For example, if you’re an administrative assistant, find a charity that needs some help organizing and running their office. Not only will it keep your skills fresh, but helping others may help you!
Networking is the most difficult part of the job search for many people. Do some research and see if there’s a networking group for your industry or for other people who are also seeking work. You may find it easier to mingle with other people when you know they are there for the same reason you are. While you might not make a direct connection with an employer at a group for people who are out of work, you may meet someone who will be in a position to help you after they land a new position.
You don’t have to take a formal class – although that is a good option. However, there are many online learning resources that are free or inexpensive. You can even find free online courses from prestigious institutions like M.I.T. and Harvard. Class Central has a good directory of free online courses.