Make unemployment work for you
If you’re unemployed and worried that employers will turn you down because you have an employment gap on you CV. Stop worrying you are in the same situation as many other people and a reasonable employer will be sympathetic and know that we are in terrible times and you would be working if you could only get a job. The thing that potential employers won’t sympathise with is if you have done nothing to try to find a job during this period or anything to improve your skills or general wellbeing. Here are some ideas that could keep you busy:
Keep a routine
Don’t be a layabout, it would be easy to lay in bed until mid-day every day but that won’t get you a job, its also not good for your wellbeing. You need to get up every day and do something. This should include a period of time spent looking for a job. Use online job sites, look at local employers’ websites to see if they have a vacancy page and definitely visit the Job Centre, they also have jobs advertised inside their offices.
Join an Agency
Whilst there may not be that many permanent jobs around at times like these there is definitely temporary jobs available. These jobs may not be long term, they could be for a few days or a few weeks, but they are jobs. They may also not be what you are looking for on a permanent basis, but they will get you out of the house. The money will be dreadful but its better than nothing. Most importantly it keeps you in the game and you are meeting potential employers and networking.
Again, it probably wouldn’t be a career choice but there are lots of online work you can do. The majority of opportunities are in market research where you contribute to research projects which could range from your opinion on particular restaurants to your politician views on a decision the government has made. It will take up a bit of your day, but you will be paid for you contribution. Again, you will be earning money, not a king’s ransom, but it will be better than nothing.
Organise your habitat
Whether you live with your mum and dad, rent a room, a flat or a mansion now is a good time to sort out your life. Start where you like but have a system. Don’t move onto another room until you have completed the one you are in. Declutter, rearrange, wash, clean and tidy. I promise you no matter how much you dislike housework you will feel 110% better having a good clear out and tidy up. It will energise you and give you a positive mindset.
Move your body
Don’t be a couch potato. Schedule time every day to do some exercise. This may be following a video at home, going for a walk locally, having a cycle ride, going to the gym, or attending an exercise class. A healthy body means a healthy mind. Most importantly exercise keeps your positive and releases good endorphins. You’ll need those when looking for a job- as you need to be positive as there is a good chance you will get a fair amount of rejection.
Rather than be at home doing not a lot all day. Why not do voluntary work. This could be with your favourite charity, maybe delivering food packages to vulnerable people, working in a charity shop, helping in a care home and assisting at a local school. Whatever you do will be appreciated and you will feel better about yourself. You will be contributing to society, doing you bit, and you won’t be killing time.
Improve your skills
You could consider going back into full time education in order to qualify for a position such as teaching. Alternatively, there are dozens of options for getting job-related training. Some courses can be sourced online. IT skills are something employers are really interested in. Particularly software like Excel or maybe accounts software like Sage Line 50, Sage Payroll or Xero. You’ve got the time so why not use it wisely. Anything extra you can put on your CV is help.
It’s a bad time for you and do you know what always makes you feel better when things are not good, well it’s a treat. Depending on how solvent you are, the treat could just be a bit of chocolate or a bottle of wine. But if you are okay financially why not buy a new interview outfit, get your hair done or go away for the weekend. Whatever you do I promise you will feel good and this will energise you when you are searching for a job.
Sell what you don’t need
If you are short of cash or would like to treat yourself to something nice but can’t afford it, sell something you no longer like or need. You can sell anything on eBay or why not have a garage sale and get rid of lots of things at the same time. Anything sells, old books, CDs, clothes, IT equipment, computer games, jewellery, handbags and sports equipment. You name it and someone out there will buy it. What is one mans rubbish is a another mans riches. Decluttering also makes you feel better about yourself and more positive about the future.
Start your own business
My business partner Cathy Bolton and I started this company after we were made redundant. It was in 1991 which was the midst of a recession and I promise you there is no better time to start a business. It will be hard but if you can make it happen during hard times you will be a millionaire when times are good. If you have a business idea, prepare a business plan, you can go online and find out how to do this. You may then need to approach your Bank or a finance provider in order to get started so make your business plan realistic but good. Hopefully having raised the funds you are ready to start. You may never look back.
Start a professional blog
Blogs now days are the way to go. They are an excellent way to market and attract potential employers. Think about personal branding, for instance if you are a Legal Secretary, make sure your branding incorporates the area of law you have the most experience of. If you are a Personal Trainer your physique should be your branding badge. Write articles about previous experience you have had, work you have done, achievements you have had or ambitions you want to fulfil. Whatever you do make what you write interesting, informative, and fun.
Don’t be a loner
It is important to that you stay connected with people. You must see friends on a regular basis. It could be for a drink or a meal, or even just a visit but its important that you don’t lose touch with people. They can help you, maybe even advise you about jobs they’ve heard about. Another good thing to do is to join a club. This could be a sports club or something that interests you. i.e. Art, Books, Environmental Clubs. It will help you to network, build your network and above all make you feel good and when things are bad anything that makes you feel good is a wonderful thing.
I know very well what you are going through at the moment. I’ve been there myself and have got the tee shirt. It is critical that you keep busy, keep happy and remain positive. Good things are around the corner. It may take a week, a month or even six months to get a new job but believe me if you are looking you will definitely eventually find one.