Being unemployed is never easy. Whether you’re a recent grad searching for your first gig or one of the 4.3 million Americans that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports was displaced from a longtime job (three or more years) between January 2011 and December 2013, the process is exhausting, frustrating, and sometimes demoralizing. There are strategies for landing on your feet, though, and in a great Black Enterprise post titled “6 Things You Should Be Doing While You’re Unemployed,” Kandia Johnson shares wonderful tips for honing your talents and positioning yourself for success. Read on for a summary of her advice.
1. Embrace Reinvention, Explore Entrepreneurism — No longer having a job means no longer working for someone else, and while this can be scary, it frees you up to pursue your passions and possibly even monetize them. List your 10 best skills and ask yourself whether you might be able to launch a successful venture — even on a temporary basis, while you continue looking for something else.
2. Get a Routine — Looking for work is hard work, and it’ll be easier if you develop a schedule and stick to it. An important part of your week, Johnson writes, is something along the lines of “Follow-Up Friday,” wherein you take time to connect with an old colleague or industry influencer you’ve met through social media or networking. What’s more, working from home all the time can wear you down, so be sure to leave the house every now and then and continue the search from a coffee shop or favorite lunch spot.
3. Hone Your Online Presence — “Having an online platform, is a great way to market yourself to potential employers,” Johnson writes, and that means starting a podcast, launching a YouTube channels, or engaging with others in your industry via social media. Write blog posts and share relevant articles. Get in the game — and make sure your resume and examples of your work are accessible at all times, in case you meet an important person during the course of your daily travels.
4. Get Connected — This one goes along with No. 3, only it’s about more than your digital presence. Connect with people using social media, for sure, but also attend networking events and join professional organizations. This, coupled with your online activities — blogging, following important people — will help get your name out there. “Don’t forget to tap into your personal network of friends, family and professional contacts,” Johnson adds. “Let them know you’re looking for a job, and ask for their help in your job search.”
5. Volunteer — Between 2002 and 2012, the Corporation for National and Community Service kept tabs on 70,000 jobless individuals and found that those who volunteered were 27 percent more likely to find a job. That’s because volunteering is a chance for you to develop new skills and demonstrate your ability to put them to use.
6. Build Your Skills — Whether it’s through a free online tutorial or paid class, learn a new skill such as setting up spreadsheets or building websites.