Unemployed? Fill in the gap.
If you can pull it off (we know it’s hard to juggle child care and other responsibilities without a paycheck), continuing to build marketable skills while unemployed is one of the BEST things you can do for yourself and your job search.
Here are a few ways to GAIN CONNECTIONS (remember the importance of networking), build MARKETABLE SKILLS, and keep your SPIRITS UP between jobs:
- Do volunteer work. Volunteer positions are unpaid, but you can learn valuable skills, connect to people in your industry, and get experience for your resume. Just read what Jason Weinstein, a healthcare recruiter, has to say about the strength of volunteer experience on a resume. On your resume – and in interviews – be sure to highlight the skills you developed, the contribution you made to your organization, and any leadership positions. Two great websites that allow you to search for opportunities are www.nycservice.org and www.idealist.org. You can also find organizations, like Taproot Foundation, that have volunteer opportunities for specific occupations.
- Go for an internship. Internships give you valuable work experience and can sometimes lead to a job offer. Additionally, internships provide great opportunities to network and demonstrate to potential employers that you are remaining active while looking for a job. Sites such as www.internweb.com/ let you search for opportunities. Think you are too old for an internship? Check out Interns Over 40.
- Practice your skill. Find people who may temporarily hire your skills and services. These opportunities add to your experiences, improve your resume, and widen your network of contacts. For example, if you are looking to improve your customer service skills, search for a job in a store, catering agency, or trucking company during the holidays, when these employers are looking to hire thousands of temporary employees. Or, find freelance opportunities on Guru.
- Deepen your knowledge. Continue your education with a relevant course at a local college, teach yourself a language with books on tape, hone your communication skills by joining Toastmasters, or regularly attend workshops offered by professional associations. (Check out the Workforce1 Citywide Calendar for a sample of workshops offered by professional associations.)