By Kathy Keshemberg, NCRW, CCMC
We’ve all seen the reports; it’s taking (on average) three months to land a new gig. So what do you do with your time (besides look for a new job)? How will you answer the interview question, “What have you been doing since leaving your last employer?” Here are some ideas …
- Volunteer — There are a multitude of organizations in your community who exist solely on the hours donated by volunteers. Not only is this an opportunity to make a difference by sharing your time and expertise, it’s also a great way to network. You’re not just “telling” what you can do, you’re demonstrating. Plus, it will be a rewarding life experience.
- Internship — Typically reserved for new college grads, there is a growing trend of adults seeking internships to explore/learn about careers to transition into. You have the opportunity to learn first-hand the requirements of your new career path, but also it’s a foot in the door for possible full-time employment. Since an internship is a low-pay or no-pay position, the hours will be flexible so you can continue your job search activities.
- Continuing Education — With technology and the work place changing so rapidly, taking a class to update or learn new skills, or beginning an advanced degree program is an excellent use of your time. This activity will demonstrate to your future employer that you are a life-long learner and that you are staying current within your area of expertise.
- Leadership — Become involved in your trade association, community organizations, or other professional groups, but rather than simply attend meetings, accept a leadership role. Serve on the board of directors, chair a committee, spearhead an event – any of these activities will give you visibility and the chance to showcase your skills.
- Consultant — Accept short-term consulting jobs, either for pay, as a volunteer, or even on a barter basis. The terms of your involvement don’t need to show up on your resume, but the experience and results you deliver will be impressive.
- Job Seekers Group — Job search is a lonely activity! Meeting on a regular basis with a group of your peers in the same situation is a good way to gain support and to network.
- Enjoy Yourself — Looking for work is a stressful time, so be sure to take time for you! Tackling some of those projects you didn’t have time to do while working will give you a real sense of accomplishment. And while finances are often tight during this time, there are plenty of low-cost activities you can do with your family such as bicycling, hiking, working out, or home organization projects. Taking time away from your job search is imperative for your sanity!