What Can You Do While Job Hunting?

CTU Tips on What to do While Job SearchingKnowing what to do when unemployed can help you get ahead of your competitors. You should take the initiative to be involved in activities or events that lead you to job opportunities. Be resilient when you scour the internet and newspapers for job openings and send countless resumes to potential employers. You can't avoid the pressure and frustration in the process but you can alleviate it by spending your spare time productively and meaningfully. Consider how you can enhance your resume and acquire relevant skills to increase your chances of being considered for a job. Here are 5 tips to help you remain competitive while job hunting:

1. Keep your skills current

Possessing up-to-date skills may increase the chances of landing yourself in a position within your industry. Find out sought after skills in your industry and determine those you lack. Take initiative to brush up relevant skills to enhance your market value. Such skills include using the latest MS Suite software, computer programming, coding, video editing, web design and professional writing. Take advantage of online resources such as tutorials, e-books or how-to videos. Alternatively, you can attend a class where you receive one-on-one support.

2. Volunteer

According to the study 'Does it Pay to Volunteer?', unemployed people who volunteer between 20 and 99 hours in a given year are approximately 7% more likely to have found employment compared to non-volunteers. Since employers are on a constant look out for people with experience and skills, volunteering can be an ideal way to apply your skills and gain experience in your chosen industry. Examples of volunteering include helping out in school programs, redesigning a website for a nonprofit organization or updating customers' details on excel sheet for a low-budget company. By volunteering, you can work on keeping your skills fresh while enhancing your resume. Volunteering also creates opportunities to develop professional relationships which may lead to job openings.

3. Network

  • Reconnect:
    Reconnecting with old contacts such as your course instructors, ex-colleagues, ex-bosses and college advisers is a form of networking. These days, modern technology provides endless opportunities to stay connected. Social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter are recommended platforms you can use to stay connected professionally and inform others about your job search. If you are still a student, be sure to check our guide helping students search for a job.
  • Establish new contacts:
    Forming new contacts is another form of networking. To get to know new people in your industry, you should make it a point to attend networking events and industry related seminars. Meeting people who share similar interests and exchanging contact details in such events can be a good opportunity to acquire industry updates and seek direction in looking for new job opportunities. For more information, read our article detailing how networking can help you in your job search.

4. Write

  • Write and tweak your resume:
    It is best to know how to write and format your resume to ensure that it is updated and presented in a way that your skills and experiences are prominently featured. Take time to tweak your resume and cover letter to suit the job specifications you are applying for. This should help your potential employers to identify your skills easily from the piles of resumes received and that in turn can increase your chances of being considered for an interview.
  • Blog about your industry:
    Writing a blog can be a good way to keep up with your industry. By writing authoritatively on new trends in your industry, you are putting your ideas across as an informed commentator in your field. Over time, people in similar field may discover and follow your blog. This way, you can form connections that may direct you to possible career opportunities and help you keep abreast with current issues in your field.
  • Reflect:
    You will have plenty of spare time while looking for a job. Why not utilize this time by starting a diary? Chart out your job search efforts and reflect on your near successes and failures. Evaluate your pitfalls and devise ways to improve your job search to increase the chances of success. Through reflection, you get to think thoroughly about issues faced and how to overcome them.

5. Get Certified

A good way to utilize your spare time while looking for a job is by getting certifications in your industry. A certification is an official approval to perform a professional job or task. It is generally earned from a professional society, university or a private certifier. Some certifications are one-offs while others must be renewed periodically to demonstrate evidence of continual learning. Look up your industry's website on certification procedures and attempt to start this process. Alternatively, if your industry requires certification to be renewed periodically, it is best to get this done prior to its expiry date. Getting certified in your industry can increase your chances of being considered for the job you are after.

Knowing what to do when unemployed can help you get ahead in your search. Make the most of your spare time to keep abreast of new trends in your industry and polish skills that can contribute towards getting the job you are after. At the same time, inform others about your job search and make connections with people in your industry. By being reflective and proactive, you can achieve your goal. Most importantly, persevere and stay positive.

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