Does it sound familiar to you? You have been out of work for more than a few months and you are on the brink of despair. Your resume is posted on all social networking sites; He’s been in touch with every old co-worker and old high school classmate he can think of; and has applied to every job opening in his field since last November.
You’re stuck and don’t know what to do next.
While you’ll obviously still be looking for a job, here are some innovative ideas that will not only keep you busy, but also help you build your resume while you’re out of work. Who knows, they might even take you to your next job.
Living and working abroad
Maybe you’ve ever dreamed of packing up your things and moving to another country, but you were worried about what might affect your resume. If you’re out of a job and looking for what’s next, now might be the perfect time to work and live abroad.
Living abroad will not only give you the opportunity to experience another culture and learn another language, but if you play your cards right, you can get paid to do so. Working as an au pair or working for one of the many English teaching programs, for example, can provide you with the funds you need to live and work in Japan, Korea, France, and many other countries.
One of the worst things about being unemployed is being stuck at home all day. Return to the world as a volunteer. Helping out at your local animal shelter, homeless center, or religious organization will allow you to get out of the house and around people.
Plus, it will help fill that gap in your resume, give you a sense of personal fulfillment, and may even introduce you to a potential contact, client, or colleague.
These days, many companies would rather hire a short-term consultant than hire another FTE (full-time employee). You may not realize it, but you probably have marketable skills that could help you work your way to your next job and generate some cash while you’re at it.
Think about the experience you have and how you can market yourself. If you’ve worked in marketing, advertising, public relations, or communications, you probably have the writing skills to work as a freelance writer and editor. If you’re a former IT/computer science professional, try offering your web design services to smaller businesses and startups that can’t afford an in-house webmaster. If you’ve ever worked as an art director, take your skills and start a freelance graphic design business.
In addition to earning a few extra bucks, freelance projects can help grow your personal network and portfolio, and can even lead to a relationship with a future employer.
improve your skills
If you graduated from school a while ago, chances are your industry has changed slightly since you last entered the books. Take your free time as an opportunity to catch up with the latest technologies, software products, and paradigm shifts in your professional field.
A quick and inexpensive way to update your education is to take a certification class. Certification classes can range from a few weeks to a few months, depending on your level of commitment and the information you are seeking. Best of all, they can show a future employer your personal drive and motivation, as well as add a continuing education component to your resume.
Find temporary work
If a full-time position just won’t come along, consider employment with a temp agency or staffing company. These organizations will test your skills and then compare you to a company that needs a worker to fill in for another employee who is sick, on vacation, or on maternity leave.
While some positions are short-term and may only last a few days, other “temp to permanent” positions can turn your temp job into a full-time career. Either way, these opportunities give you a chance to network, add to your resume, and put some money in your pocket.