If you are unemployed and currently looking for ways to strengthen your career opportunities, then look no further. Given the recession and the tough job market over the past couple of years, the majority of employers are sympathetic to such circumstances. In order to fill the large employment gaps on your resume, here are 6 things that you can (and should) do while you are looking for your next big career move.
1. Take a temporary position: Getting work from a temp agency, or taking a contract assignment is a great way to get people to see your work and to see what you’re capable of accomplishing. Having the temporary work on your resume also shows that you are constantly trying to gain new experiences. Regardless of what position you take, if you do a stellar job, whoever hired you is more likely to recommend you.
2. Volunteer: Having volunteer work on your resume makes you more marketable to potential employers. Doing volunteer work shows people that you are passionate about something, and that you enjoy helping – and working – with others. It also demonstrates that money isn’t the most important thing to you. Almost every kind of volunteer work helps develop skills and qualities that are necessary when working for and with other people. All of these qualities, such as integrity, are highly sought after in a new hire.
3. Take a class: Industries are constantly evolving and changing, so it is always beneficial to take a class. The more technical competence you have, the better your chances are of getting hired. Not only are classes and certificates great for boosting your resume, but they also demonstrate to potential employers that you are serious about your work and that you take initiative. Taking classes in new subjects can also help you explore different fields or even inspire you to pursue a new career path.
4. Start a professional blog: Creating a professional blog is a great way to market yourself to employers because you are seen as an expert in your field. If your blog becomes widely read, you can even earn money from pay per click and display ads. If you are looking to expand your network and get your name out in the world, blogging is one of the best ways of doing so. Having a blog allows people all over the world to read about you and your interests. Blogging also keeps you up-to-date with current events and looks great on your resume.
5. Expand your network: Utilize social media and professional organizations to build and expand your network. Sometimes it’s easier to find a job through people you know rather than by applying to jobs online, especially if you can use those people as personal references. Be sure to let your friends, family, and professional contacts know that you are looking for a job, and ask for their help in making connections.
6. Update your resume: Making sure that your resume is current and optimized is one of the most important things to do while you are unemployed. Your resume is the first meeting between you and a prospective employer, and it is one way that you will be remembered. In today’s tech-savvy world of keywords and search engine technology, if you resume doesn’t contain the right job-specific keywords, then your resume may never make it out of the candidate database even if you’re fully qualified for the job. Take the time to tailor your resume for each position you apply for, and include specific words from the job posting. Be sure to make the connection between how your volunteer work, blog, or class prepares you for the next job.