You thought your degree, combined with some experience, would assist with moving your career forward. Certainly, it wouldn’t be hard to land a job(s) and keep growing professionally, right?
But the unexpected happened:
You joined the ranks of the unemployed – for longer than you could’ve imagined. And, upon becoming long-term unemployed, you’ve realized your education and experience haven’t yet secured you a job in this market as fast as you wanted.
You have the “dreaded resume gap” – growing with the passage of time.
You shouldn’t feel defeated, however.
You still have opportunities to grow your career in unemployment. You can “expand your horizon” and develop yourself now – without the demands of a job.
This has been a lesson for me, and I’ve been focusing on productivity and action. Below, I’ll provide 5 ways I’ve been advancing my career – even while unemployed.
See if they’ll work for you.
5 Ways to Advance Your Career in Unemployment
Number 1. Regard the Advice of Others – and Share. When you don’t know something, it doesn’t hurt to learn from someone who does.
Finding a job is challenging. I didn’t know everything I needed to know about job searching right off.
But, I decided – early on – to learn all about career and job searching from knowledgeable experts and apply what I’d learned. I committed to reading informative articles and other types of content beneficial to me in the job hunt.
And, though I haven’t yet secured a job offer, I found ways to improve – and did so. Still do.
I’ve also reached out to “successful” professionals I respect in my field. From the ones who responded, I received beneficial career advice, feedback, resume reviews and assistance, and professional resources.
What’s more important, however, is: not only have I learned from others, I’ve also been sharing what I’ve learned with others (blogging is one way I’ve been sharing). By sharing with others, I’ve grown all the more.
So, I encourage you: don’t hesitate to learn from others as you move forward in your career and share what you learn with others.
Number 2. Sharpen Your Old Skills and Learn New Ones. While unemployed and looking for a job, you should evaluate your skills (including soft skills) – and improve them. As stated previously, I’ve been evaluating my skills from professional and personal experiences as some skills are transferable to all jobs and industries.
I haven’t stopped there, though. I’ve also been learning new skills through a side project of interest – blogging.
I’ve been blogging for quite some time now and have sharpened many skills – old and new. I have an updated skill set and have advanced professionally!
Side Tracking Moment: When I started this blog, I had no thoughts of my career or how a side project would move it forward. But, looking back, it’s proven beneficial, even in a career sense, and I’m figuring out how to make these skills work for me in other endeavors.
Back on Track: So to you: focus on your skills and commit to improving them. Also, learn new things and skills – through books, blog posts, podcasts, project(s) of interest, and/or free online training – and practice them regularly.
Number 3. Declare Continuous Learning a Worthy Investment. This relates to #2 above, but I’ll expand a little more here.
Learning doesn’t end with school. These days, you have many options to mentally expand and learn new knowledge and skills – outside of the classroom.
Personally and professionally.
Though out of work, you can remain knowledgeable about the latest trends and information on your chosen industry – and/or another industry of interest by reading, for example. Read relevant journals, websites, magazines, and job postings to understand the expectations of and developments in your field of interest.
Understand what you need to do now to better prepare yourself for entrance or reentrance into this field or another one.
In terms of personal learning, you can develop so many new skills outside of your original forte: job hunting and interviewing, coding, organization, speed reading, writing, computer literacy, cooking, to name a few.
The list is endless, so why not invest in learning something new during this time?
When you invest in continuous learning, you go outside of areas of familiarity and become well-rounded. So, as you push through unemployment, continue your research and education.
Stay updated on developments in your field.
Commit to a project of interest.
Study something you’ve always wanted to learn.
Then, observe the development of new knowledge and skills applicable to the professional world.
Number 4. Don’t Hesitate to Research and Explore New Opportunities. This is a crucial point.
While going through unemployment, there’s an urgency to get a job. You want a job so bad, you limit yourself in terms of opportunities.
How do I know? I did this for the longest time.
But, I learned something: you must be flexible in your career and job search. You never know where the job offer will come from.
Consider something: Since skills are transferable, it’s helpful to look for opportunities not only inside your field of study but outside as well.
Make time to explore alternative opportunities. Research and acquire knowledge of growing industries and companies. Target these companies in your job search – playing up the skills you have.
See what happens.
Note: If you open up to alternatives, please don’t engage in mass submissions (i.e., applying to any and every job in new industries of interest). Before applying, research your targeted companies, identify positions of interest, consider their requirements, your qualifications, and your ability to perform the job tasks.
Number 5. Beware of Impatience – Practice Patience Instead. You might be wondering: “what patience has to do with this?” Hear me out, though.
How many times have you wished you had a “perfectly, laid out career map?” Or, how many times have you wished you could see what the other side of unemployment will look like for your career?
Am I the only one?
No! Certainly, you’d love to know exactly where you’re going in your career. You’d love to know where the job offer will come from, right?
But . . . you don’t know these things, and this is where patience comes in.
You need patience in unemployment when you don’t know where your career is headed or how it’ll play out.
You need patience to keep researching and applying when others around you are receiving job offers and promotions – and you remain jobless.
You need patience to understand you’ll secure your next position in time though you don’t see any reality of it now.
I’ve learned some things take time and require patience. Securing a new position is one of these things.
The wait has been long and hard, but I believe I’ll see the other side of unemployment.
You should too.
Interested in Progressing Your Career While Looking for a Job? Consider the 5 Suggestions Above.
Yes, you’re going through unemployment right now.
But, you can still do things to strengthen your career. Things to move forward in your career while looking for a job.
I’ve provided 5 starter suggestions for your consideration. I hope they’re helpful to you and prompt you to act – if you haven’t already been doing so.
From Me to You: Your career progression isn’t dependent upon your employment status. Though experiencing unemployment, you can still take steps to advance your career. I’ve listed 5 ways I’ve been active in my career and growing – outside of the workforce. I hope you’ve been inspired to action.
P. S. What do you think? How have you been advancing your career while unemployed? I’d love to hear about your actions.