Financial, Legal, Insurance & Management ServicesUnemployed? Stay Busy While Looking for a Job

Unemployment shouldn’t mean idleness. Keep yourself busy while looking for your next job.


The past four years have been tough on the US economy, during which many companies were forced to either downsize or cease operations altogether. As a result, a large number of employees found themselves without work.

Recent data, however, bring positive news to job seekers. The labor market’s recovery seems to be on an upswing, with steady hiring and fewer layoffs. According to the Labor Department, the unemployment rate went down from 7.9% in January to 7.7% in February, the lowest level since December 2008. The number of people filing new claims for state unemployment benefits decreased as well.

Nevertheless, there are still some who are unable to find suitable employment, or are hopping from one company to another looking for that elusive well-paying and stable position. If you’re one of these people, you might be getting discouraged or tired of waiting, or finding yourself with a lot of time but no idea what to do.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity or remaining idle, look for ways to be productive during your unemployment period. Being active will not only allow you to increase your marketability, but also help keep the sadness at bay. There are still plenty of things you can accomplish even if you don’t have a job.  

Make good use of your “free” time

You don’t need to always stay near your phone, waiting for prospective employers to call for an interview or a job offer. In fact, most hiring managers and career experts recommend that those who are unemployed engage in activities that will build, expand, and strengthen their skills. So don’t be afraid to go out. You can always activate your home phone’s call forwarding function (ask your provider how i.e RingCentral) so callers can reach you even when you’re away from home.

Take a part-time or contract assignment, even one that may not be related to your field. If you do a good job, your bosses might propose making you a permanent employee. In addition, you’ll have a chance to discover other areas you’re good at.

You should also look into free classes offered by local community organizations. Besides keeping you busy, these will be good additions to your resume. Taking classes will give you an opportunity to expand your network as well.

Another thing you can do is volunteer work. Helping out in public centers and the like will show potential employers that you’re passionate about something and willing to help people. Volunteering also helps improve character.

Don’t stop thinking of new concepts. Read and stay updated with new developments in business and technology. Stock up on ideas on generating cost savings or improving revenue stream, so you’ll have something fresh to share when you go on job interviews.

Look on the bright side

Don’t despair if it’s taking you longer than expected to find work, or if your interviews don’t go too well. Avoid putting yourself down or blaming yourself for not getting a job easily. Focus on positive things instead.

Cheer yourself up by walking in the park, going window shopping, or reading inspirational books in the library. Use this time to get back into shape. Exercise daily and eat healthy; these will help keep you physically and mentally fit.

When you’re out with family or friends, don’t always talk about your frustrations on job hunting. Steer your conversations to more pleasant topics such as what new recipes you’ve tried out with your meager budget or how you’re maximizing your downtime.

You might feel depressed at some point. In that case, turn to your most trusted pals for support and comfort. Try not to get into drinking, as this only provides temporary relief and may lead to addiction.

If you’re starting to suffer serious problems because you’re in a slump, consider seeking professional help. While you may feel this is an unnecessary expense, your mental health is, in fact, worth the cost.



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