How to Maximize Your Time During Unemployment

Unemployment can bring a myriad of feelings. If you are like me, you had an organized job search plan and an expected date to obtain a new role. A month or two went by and your deadline passed. You sent congratulatory messages to your peers on their new positions or liked a picture of your former coworker at their new job.

“When will that be me?”

During your time on LinkedIn, you read an article about “hiring increased X percent compared to 2018.” You scratch your head in confusion. “Where? Who? I have had few or no interview requests.”

You remained consistent in your job hunting process by applying for numerous jobs per day, submitted additional documents and hoped companies’ application tracking systems would identify how you stand out from applicants as great as you, more experienced and recent graduates.

Occasionally, you answered random calls and anticipated a recruiter from one of the companies you applied to requested an interview. Unfortunately, it was a robocall or someone with the wrong number. After weeks of little to no response, you said to yourself, “I’m drained. Am I wasting my time? Is there something I’m missing? Should I settle for that position I’m overqualified for?”

The job search can be a tedious and anxiety-filled process. But changing our perception from lack of to an opportunity helps. Ask yourself, “How can I make the most of my time?”

1.      Learn a new skill. I’m currently taking digital marketing and SEO courses through LinkedIn Learning. It is beneficial for both professional and personal branding goals. LinkedIn Learning is one of many resources you can use to learn soft and hard skills such as emotional intelligence, leadership, negotiating, and personal branding. Many of its courses include hands-on exercises to test your knowledge. You can start and stop wherever you are in the course plan and interact with other LinkedIn members for help and support.

2.      Attend skill webinars. Thinkful, a career accelerator offers courses online including web development and data analysis. I attended their Coding 101 webinar which taught the fundamentals of HTML, CSS and how both programming languages communicate to build a website.

My instructor did an excellent job explaining HTML and CSS in the simplest terms for beginners. As someone planning to create my own portfolio site, the webinar gave a snapshot of what to expect. Thinkful also offers a two-week trial of its Web Development program with access to the first 80 hours of their web development curriculum and to live Q&A sessions with virtual mentors. Whether you’re looking to learn a new skill or make a career change, Thinkful is a great source to explore.

3.      More webinars. General Assembly offers data analytics, web development, UX design, product management, and marketing courses. As a GA alum, I attended their webinars including maximizing your LinkedIn potential, tailoring job applications with strategic research and implementing effective time management strategies.

4.    Getting out of your comfort zone via workshops.  I attended Accounting 101, Copyright 101, Estate Planning 101 and Investing 101 workshops. Initially, I had the preconceived notion the financial services industry required access through substantial wealth and 10-plus years tacked onto my age. Entering the workshops with an open mind made the learning process less intimidating and more fascinating.

These workshops exposed me to content creators, entrepreneurs, financial advisors, and wealth advisors. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t realize the workshops would be precursors to starting my blog and pursuing a career in commercial real estate.

5.   Engage in your hobbies. I took a Zumba class for the first time in seven years. I enjoyed learning the steps and making the choreography into my own. I love attending events such as screenwriting workshops, short film screenings, literature socials and poetry open mic nights. Being around other creatives inspire me in my own writing.

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I also enjoy attending free film pitch competitions and startup competitions. As a Communications major, watching each filmmaker and startup founder present their business pitch intrigues me. I examine their verbal and nonverbal cues during their presentations, make mental notes of what they could improve on and how I would do it better.

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Like the job search, doing things differently can be uncomfortable and nerve-wracking. I encourage you to embrace the unknown. Explore. Discover. You might find something you never expected. Enjoy!

Author: BellaDour

Writer. Screenwriter. Poet. I write about personal development, self-care and adulting

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