When you’re unemployed or underemployed, sometimes it’s a challenge to stay sane while you’re searching for a better job. Staring at the computer all day scrolling through job postings that hundreds of other people are applying for isn’t necessarily your only option. There are many things you can do with your time to improve your career and increase your chances of getting a good job.
1. Take a class.
Regardless of your field, there is always something new to learn. Enroll in a class at a community college or a class offered at your local library or community center. Brainstorm to think what class would be beneficial to your career. A CPR class could be helpful to teachers and those who work with children, a fitness class could be helpful to anyone working in the medical field, and an art class can be great for therapists and social workers to bring art therapy to their clients.
Besides helping those less fortunate, volunteering is a way to meet new people, network, and a phenomenal addition to any resume. People you volunteer with can even be a good reference for you or write you a letter of recommendation. Find volunteer opportunities that will give you good experience in your field. On Volunteermatch.org, you can search for opportunities by categories such as Media & Broadcasting, Health & Medicine, Computers & Technology, and Sports & Recreation. As a writer and editor, I was able to volunteer with high school students helping them write college admission essays and cover letters which was fitting for my career.
3. Attend networking events.
Networking is one of the best ways to hear about available opportunities in your field. While networking online and making a stand-out LinkedIn page is a good start, it is still nice to do it the old-fashioned way and physically meet with people to develop a deeper connection. Attending networking events allows you to not only find open positions, but also get inspired by things others are doing in your field. You can find networking events through professional organizations, your alumni network, or around your community. You can also find events on LinkedIn, through Meetup.com, and on Networking Money.
4. Learn a foreign language.
Knowing a second or even a third language makes you a desirable candidate for any job. Even if it isn’t required of the position, it still shows you are versatile, intelligent, and have a broad world view. Consider which languages would be beneficial in your field. Living in America, my choice for a second language would be Spanish since there are an estimated 37 million Spanish speaking people throughout the country, and that number is only expected to grow.
5. Join professional organizations.
Whatever your field is, there is a professional organization for you to join. Whether you’re in marketing, the medical field, or even a professional organizer, there is a group that will have something to offer you. Membership in this group allows you to attend meetings, sponsored events, and hear about new opportunities. You’ll also be able to put it on your resume, and you’ll automatically have a group of people you are connected with.
More on Careers
Taking a trip is probably the last thing you’d think of doing while you’re unemployed or looking for a better job, but travel can improve your resume actually. Travelling allows you to meet with people in your field wherever you’re headed. While you’re traveling, you can even volunteer, attend job fairs, or take a class. You can spin taking your trip as beneficial professional experience. Planning relies heavily on being organized, thinking clearly, and extensive research. Visiting new places requires a sense of geography, creating and sticking to a budget, and being able to communicate with a variety of people.
What can you do to find a better job while you’re stuck in a job you don’t like?