Things You Should Be Doing If You’re Unemployed

Should we apply “mass-apply” jobs or strategically focus on the best fitting ones.

Applying to jobs you’re not qualified for (a lot of job seekers still do!) is counter-productive to your job search. Competition is too fierce. Even qualified applicants are waiting for the break. So, stop applying to so many jobs and allocate time to enhance your employability.

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Volunteer

Volunteering can increase your chances of being hired if you’re strategic about it. Unemployed teacher? Help out with after school programs. Web designer? Find a non-profit in desperate need of a re-design and offer your services. By volunteering somewhere relevant, you’ll keep your skills fresh while enhancing your resume.

Keep Your Skills Current

If you lack a skill commonly required for jobs you’re seeking, spend time each day building that skill. Take advantage of numerous free resources online, including tutorials, e-books, and how-to videos. If you’d rather have more of a class setup, then look for free or affordable adult education classes in your area. Alternatively, if you already possess the necessary skills but haven’t been practicing, just do it. Skill atrophy is a huge concern for hiring managers, so practice and get yourself ready.

Network

There are two parts to networking: reconnecting with your old contacts and forming new ones. Depending on where you are in your career, reconnecting might mean contacting professors, college advisers, and internship supervisors, or it might mean getting in touch with old colleagues, bosses, and business acquaintances.

Find them, e-mail them, call them. Ask them to coffee. Ask how they are (networking is social, after all) and let them know the specifics of your job search (industry, location, etc.). See if they know of anything or anyone.

Most importantly, follow up!

At a temporary dead-end with your current contacts? Make new ones. Go to networking events sponsored by your university, industry, city, and so on. And look beyond traditional networking events. Consider going to lectures, neighbourhood council meetings. Anything works, just go out there and socialise. Each of these provides an opportunity to meet people with similar interests, and you can have fun in the process.

Again, follow up! (Please…)

Freelance

Some job seekers are opposed to anything that’s not a full-time job. If this sounds like you, it’s time to change your mind set. Freelancing is a great way to boost your skills, resume, portfolio, professional network, income, and confidence.

Build an Online Presence

Get found online. Start a blog, spruce up your social network profiles; create an online portfolio to showcase your work.

  • Worst case scenario — you’ll learn what’s important to them and use this information to customize your application when a job opens up.
  • Better case scenario — you’ll establish a rapport with someone who will recommend you for a position and/or tell you about unpublished openings.
  • Best case scenario — you’ll impress someone so much over time that they’ll create a job for you or bring you in for an exploratory interview.

What are you doing to enhance your employability?

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