By Eric Titner
For most people, filling the time in between jobs can be a real challenge. We want to make sure that we’re using this time to our advantage, but figuring out how to do so effectively — especially if it’s a longer time period than we’d like it to be — can be difficult. It’s really in your best interest to try to structure and make the most of this down time, both for your long-term health and happiness as well as to help set you up for your next job.
Build and maintain your network
In today’s job market, cold calling and responding to general job ads is far less effective than it used to be. These days, a significant percentage of new jobs are obtained by leveraging your network, which includes your personal and professional contacts. Building and maintaining your contacts is an invaluable use of your time, and who knows — it may not be long before one of your
connections comes up with a job opening that perfectly fits what you need and can offer.
Look for contract/ freelance work
Just because you’re be tween full-time jobs doesn’t mean your time has to be completely work free. Many companies utilize contract and freelance staff for a wide range of projects.
Consider seeking out opportunities in your field or in an area that fits your background and skill set; not only will it provide you with some income, it will also help fill in any lengthy time gaps on your resume.
Plus, if you do a particularly good job on a project, you might be considered for a longer-term position when one becomes available.
Take a class
Keep your mind and skills sharp by continuing your education.
You can pursue a subject in your professional field — which may help you during your job hunt — or you can take a class in a completely unrelated subject area that interests you. Either way, your time will be well spent.
Another good use of your time and energy in between jobs is to volunteer. Not only will you be helping to support a worthy cause, you’ll also be keeping active and could even acquire some new skills. You may even discover some completely new interests, which may help reshape your! career aspirations.
Create a backup plan
If things just don’t seem to be going your way and the amount of time that you’re unemployed is becoming a problem, then you may need to invest some time in coming up with a backup plan.
Take some time to research alternate fields that interest you, industries where your existing background and skills may be easily transferable, and jobs that seem hot right now and have an abundance of openings. It may turn out that your backup plan pans out and leaves you happier and more fulfilled than your previous goals.
Just because you’re in between jobs doesn’t mean that your time can’t be well spent. Use the strategies and advice presented here to make sure you’re using this time to your advantage.
Eric Titner has been an editor and content creator for more! than a decade. His primary professional focus has been on education- and career-related topics. He currently lives in New York City.