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Keeping Busy When Unemployed

How can you stay busy?Whether you've been laid off due to corporate downsizing or you're waiting for an important call back to an interview, it is good to keep busy when you are unemployed. By staying busy while you are unemployed, you can make the time go faster.  More importantly, you can stave off desperation when you do get called in for interviews.  Here are some key ways you can stay busy while unemployed (and perhaps make some money or advance your skills in the meantime).

  1. Stay up to Date on Your Skill Set - It is important when you are unemployed to keep your skills fresh.  Others who have been employed consistently may be applying for the same position and they will have been honing their skills and building their experience. Just because you are unemployed doesn't mean you can't do research on the latest techniques and skills used in management consulting. Read trade journals, websites, or get certified in a skills area.
  2. Learn New Skills - Unemployment is a good time to learn new skills.  Have you wanted to learn how to use some of the 3-D modeling software to help you with your projects?  Is there a new field you would like to learn about? Whatever it is, now is the time to do it so you can add to your skill set and repertoire of experience. Sign up for a class, find a mentor, read books - you have a lot of time, so use it wisely.
  3. Network - Get your name out there.  By introducing yourself to others, handing out business cards, and getting back in touch with those you know, you can increase your likelihood of getting a job or an interview in your field. Get the word out that you're looking for work.  You never know who might have a connection to whom and you may find yourself with a job. 
  4. Write an Article - By writing articles, you are demonstrating competence in a field.  Get published in a trade journal, and you can add this to your resume and mention it in cover letters when applying for jobs.  You never know who might have read your article.
  5. Freelance as a Consultant - Contact your former clients to find out whether they have any work to parcel out to freelancers. Contact companies that you would apply to for work to find out whether they have any outsourcing work. Not only can you add to your resume, but you can also perhaps get a foot in the door for a desired position.
  6. Volunteer - Volunteer as a consultant for a nonprofit you support.  Not only will you feed your soul, but you will also build valuable skills and be able to add experience to your resume
  7. Make Sure Your Finances Are in Order - Most importantly, when you are unemployed, make sure your ducks are in a row when it comes to your pocketbook.  Cut back on all unnecessary expenses. Make sure you have some form of health insurance in place if you can afford it. If you've been unemployed for a long period of time, and your savings (you have those, right) are getting low, you may need to take any job you can get or hit up a temp agency for work while waiting for your dream job.
  8. Keep Up a Regular Schedule - To avoid depression, it's important that you keep up a regular schedule, work out, pick up hobbies, and take time for friends and family members.  While it is difficult to be unemployed, and the tendency is to let things slide, it is important to avoid this temptation.
By following the above tips, you can maximize your time while unemployed.  You may even make money and build your resume and skills while you unemployed. 

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