If you are currently unemployed and have been for some, it came hard to explain that period to a potential employer.
It's common practice to ask a candidate why they left their previous roles and to question periods of unemployment. If you are currently unemployed, you can start looking at ways to fill this gap in ways that will make you a more desirable candidate.
When you are unemployed, doing unpaid work can seem counterproductive but it can be a great way to fill the gap on your resume.
If you are lucky enough to fund opportunities in the field you are searching for work in, it will allow you to keep your skills current and develop new skills along the way. Even if it isn't in a relevant field, you can still learn new skills. It will also allow you to build up your existing network which could help to put you in touch with employment opportunities.
From a potential employer's point of view, it shows that you are willing to work and care about the community.
Short courses/ further education
When you are looking at further education, make sure you are informed on the requirements of the courses and delivery method. As you are looking for employment, you'll want to be sure that you can sustain your studies after securing a new role. Keep it relevant as possible to what you are searching for, some employers get concerned if you are studying something completely different to the roles you are applying for as they are worried you may leave to pursue that career when you finish. If that is your plan though, make sure you can speak about your career goals and time frames in a way that will put the hiring manager at ease.
When it comes to short courses, there are thousands of options available, both free and paid. These can be a great way to brush up on existing skills or expand your skill set without the time commitment needed for traditional study options.
A potential employer will appreciate that you are motivated to learn and grow in your role and many companies these days have a constant improvement culture.
Just because you are unemployed does not mean you can't attend events.
Keep growing and nurturing your network during this time but don't use an event to ask everyone for a job. Focus on building connections, obviously when asked about your current role you can say you are looking for a new role but try to keep the conversation flowing past that point.
These events are not only a great way to build your network, but to keep up to date on what's happening in the industry.
Sign up to industry newsletters and blogs
OK, so this one won't fill any gaps on your resume but it will help you keep up to date during your unemployment. Then when you find your next opportunity it won't be a steep learning curve.
If you are comfortable with writing or creating content such as info graphics or slides, put that to use.
Creating and publishing content is a great way to engage with your network and grow it. It also improves your visibility to potential employers and will start to position you as an expert in your field.
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Of course you may be reading this and thinking that you are unemployed so can't afford to volunteer, study or attend events. That is a valid concern and a reality for some people. If this is your situation, look for free short courses you can take online, join free webinars and a lot of networking events are free to attend. It's an unfortunate fact that unemployment is hard on your wallet but I am certain you will be able to find opportunities to fill the gap in your resume no matter your budget.
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