Being unemployed is tough. Whether you left your job voluntarily or were laid off or fired, losing your job can wreak havoc on your life. It can be difficult to stay positive until you return to the land of the employed, but it is possible, especially if you find productive ways to spend your time. Here are 8 ways to keep yourself positively engaged during your job search:
- Take a class at a community college, through a continuing education program, or a free MOOC online. You could try adding a skill to your knowledge base, or learn something completely new. To find a list of MOOCs, sign up for MOOC List, and get a free list delivered to your inbox.
- Stay active by volunteering in your community. Consider volunteering at a local nonprofit (e.g., food bank, senior center or community center), working at your child’s school, or an organization that you support (e.g., American Red Cross, Kiwanis, downtown association, etc.). This will keep you engaged in your community, making new connections, and perhaps picking up a new skill along the way.
- Go to the library. Even if you enjoy staying at home, getting out into the world offers a refreshing change of pace. Do some research, review the library’s extensive collection of films, books and periodicals, or move your job search headquarters from your living room couch to a different environment.
- Participate in networking events. You may have lost your job, but you are probably still a member of local organizations that hold regular networking functions – perhaps your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, BNI, Toastmasters, or a church or personal networking group. Continue to network with your peers, let them know you’re looking for a new position and that you’re available if they have any interesting opportunities or side projects they need help with.
- Go to the gym. Being unemployed can do a number on your self-esteem, so it is important to take care of yourself and remind yourself of your worth. One way to do this is by regular visits to the gym. Working out can clear the cobwebs, give you a fresh perspective, and give you the energy and willpower you need to remain assertive during your job search.
- Keep a regular schedule. Yes, you have the freedom now to sleep in, stay in your pajamas all day, and work your way through your Netflix queue. While that sounds fun, it will not help with your job search, and it will leave you feeling lazy and less confident. We encourage you to keep a daily routine. Get up at the same time every day, eat a healthy breakfast, shower and get dressed. Start your job search at X time every day, check in with your recruiter, follow-up on recent interviews and inquiries, have lunch with a colleague or friend, and schedule time for physical exercise.
- Update and fine-tune personal branding. No one has your unique blend of education, experience, skills and characteristics. Together those things create your personal brand, and you should fine-tune that regularly. Convey that personal brand through social media, on a professional website, via your cover letters and résumé, on your social media accounts, etc. Write articles or blog frequently to share your knowledge and expertise with others. Doing so will keep your mind active, but it will also keep you in the spotlight, giving recruiters and prospective employers the opportunity to learn more about you. For more on personal branding, read our Aug. 1, 2015 post.
- Declutter your home office. For most of us, sorting through old files (online and off), cleaning off your desk, and organizing your home office may not sound like fun, but decluttering your physical space will actually help you declutter your mind. If you don’t believe us, try cleaning out just one drawer of your file cabinet, or organize a folder on your computer. It is amazing how one simple activity can free you mentally.
Caution: If you are perfectionist, it may be difficult for you to tackle this project. Speaking from experience, if perfectionists can’t organize the whole office in one sitting, you’ll probably never start, so we recommend choosing one small task to start…maybe cleaning one drawer of your desk, sorting through junk mail that’s been piling up, or organizing the folders on your computer’s desktop. Another way to make this task manageable is to set a timer for 15 minutes or whatever time you have to spare. Work for that period and then move onto something else.
By keeping your mind and body occupied, you’re more likely to retain a positive attitude as you search for your next opportunity. Take it one day at a time, and keep at it. The right job will come along, and you’ll be confident and ready to take it on. Good luck!
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Have a great week, and thanks for reading!
Diana Albertson, CEO