If you are one of the many Americans who suffered a layoff in the last couple of years, you may have found yourself living on unemployment benefits for quite awhile. Although you spend much of your waking time seeking jobs on every website imaginable, cold calling local businesses, and even taking interviews, your efforts have left you exhausted, frustrated, and still unemployed. With the economy continuing along its current course, this story is all too common.
And yet, you don’t have to let the days slip by in a blur of ads and applications. There are a few things you can do to pull yourself out of that funk, utilize your time wisely, and maybe even find an alternative to punching a time-clock to earn a paycheck.
Volunteer.If you feel like you’re wasting your time, accomplishing nothing of value, or you’re simply bored, why not donate the one asset you have in spades: your time. You can work at a local shelter (for battered women or the homeless), help out at a retirement home, become a docent at a local museum (give tours for children, etc.), or engage in any number of activities that suit your interests and help others. At the end of the day, you will feel like you have accomplished something worthwhile and return to your job search infused with new reserves of energy and hope and you may have met some additional networking contacts.
Join a club.
There are many different types of clubs and associations (both personal and professional) that could offer you the opportunity to connect with others, spend some time away from the search engines, and just forget about the fact that you’re unemployed for a little while. If you’re lucky (and smart), you may even be able to use it as an opportunity to network and find yourself a new job.
Go back to school.If you find that the major hang-up in securing employment is a lack of schooling, then perhaps it’s time to consider completing your degree. Since you’re not working anyway, apply for school and see if you can get in on a scholarship or grant (you have plenty of time to fill out applications) as well as federal financial aid (FAFSA). Even a student loan could offer you the chance to stay afloat while you work to better yourself (and your chances at employment).
Start a blog.
Whether you’re doing it to kill some time or you think you can turn it into a bona fide money-making enterprise, starting a blog is a great way to release some tension, hone your writing skills, and show prospective employers that you have been doing something of value while seeking work. Knowledge of blogging and internet culture is also a valuable asset that many corporations are seeking in new hires. And who knows, if you really develop your personal blog and work to get it recognized, you may be able to add advertising and rake in a little cash.
Freelance.Now is a great time to think about alternative methods of earning a living. If you have any kind of marketable skills that can be utilized from home, you can probably get some freelance work. Writing, graphic design, marketing, customer service, virtual assistance, programming, and a host of other professions can be done from the comfort of your own home on a piecemeal basis, so sign up for free services like ODesk and Elance to set up a profile and start getting work.
Find alternate streams of income.
There are several Pay-Per-Click sites that could help provide some additional income while looking for your next ideal job. Sites like Clicksense, NeoBux, and InboxDollar allow you to earn some money as you job search. Check Fiverr.com to sell some of your services.
If you want more things to do while seeking employment, get working on your own free professional website at http://www.myonlinecareerspace.com, get more career tips from me on twitter and/or read one of my free career ebooks.