Unemployment Spiral

Four Things to do During Unemployment

In one of my previous articles, I wrote about the bad habit of not hiring people with long stints of unemployment.  Since it is 2014, there is a very good chance that most of you reading this have had at least one long gap of unemployment.  Regardless of the reason for your gap, it is something you will probably need to address in an interview.  One way to address it is by simply being honest.  “I left my previous job because of a family member’s health issues.”  “The right opportunity in the right field hasn’t come along yet.” Another way to address the gap is to talk about how you have kept busy during your unemployment.  I am going to focus on four relevant things you should do during an extended period of unemployment.


There is something to be said about donating your time to help the community or a cause, especially when you are unemployed.  I think it’s a safe assumption that not many of us can really afford to be unemployed for a long period of time, and volunteer work may disrupt the time spent job hunting.  However, volunteering is a great way to build skills, and if the right opportunities exist in your area, you may gain transferable experience.

Volunteering can also help you stay positive and motivated through long periods of unemployment. As Staci Pierce, CEO of Ultimate Lifestyle Enterprises, said, “Unemployment can wear on your self-esteem.  Volunteering helps you maintain a sense of value and purpose, and helping others is an instantaneous mood booster.”

Acquire a Part-Time Job

Part-time jobs are a great source of income when you are unemployed.  Even though it might not be immediately apparent, the skills and experiences gained from part-time jobs can prove to be invaluable if you illustrate them properly on your resume.  They can also help you transition careers if you are trying to move from one field to another.

Start Your Own Business

Lack some of the basic experience required to get into your dream job?  Start your own business, and acquire that experience.  Do freelance work, or become a consultant if you have an expert-level understanding of your field.  Not only is this a fantastic way to get those skills and experiences onto your resume, it’s a great way to keep them sharp so that you can hit the ground running on day one of your new job.

Take Classes

The world is advancing at an alarmingly fast pace.  It doesn’t matter if you graduated 25 years ago or eight months ago, there is always something new to learn.  From community colleges to virtual universities, numerous classes and certification courses are offered that will help you stand out to a prospective hiring manager.  Do your research, and pick and choose relevant classes that will get you the skills you want for your career.

I know that unemployment is no fun, and the longer it drags on the more demoralizing it can become.  I hope that if you are in the unfortunate position of needing a job that these tips help you minimize your gap.  Thanks for reading!  Tweet me @Tom_Castronova.

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