Whether you were let go from your job or had to leave for personal reasons, you may be nervous about how you are going to address your gap in employment when speaking to a potential employer. In fact, you can bet you will be asked about your employment gap when interviewing for a job, especially if you've been out of work for some time. Below are five things you can do while you are unemployed to help fill this gap - and continue to build your skills and experience.
The benefits to volunteering are endless. It gets you out in the community and meeting new people. You will feel good about helping others, and it will give you a newfound sense of purpose. It can give you a new perspective on your own struggles. Just as important, it gives you something current to include on your resume. It's even possible that volunteering can help you get your foot in the door for a paid position if one becomes available.
2. Continue your education
If you knew you had to continue your education to move up or get back into your field, and you took the opportunity to go back to school to sharpen your skills, congratulations! Depending on where you are in your career, continuing your education doesn't always mean earning a degree; it can also mean taking courses toward a certification or attending training on software you need to learn. As long as the training is relevant to the types of positions you are looking for, it can help your competitive advantage throughout your search.
3. Take a temporary or contract position
You've probably heard it before: "It's easier to find a job when you have a job." However, some unemployed job seekers never consider taking on a temporary or contract position. Even though it won't be permanent, it gives you a current position to list on your resume and keeps some money coming in while you continue to search for your next permanent role. Like volunteering, this may also lead to your eventual permanent employment as well.
4. Relax and have some fun
Besides the financial toll unemployment can take, it can also take an emotional toll on you. Be sure to take time out for yourself to relax and do some activities you enjoy. If you like to read, check out a book from your local library. If you like to be outdoors, spend time gardening or go for a walk. The trick here is to do something refueling so you will have more energy to focus on your ultimate goal of finding a new position.
5. Don't just job search – effectively job search!
Those who are employed full-time and looking for a new position will envy the time you have to dedicate to your job search. Use your time wisely! Don't just sit behind your computer and apply for 100 jobs online everyday. Take the time to update your LinkedIn profile and then use the site to network. Attend meetings or networking events hosted by professional associations and community organizations. Do informational interviews with professionals who are working in the field you are looking within to learn more about the industry. Improve on your interviewing skills by doing a practice interview. Remember, if you are a current AIU student or graduate, Career Services is here to help!
Learn more about getting your career moving in the right direction. Download our guide, "How to Go From the Job You Have to the Career You Want."
If you're a current AIU student or alumnus looking for more career advice, please contact the Career Services Department at 877-221-5800 Option 5 or at firstname.lastname@example.org