Friday, October 14, 2011

Stay Productive While Unemployed

Employers recognize that the weakened economy over the past few years has resulted in layoffs for many skilled workers. As such, an employment gap on a job candidate’s resume is no longer unusual or an immediate red flag to prospective employers. However, you need to be prepared to explain any gap(s) and give examples of how you continued to develop professionally while unemployed.

Employers like to hear that you have taken a course or finished a certification program to enhance your professional skill set. Volunteer work is another great way to strengthen your skills and gain relevant experience. If the only examples you can give are creating cover letters, fine tuning your resume, and sorting through job postings, you may be surprised to find that the red flag raised may very well be for lack of commitment and initiative—not the job gap itself.

Obviously, when you’re in between jobs, job searching is expected to consume much of your time, but not so much that you can’t identify and act on opportunities to improve professionally. Be mindful that life is full of distractions, so it may take some purposeful planning to make professional development a priority.

As an added incentive, consider the personal upside to keeping yourself sharp professionally while you’re unemployed. Not only does it look good to prospective employers, it can also help you maintain a positive attitude and a sense of fulfillment during a difficult time.

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