Unemployment can bring on a range of emotions including anger and fear. If you have been unemployed for weeks or even months, it's not uncommon to eventually become bored. Unemployment also brings the gift of time, and if you play your cards right, you can use the abundance of time in your day to learn new skills, network, or even change careers.
If you are looking for ways to beat the unemployment blues and take charge of your career, follow these inexpensive suggestions. You'll grow as a person and keep your resume in tip-top shape.
1. Study a foreign language.
Have you always dreamed of learning to speak Spanish or French? Now is the perfect time to learn. There are dozens of language instruction books and audio programs available. Checking out books and CDs from your local library gets you access to lessons for free. If you learn better by being in a classroom environment, many local colleges and adult education centers offer inexpensive courses. Adding language skills to your resume will help you stand out, as more and more companies seek bilingual applicants.
2. Volunteer for a committee.
Are you passionate about the environment or feeding the hungry? Volunteering for a committee is an excellent way to give back to your community while working alongside others in a laid-back atmosphere. Look for committees that attract professionals in your industry so that you can make contacts. Committees meet anywhere from several months to a year or more -- helping you form lasting relationships. Be sure to add your volunteer work to your resume. Serving as a chair will showcase your leadership skills to potential employers.
3. Join or start a networking group.
Another good way to stay connected to the business community is to join a networking group. In most cities and towns there are local chambers of commerce and industry associations that are open to individuals. Before investing in a membership fee, attend one or two events to be sure that you feel comfortable and that you will make valuable connections. Consider all fees associated with each group.
4. Learn HTML (or another computer software program).
Now is the perfect time to learn HTML or another computer program. You can find out which programs you need for your industry by reading job postings. Libraries, local colleges, and adult education centers usually offer short-term computer classes. If you'd prefer to learn on your own, online learning is a convenient and inexpensive option.
If there's an industry or particular job you've always been curious about, or if you want to gain work experience in a new field, consider becoming an apprentice. Do some research about local professionals in your chosen field and approach them about shadowing them or doing some volunteer work for them. Be sure that you and the company are on the same page in terms of any pay and length of stay before you start. This will give you a bird's-eye view into a job or career before making a big investment in time or additional training.
6. Job hunt.
While these are all great ways to keep busy and beef up your resume, don't forget to spend time job hunting for your next gig. With all of your new skills and connections, you'll be ahead of the pack in your search.