If you find yourself in between jobs, it’s important to keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your career. In fact, using this time wisely can actually help you to propel your career into uncharted territory, as you’ll have the time to open yourself up to new experiences, broaden your skillset and expand your network. Take a read of our guide to find out how you can stay productive while you’re out of work and boost your career for the future.
Initially you might be very enthusiastic about your new circumstances; after all, you had always wanted time to play more golf or travel. However, for most of us, this isn’t sustainable mentally or financially. Once the initial shock or exultation has worn off, the single biggest challenge for those out of work is maintaining the right mental attitude throughout what is undoubtedly a challenging time.
Some of the best advice we’ve heard is to establish a routine so there are set goals to be achieved throughout the day, much like being at work! You may also wish to supplement this by using some of your new found spare time to catch-up on things that may have fallen behind whilst employed, such as reading those industry related emails, that may also help you to secure a new role. On a more personal level, joining or attending the gym can do wonders for your self-esteem, as can shopping for new work/interview attire. Spending time with family and friends is also equally important for mental resilience.
One of the biggest opportunities is often missed by those people who are facing unemployment. It’s the perfect time to carry out an evaluation of your career. Elements to consider include: why are you out of work, was it redundancy or did you choose to leave? Do you enjoy your chosen profession? Were you mentally and emotionally engaged in your last job? Did the company environment suit you? Were you too comfortable? Analysing your answers to these questions should provide insight as to the best steps to help to reduce the situational stress and move forward in a more positive way. It could be looking for a different type of company, resolving issues in your personal life or even choosing to switch professions entirely.
It can also be helpful to invite insight from other people who are qualified to provide feedback on your career. This could be your family, previous colleagues or peers within the industry.
The most obvious proposition, while you are not working, is to use your downtime to update your current skills or to learn something new. Nowadays, there are many ways in which you can achieve this, with thousands of online courses available that span an enormous range of skills and topics. Most of these come at a low cost, and some are even free, with the vast majority being able to be completed flexibly at a time that suits you. Have a look at popular resources such as Coursera, Udemy and edX.
Alternatively, you can become the teacher by giving back to your industry’s community and helping others to upskill. If you’re an experienced Accountant, consider offering your expertise and time as a mentor to younger professionals. By doing this, you can contribute to someone else’s development whilst still remaining in touch with the industry from a distance. It’s also great for your resume.
Additionally, it may not be your Accounting skills that need a review, it can also be a good idea to spend time on interview skills and familiarising yourself with the current market trends and demands. Click here to view our Job Seeker Resources section for detailed information on improving your job seeking process.
Continuing to attend industry events is an excellent way to stay in the loop and keep up with the latest developments in the sector. Having more time on your hands is a good reason to get involved with more of these events. As well as being a great personal development tool, by attending events and meeting people, you can increase the credibility of your personal brand and connect with a wide variety of people within the industry. By talking to the right people and presenting yourself in the right way, you’re far more likely to come across opportunities through word of mouth.
Getting involved in industry events doesn’t have to be limited to attending either. Get to know the organisers and see if there are ways you can help with the event organisation. This could even result in speaking engagements, which are fantastic for developing your brand, positioning you as a thought leader and can often lead to new career opportunities presenting themselves.
Looking at opportunities to work pro bono can help to keep yourself occupied as well as gaining exposure to new experiences. Local businesses and non-profit organisations often have opportunities available for experienced business professionals to assist with their Accounting function. Search other volunteering websites such as volunteering.com.au.
As well as keeping your mind sharp in your time off and the ‘feel good’ factor, you can get exposure to different ways of working and the approaches needed in other industries and sectors. Volunteering is also a good networking tool, with the potential to meet other business leaders who have a passion for giving back to their community.
With online job boards showcasing thousands of jobs that you can apply for in seconds, it can be tempting to send your CV out to all of them. However, be aware that this isn’t the best course of action, especially if you’re not currently in a role. This approach can make you look desperate as if you are unsure of your next move. It also undermines your skillset, which doesn’t serve you well when you’re looking for the ‘right’ employment, versus just a job to tide you over.
The key to avoiding this is good preparation and planning. If you’re between roles and want to move back into the workforce, then treat your job search as you would a full-time job. Make sure you know exactly what you want out of your next role and target the roles you apply for with that in mind. Plan each application carefully and tailor them to the role you’re applying for, ensuring that you’re not using a stock CV or cover letter.
You might also want to consider looking at contract or temporary work as a change of pace from a previous full-time role. These roles are often financially rewarding and their short-term nature can be positively challenging and often require you to learn a new skillset on the go, further enhancing your resume. You never know, a contract or temporary role may turn into a full-time job.
If you find yourself in between roles there are plenty of ways that you can use this time to enhance your skill set, work on your personal brand and network with members of your industry. All of these can go a long way to creating more opportunities for yourself. Remember as you go through this process all it takes is one ‘yes’ and your situation will change. Keep positive, stay focused and the ‘yes’ won’t be far away.
If you enjoyed reading this article, don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn for all our latest articles.