Building skills while unemployed

Creative agency meeting – group of business people talking during conference at office

Nobody wants to be unemployed, but sometimes things happen that are beyond your control. While being without a job is certainly stressful, you can use that time to improve your status and get prepared to find another job. Knowing how to deal with unemployment and how to build skills during that time will help you get back on your feet much faster.

Take a Class

Even if you have been professionally employed in a field for decades, there is always more to learn. Spend time during your unemployment taking a class that will improve your skills and make you more marketable. If your chosen field has grown stagnant, consider pursuing classes that allow you to seek jobs in other markets. Sometimes a change of field is just what your career needs to get moving again.


Using the time that you are not at work for volunteering helps you and others. Think about where you could best use the skills you have. An unemployed teacher may seek to volunteer at a local school. Not only does this keep you active, but it could open a door for a job later. When you apply for jobs, list your volunteer experience on your CV. This shows potential employers that you care about helping others and demonstrates character and integrity.


Spend time networking during your unemployment, so you can make connections that can help you find a job. Call up old colleagues, college professors, bosses, and business acquaintances and ask them to coffee or out for lunch. Use this meeting to reconnect socially, as well as to get their perspective on the job market at their businesses. Seek advice on the best places to apply, and let them know what you are looking for so they can send you leads.


If you work in a field that allows freelancing, consider doing that while you are waiting for a job. This helps provide income and keeps you active in your field. Look for businesses searching for part-time or occasional help that matches your skills and then offer your services. If you have experience with graphic design, look for companies that may want help on a specific project and that could get your foot in the door for the future.

Consider Starting a Business

If you have always thought about being your own boss, unemployment may be the perfect opportunity to start your own business. Not only will it offer you an alternative source of income, but, if you do decide to apply for jobs later, it looks good on your resume. You can take the experience you gain as a business owner into your chosen field. Research the costs of your business and the steps it would take to get going before you start.

Get Active Online

Build an online presence by starting your own business related blog, as well as building profiles on social media websites. Post items related to your field and discussions on what you see as the top issues professionals in that field face. Engage potential employers online using LinkedIn and Twitter. List your website and profile pages on your CV and job applications. This allows you to showcase your knowledge for employers and let them know you are passionate about your career.

Being unemployed is tough, but with careful planning you can use this time to market yourself and get ready to find a new job. Take the time to understand unemployment and how to build skills to prepare you for what lies ahead. With determination and some strategic steps, you can get back to work soon.

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