One Really Good Tip to End Your Job Search: Have an answer to the question, “What have you been up to”?

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Many of my clients have told me that one of the many questions they were asked had to do what they had been doing since they were laid off.  The question came as a surprise to most of them.  Fortunately they were able to say what they had been doing.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that some recruiters have the impression that unemployed people are like Homer Simpson.  They are lazy and are trying to avoid work.  But anyone who has been unemployed in the recent economic down turn knows that job searchers are not lazy.  In fact, they have worked harder to get hired than any other time in their lives. 

The information below will not only give you an answer to the question, but will also help you prepare for your next job.

  1. Skill improvement—take the opportunity to learn a new skill or more about a skill you already have.  There are classes that you can take for free at career one stop centers or through the Open courseware Consortium.  It is a good time to obtain additional certifications. 
  2. Blog about your profession—show that you are committed to your profession by keeping up to date with it and sharing your knowledge with others.
  3. Volunteer—share your time and talent, especially if you can use your professional skills.  You can list your volunteer activities on your resume.  Find an organization that can use your skill and has a mission you support.  Volunteering for the sake of resume building isn’t the best idea.  Rather volunteer to make your life better and to help others.
  4. Join a professional organization—or if you already belong, take the leadership role you never had time for.  Get known in the organization and you may find your next job.
  5. Teach a skill—there are many venues for teaching a skill you have.  Community colleges, social clubs, municipal recreation centers or schools offer classes in a wide variety of topics from arts and crafts to Zumba. 
  6. Personal growth or primary care giver—achieve a personal fitness goal; learn something you have always wanted to learn.  Or maybe you took the time to be a primary care giver to your children or elderly relatives.  These are legitimate uses of your time while you have been unemployed.  However, you will have to assure the recruiter that the need for you to be a primary care giver has been taken care of, and you are ready for the commitment to your career.

By showing you have been productive during your unplanned time off; you are showing the recruiter that you will bring that productivity to your next job.  And if you can connect your off time activity to your career, your unemployment won’t be a waste of your time.

2 Comments to "One Really Good Tip to End Your Job Search: Have an answer to the question, “What have you been up to”?"

  1. Julie Jordan Scott's Gravatar Julie Jordan Scott
    April 6, 2013 - 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Your suggestions are both simple and significant. Thankfully I haven’t been unemployed for years, but I have some friends who are underemployed who I will point toward your page. I’m also going to pin it to my “Career Expo” board on Pinterest which may help some of my followers,

    So glad I found you via the Ultimate Blog Challenge today!

  2. Carlana's Gravatar Carlana
    April 6, 2013 - 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Hi Arleen. These are sensible, practical tips. Great share! Coming via UBC.

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