Get out there and make yourself memorable.
Being unemployed for months or even years can result in an unwanted gap on your resume. The best way to avoid this gap is to fit in other activities along with your job search.
In other words, find a way to stay relevant. Attend professional events, network, and try to find gig work on the side if you can. Make community involvement and professional development your new priorities. Here are some ideas.
Keep Up To Date on Your Industry
What industry is your dream job in? Once you figure that out, subscribe to as many relevant blogs and newsletters as you can. If you want to be at the same level as other job seekers, you need to know as much about the industry and major players as possible. Become an expert. Attend professional industry events, listen to speakers, join professional groups, and know what’s happening on a daily basis.
Professional groups have the added benefit of networking. You’ll meet people in your industry that can refer you to job opportunities in the future. If you can’t find any local professional groups in your industry, look into career fairs or industry-specific events on your own. You never know who you might meet.
If your dream job isn’t a professional position, there are still groups you can join. For any given position, there’s a group of people working together to further their understanding of the industry in their area. A few Google searches should get you in touch with the information you need.
Once you have a general idea of what is going on in your industry, research individual companies. Even if you don’t plan on applying to a certain company, make it your business to know what their branding and strategy look like. Knowledge of competitors will always impress in an interview.
After all of that is done, you can better target your job search. You should have a good idea of how your personality and soft skills fit the companies you researched. You can also put professional groups on your resume. Events you attended with those groups can become bullet points.
Find the Recruiters
Sending your resume off into the unknown is a nerve-wracking experience. Mostly because you can never be quite sure that somebody reads it. Finding company recruiters in your area and getting in touch with them can alleviate a bit of that stress. They’ll be more likely to read your resume if they’ve already met you.
But how are you supposed to get in touch with them in the first place? LinkedIn can tell you which mutual contacts you share with a recruiter. You can ask one of them for an introduction, or just reach out to the recruiter yourself. So long as you are polite and well-spoken, the interaction can’t do anything but help. Even if they are unable to meet with you, you will still have that point of contact.
Start a Blog or Portfolio
No matter what you do, you’re liable to have some sort of expertise. Try using WordPress or some other platform to start a blog. If you’re unemployed, use this as a place to showcase the events you’ve attended and achievements that don’t quite fit on a resume.
You can also blog about recent events, your reaction to a major industry change, or whatever else you find interesting. If you’re not much of a writer, that’s fine! Keep it to the facts and you won’t have any problems. Just be careful not to turn it into a personal diary—this is a professional tool, not a journal. You can also use your blog as a networking tool to connect with other bloggers you have met at professional groups or industry events.
If blogging isn’t for you, look into setting up an online portfolio instead. Although portfolios aren’t suitable for every industry, they can be great if you have projects or work to show. If you pick up any side jobs, a portfolio is a perfect place to put examples of your work. Put everything up there and show potential employers why you would be a perfect match for the job they’re looking to fill.
Looking for other ways to stay relevant in the job search? Let us know your questions in the comments below!