At some point in our careers, we all have had period of job inactivity – at least most of us…when we were unemployed.  We lost a job, left a job, had to take off time to take care of a sick family member, or we went to graduate school.  So what do you put on your resume?  How do you account for that time?  It is not enough to say you have been job searching. Don’t wait around doing nothing but your job search hoping that you will find a new position. It could take you six months to a year to find a position.  Here are 5 ways to can cover the job gap:

  1. Volunteer – for something that uses your skills that make sense for the job target you are looking for.   The Taproot Foundation is a perfect way to use your skills in a real setting – they help non-profits with their organizational issues in the areas of IT, marketing, strategic planning, board recruitment, promotion, graphic design.
  2. Consult –This doesn’t mean you have to start a business, hang up a shingle.  You may talk to your former colleagues and others in your field to line up project work to keep your skills sharp.
  3. Take a course– You don’t have to apply for a degree program or even a certificate program.  Select a specific course that advances your skills in your area of expertise, or branch out and take a course in something you always wanted to learn, but never had the time to.  There are lots of free courses online or low cost options in your local high school or community college.  Meeting other people in your course expands your network further.
  4. Join a professional organizationand become active on a committee. If you are in technology, join the tech committee.  If you are in education, join the education committee. If you are in marketing, join the membership or marketing committee. The work you do will be similar to what you do on a paying job, take fewer hours and still give you something to put on your resume.  You also network with people in your field who know where there are job openings.
  5. Temp work – Sign up with a temp agency even though that is not your end goal.  Get a part-time or short term job.  It shows you are hungry for work, engaged, and not just sitting back and waiting for a job to come to you.

A job search is a marathon, not a sprint.  Make sure you are doing something productive while you are job hunting.

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