How it happened—you were fired, downsized, your employer went out of business, or you just had enough and quit your job impulsively—is irrelevant. How you ended up on the job market doesn’t change the bottom line: You’re now looking for a new employer.
Jobseekers fall into one of two categories:
- Easily Employable (Has in-demand skills, coupled with a track record of producing results, presents themselves professionally, is articulate, easy to like, and energetic. Such a jobseeker is a no-brainer to hire.)
- Hesitant to Employ (No, or few, hard skills, no compelling career story, comes across unpolished, is desperate for a job. Hiring such a jobseeker is taking a chance.)
You want to be in the “Easily Employable” category.
Besides having a resume that WOWs, and a LinkedIn profile that attracts hiring managers, you should be filling your time between jobs with activities that’ll place you in the easily employable category. Also, keep in mind, unfair as it may seem, employment gaps are frowned upon. Therefore, expect interviewers to ask you to explain what you’ve been doing since you left your last job.
When you’re unemployed, don’t just spend an hour or so a day applying to jobs online, which is the equivalent of playing the lottery (You’re expecting a stranger to hire you.). Use your newfound free time, making yourself easily employable.
Here are 5 ways you can do so:
- Add to your skillset!
Upskilling is the best way to make yourself easily employable. Ask yourself: What skills do I need to acquire to give me an edge over the many qualified candidates vying for the same jobs as I am?
Consider certificate programs, online courses (many being free), workshops, webinars, video tutorials, and joining relevant professional associations. Proactively staying relevant in your industry is a turn-on with hiring managers.
- Temp Work
Regardless of where you are in your career, signing on with temp agencies (aka. staffing agencies) is an excellent in-between-jobs option. Temp work provides an opportunity to network within different companies and learn new skills. Networking, as you know, is how highly sought-after jobs are uncovered. With the proper mindset, temp work can morph into you becoming an FTE (Full-Time Employee).
- Part-Time Work
Securing a part-time job is easier than trying to become an FTE. Like temp work, a part-time job allows you to hone your current skillset, and build new ones, while receiving a paycheck.
While it would be ideal to find a part-time job in your industry, this doesn’t have to be the case. Envision what transferable skills you can gain from a part-time opportunity and how they can be applied to your target job?
Volunteering, whether or not you’re employed, is a great way to refine your skillset, acquire new skills, and network with like-minded people. Find organizations in your area that relate to your field or interests and start making a difference in your community and being easily employable!
- Participate in social media
Social media platforms, websites, and online forums offer digital communities where you can connect with other professionals. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, et al. provide low-hanging fruit opportunities to search and “friend” or “follow” and engage with professionals in your field as well as executives and hiring managers at companies you’re interested in joining. Surprisingly many still don’t take full advantage of the networking opportunities social media platforms’ innate nature provides.
An often-forgotten branch of social media is blogging. While many use blogging as a digital channel to share their personal lives, some use it strategically to further their career. What advice, insight, ideas, or issues can you write about your industry?
Follow bloggers in your industry to see what they write about and how they position themselves as an SME (Subject Matter Expert). Leave comments that offer your opinion(s).
Writing about things that matter in your field is a huge step towards establishing yourself as an expert in your industry. When hiring managers Google you (they will), they’ll be impressed to see you’re actively writing about your industry.
When it comes to today’s job market and competing with other qualified candidates for those elusive top career opportunities, you want to be easily employable.