Have you lost your job owing to a bad economy? Do not get distressed, there are plethora of things that you could do. You could now do things that you never would have been able to, while you were employed. Use this time effectively, to do all those things that help you earn good will, things that push your limits and make you more skillful and things that may ultimately enhance your job prospects.
Here are a very few of them:
1. Get a degree:
Why not? If you can afford time and money, you could get a masters degree in a subject relevant to your work experience. It boosts your job prospects manifold. And remember it is a “life time” degree.
Who knows, it might fetch you a job even after you retire from your regular job. Recession is cyclic, it keeps coming every ten years. So, a masters degree may help you survive storms all over through your life. Few more reasons to pursue a Master’s degree
If you can not spend two years of time on a masters degree, you could do a short term diploma degree in your field of experience. There are many institutes that offer diploma courses.
If not a diploma, how about a certification? Certification adds lots of value to your profile. Read this sarcastic post on excuses for not getting certified.
2. Give Tuition:
This is something anybody can do. You can do this as a part time and earn quick buck for survival. Teach high school students, college students right in your house, of course for money. This is really easy if you did not have much trouble in graduating college.
Choose a part of curriculum that is tough for students and start giving tuition headlong. Trust me anybody can do this. This is the easiest job, nevertheless it requires some ground work before starting.
3. Learn a foreign Language:
Read 10 reasons to learn a foreign language. In short, foreign language may help increase your employment potential, improve your chances of entry into a graduate school, expand your study and work options abroad.
Life never gives a better chance than this for you to learn a foreign language and master it to an intermediate level. French and Spanish are the two languages that may expand your career potential. Here is a great online resource to learn languages.
4. Learn new Technology:
Did you postponed learning a new technology with an excuse of being busy with work? Now you have all the time to explore that technology, learn of trends in relevant field. Get in speed with the latest versions of known technologies.
Use the free online resources and documentation to learn hot technologies. This exercise could greatly improve your employability. Learning new stuff not only improves your job chances, but also helps you when you actually get to work in future.
5. Brush up your skills:
Are you one of those who boasts of working on innumerous technologies in your resume? Like most of them, you must have “lost touch” with those technologies that you worked a few years back. Wouldn’t it be greatly beneficial to revise and reinforce your old technical skills?
Start reading the techie books that you already read few years back, get your hands dirty writing some code. Proudly tell the recruiter in an interview that you perfectly remember all the programming languages that you worked till date.
6. Write for Magazines:
When we were in primary school, we thought high schools students knew more than us. When we reached high school, we thought college students knew better of real world stuff. When we reached bachelors, we thought masters graduates know more things. There is no end to this. The point is, whatever stage you may be, you know lot more things than other people below your stage.
You can enlighten them with your advice. Why not write articles for magazines on something that you learned, something that you worked on, some challenges that you faced working on something and how you resolved it. Do not ever reject your article before the magazine editor does. Give your best shot. If it works and your article gets published in a popular contemporary magazine, your job chances may skyrocket.
7. Start a Blog:
Ask me how easy is it to start a blog and write on what you know. Damn easy! With so much of help available on how to start a blog, what is stopping you from sharing your knowledge with the world on the Internet?
You could boast about your latest finding of a software or write about how you resolved a tough bug or practically about anything relevant to your work. Remember, your recruiter would care to read your blog even if no one did.
8. Start a Business:
Recession? Bad Economy? These are the terms for the “panic-creating” media and not for winners like you. The best time to start your own business is now!
Have you been telling your friends that given a chance you would implement an idea and make a fortune? Or do you use this phrase “can’t do owing to family commitments” frequently? I think these are simply excuses and not show stoppers to start a business in anyway. Remember, if you become your own boss, nobody could ever fire you.
Some online resources that can get you started:
9. Help Beginners:
You could make a huge difference to your field just by helping novices that are struggling to figure out things. Just sign up to any online forum relevant to your field or skill, and notice that a lot of beginners shout there daily for help.
Remember how nice it would have been if you had got a helping hand when you needed as a beginner. When you were learning the skill, wouldn’t you have paid any price for an advice or pointer that could solve a problem that you were stuck in? You could earn a lot of good will and respect by helping these budding learners on online forums.
10. Contribute to Open Source:
Contributing to Open source, might not fetch you results overnight, but would gradually but tremendously improve your technical skills. Recruiters greatly appreciate, if you tell them that you worked for an Open source project when you were unemployed.
Now, contributing to an open source project does not necessarily mean coding. You could write a tutorial on how to use an open source software, or you could record a screen-cast video on features of an open source software that you are acquainted with, or you could test and report bugs.
The exposure that you get of the real standards of coding, when you work for an open source project is priceless. Remember that Open source projects are not driven by profits or client deliveries, but are driven by industry standards and are owned wholly by expert programmers.
So they follow incredible standards and the best industry practices. By working for open source, you actually enhance your ability to understand a problem and develop effective solutions for it. Imagine yourself proudly boasting that you worked on Ant project for Apache Foundation. Almost every Java programmer in the world knows about Ant tool.
11. Do Freelance Work:
Many people think freelance work is not their cup of tea, but trust me, it is not that difficult. All you have to do is head start freelance work. Go to any popular freelance websites such as guru.com and hang around there for few days, observe the processes of bidding for a project.
Wait for a project relevant to your skill set, and bid a lowest quotation as a starter. I suggest you to start with a 50$ or less project. As you keep finishing jobs there, your credibility increases on that site and consequently, you would get bigger projects that pay you better. If think you can not do any of the freelance jobs, consider data entry. Anybody can do that!
12. Work for your alma mator:
How hard is it to get a job in a college that you graduated? Especially when you have industry experience. You would be respected for your experience. You could easily get a job as an instructor or a lecturer in your College.
You could work there for a short term and try jobs in your field at the same time. This is what I call buying some extra time to get a job.
13. Work for a Call Center:
Have got bills to pay? Want quick money to pay a loan? You could join a call center for few months until you get a regular job in your field. All you need is fluency in spoken English and willingness to work in night shift, how easy is that!
14. Work for an NGO:
People work for corporates and corporates work for profits, not for welfare of the people or their values. Is money the only goal in your life? If you care for human values, consider working for a non-profit organization.
Not all NGO’s make you work for free. They pay you adequately, if not lavishly. The best part is that you could grow your network and connect with real people. When I said people, they could even be professionals working in your field. Who knows, you could get a job through your network that you make in an NGO. Read more on Why to work in non profit organizations.
15. Join a Sports Club:
Do you have scruples about playing sports as you are unemployed? Well, this is the time you actually need to play and do things that please you. Sports improve your health and reduce the chances of depression. Only when you are healthy, can you think smart.
During this course of time, your fear of survival and consciousness inhibit your thinking, which could prove detrimental to your job hunting process. So, go ahead and join a sports club and play your favorite sport. I bet you will find a way out of your problems when you do things that you love doing.
Guest Writer : Sridhar Jammalamadaka is a budding entrepreneur. He recently quit his comfortable job as a Software engineer and started a blog Interview Mantra, where he writes on career advice and interview tips.