You may be in job-search limbo, but you can still make strides in your career.

From living life sans schedule to tailoring time on your terms, unemployment certainly offers ample opportunity for reflection ‒ and daytime telly on repeat. Yet the reality of unlimited free time and Jeremy Kyle reruns soon wears thin, leaving us demoralised, despondent and desperate for resolution. Well, with a little ingenuity, you can utilise your newfound free time effectively to plan ahead, update your skills and set yourself up for subsequent success. Here's how.

Prioritise preparation and planning

If you've been out of the workforce for a while, returning to an office environment can feel incredibly daunting. Whilst the job-search arena appears competitive, creating a plan of attack puts you in the best possible mental position to face it head on; just the very act of committing goals to paper gives them extra legitimacy. In terms of planning, try to set specific timeframes for achieving your objectives. This will keep you on track, and provide the impetus to keep you progressing. Break down your goals, work out the steps to achieve them and take action ‒ the rest will take care of itself.

Leverage the power of LinkedIn

The days when job applications involved bulk buying stamps to send them in blind are officially over. Today, it's all about contacts. The old adage 'It's not what you know, but who you know' certainly comes to the fore. Online platforms, such as LinkedIn, provide ample opportunity to get connected, stay connected and, in some cases, network your way into a new position without even leaving your sofa! Although connecting with past colleagues and employers is beneficial, you can also enhance your efforts by posting industry-related articles in your niche. This shows potential employers that you're passionate about your field and committed to professional development.

Prospect like a pro

Whilst job boards provide a wide range of roles to peruse, if there's a company you've dreamed of working at, take the leap and ask! Sending out speculative applications not only shows you take the initiative, but it also gives you a head start if the company is indeed thinking of hiring. Before you take that step though, always aim to research as much about each company as possible. Note down any interesting insights you come across in your endeavours, and use these little titbits in your pitches. Think strategic super sleuthing, and you can't go wrong!   

Upgrade your skills through online learning

Online courses are a fantastic way to bring your skills up to date, often without costing a penny. Sites such as The Open University provide access to a variety of modules for free, as well as some invaluable resources to help you further your career. Whether you prefer to learn through video tutorials or listen to lessons via podcast, the options are truly endless. Seeking to change your career instead? Many online courses offer free trial periods so you can sample different areas of study and choose accordingly.

Use freelancing to follow your passion

Although a stable job offers obvious advantages, unemployment can give you the time and headspace to indulge in other untapped talents. Perhaps you're a closet crafter whose creations have been complimented by friends, or maybe you're a serial foodie who loves nothing better than to experiment in the kitchen and give Gordon Ramsay a good run for his money. Whatever your talents, freelancing offers the perfect opportunity to put them into practice, without the stress of trying to set up a new business. Use your network to get a client base started and you can make some extra money while searching for your next traditional role.

Consider a professional CV-writing service

What better way to be productive during your job search than to invest energy into your CV? And when it comes to this essential document, first impressions matter. From spotting grammatical errors to advising on format, a free CV critique can prove invaluable for enhancing your prospects and getting noticed. You'll receive objective feedback on the ways you've listed your skills and expertise, alongside personalised recommendations for tailoring your CV to your particular niche.

You can even take it a step further and purchase a CV rewrite from a professional CV-writing service. Rather than try to decipher all the feedback yourself, you can trust a professional CV writer to use their experience and expertise to craft a CV that stands out from the crowd for all the right reasons. That will get you to the interview room and back in the game far faster than you ever imagined.

Whether you're seeking to expand your skill set or pining for new pastures, if you approach a period of unemployment as a time for planning your next move, you can move forward with confidence ‒ and additional competencies ‒ to bring to the table!

Click on the following link for more job-search advice.

Ready to boost your job-search productivity? Learn more about TopCV's professional CV-writing services.

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