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Jobless? How to Use Being Out of Work to Your Advantage November 24, 2008

Posted by dapinoyemployee in Da Pinoy Employee.
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Losing a job can be a difficult and scary, particularly if it comes at a time when you’re not ready to move on because you have no other options.  So now you’re stuck at home or in your apartment, mulling over a career path that seemes to have met a deadend and the horizon seems dark and unsure.  So what next?  Here are ways you can use your being jobless and turn it into a career advantage.

Learn from your job.
Never leave or get kicked out of a job without learning anything from it.  Just imagine applying for your next job and being asked what kind of skills you’re bringing with you and all you could say is, ‘Um… nothing.  I’m hoping to learn them here.’ 

Once you’ve been employed before, employers expect you to bring something to the table for your next job.  It could be industry-specific work experience, skills in operating a particular machinery or even just better communication skills with customers — as long as you have something better to offer than other applicants, you have a better chance of finding another employment opportunity.

Update your network.
If you’ll be jobless in a few weeks, it’s time to take a good look at your network of contacts and keep it solid.  Having a good network is an excellent way to keep updated about the industry you belong to.  It’s also a great way to land your next job.

Check on the people you communicate with at work — your colleagues, members and officers of your professional and social associations or clubs and friends who work for a company you’ve always had your eye on.  The power of networking was very helpful for me when I found myself stuck in a deadend job with few prospects.  It was an old college friend who referred me to an opportunity that offered more in terms of work responsibilities and advancement.  It didn’t offer much in terms of salary but the rewards came much later.

So whether or not you still have your job, keep your network active.  This network will come in handy when it’s time to look for greener pastures and new opportunities.  This early, make sure it’s updated and the people on that list actually know and recognize you and your expertise.  If you know you’ll be losing your job or have already been given your walking papers, it’s time to give the people on this list a call.

Brush up on your skills.
Being jobless means not waking up early in the morning just to get to work on time.  That amount of time gives you a choice: a) spend it doing nothing or b) identify the skills you already have and update them. 

Look for seminars and short courses that could help you advance in your industry later and keep your skills fresh.  If you can afford them, sign up for these courses.  These should set you back from a few hundred to a few thousand pesos, depending on the nature of the course or topic and who the speaker is.  Most publicly available seminars are very affordable, so try and check them out.

You could also turn to clubs and associations you may be professionally affiliated with.  Many of them offer short courses at huge discounts to members.  Some may even let you participate for free.  The advantage here is two-fold: you get to update your skills and build your network of contacts. 

Learn new skills.
So maybe you’re tired of the same old job description and want something else… something better?  After all, you don’t want to be stuck working as a clerk, data encoder, staff or assistant for the next 10 years or so, right?  When it comes to building your career, ambition can be a good thing.  So why not nudge fate in your direction and be proactive about your future?  You’re jobless anyway, so what have you got to lose?

First, identify the kind of things you want to do in your career.  Maybe you were part of the staff in your last job and had always dreamt of working as an assistant editor.  Determine the kind of background and work experience you’ll need to qualify for that job.  Is a specific college degree required?  If not, what kind of trainings can you undergo to make you a candidate for that position in the next 12 or 24 months?  Are there specific skills required in terms of communications? 

Go ahead and sign up for trainings, short courses and seminars.  If you absolutely need it and if you have the resources, enroll in advanced courses or another degree.  If you know your destination, it’s critical that you also know how to get there. 

Volunteer.
Sure, volunteering means giving your time and services for free.  But just because you don’t get paid for it doesn’t mean it’s totally worthless for your career.  Are you a teacher who just recently lost your job?  Volunteer to teach for a local orphanage or a special program for low-income students.  Did you use to work for the accounting department?  Why not help out your local cottage industry coop make sense of their income tax returns?  Employers like prospective employees who show some commitment and altruism.  Social responsibility is a big part of many company’s mission and values and if you show some generosity in this department, you could be a good fit for the organization.

If you have nothing else to do, go ahead and volunteer.  It’s a great way to spend your free time, learn something new, help others, contribute to society in your own way and make you a desirable job candidate.

Go freelance.
With so many freelancing opportunities today, there really is no excuse why you shouldn’t try freelancing.  It’s an excellent part-time job and could also be something you could fall back on in case you find yourself jobless.  Take your special skills and training and use them to make life easier for other people.  So in case you land an interview with a promising job prospect and you get asked the question, ‘So what have you been doing since your last job?’, you’ll have something to talk about confidently and proudly.

Decide on your career direction.
Now that you’re jobless, you might want to take the time you have for some serious self-searching.  Do you really like the career path you’re on or is there something else you truly want to do?  Maybe you’re an accountant who really wants to make great pastries or a systems analyst who really wants to design toys.  Losing your job may just be the opportunity you need to find that true voice inside you.  Who knows?  By being jobless, you could just discover the perfect career for yourself.

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Comments»

1. Encounters of an entrepreneur: what is an entrepreneur | Encounters of an Entrepreneur - November 24, 2008

[…] Jobless? How to Use Being Out of Work to Your Advantage « The … […]

2. lance - March 22, 2011

You’re right. Brush up on your skills for jobless ay importante. Right now, marami vacancy na kailangan pero kulang sa skills ang mga nag-aapply.

Filipino Jobs Abroad

dapinoyemployee - May 24, 2012

Tutoo ‘yan. Marami sa mga pinoys ang nahihirapang makahanap ng trabaho dahil hindi relevant or kulang ang skills nila. Building your skill set not only makes you employable, it also increases your chances of getting promote.


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