6 months without a job - What now?
It’s a horror scenario for most people. Trying to explain a 6-month gap in your CV isn’t easy. However, it is not the end of the world. Even if you don’t have a job right now, there are other things that you can do to make yourself competitive and attractive to employers.
Putting things into perspective
Everyone wants to take a short break or sabbatical in their career. Being out of a job for a few months can be a good chance to reflect and set out to do things you had deferred while working full time.
Are you enjoying your career? What do you really want to achieve? Where do you see yourself in the next five years? Remember that it is never too to change your career. Take some time for yourself and redefine what you really want from your professional life.
Being out of a job for several months is not only an emotional burden but also a financial one. Depending on your savings and living situation, funds can quickly dry up. In order to prevent going broke and having to accept just ‘any’ job, you might want to consider freelancing while still looking for a job.
Freelancing isn’t just for writers and designers. There are freelance and consulting gigs for pretty much every career path. Doing some freelancing on the side has many benefits -- you can earn an income, easily explain the gap in your CV, and even make new professional connections that might lead to a new full-time job.
If you really can’t find a job and freelancing isn’t for you, you should try to volunteer with an NGO, your local community centre or another project you care about. Depending on the organisation, you might be able to put your skills to good use and even learn something new. If you pick something that you are passionate about, it won’t even feel like work.
Volunteering is a great way to give back to society. Being helpful and appreciated when unemployed will also give you a confidence boost. Similar to freelancing, volunteering helps to explain CV gaps and might just offer new opportunities.
Grow as a professional
There are many potential reasons why someone won’t find work. One thing that surely will help with your search is to improve your skills. Take an honest look at your CV as well as your career path - where are the gaps? Are you lacking some skills that are crucially needed? Should you refresh your programming knowledge? You don’t know how to use InDesign? Always wanted to be Google Analytics certified?
Use the ‘free time’ efficiently and pick up a few new skills and improve some existing ones. Don’t forget to highlight these new skills in your CV as you go. Recruiters and hiring managers are always looking for proactive talents. Remember that a period of unemployment can happen to anyone. But you can make the difference in handling this situation smartly.