Unemployment: it's a situation that many fear that can lead to financial hardship and high levels of stress, anxiety, and low self-esteem. For anyone who has been laid off, had their employment terminated, or quit their job, facing down the barrel of unemployment is a scary prospect.


For whatever reason you are out of a job, being unemployed is no time to be complacent. Instead, look at your period of unemployment as an opportunity to reassess yourself as well as reinvent yourself. They say that as one door closes, another door opens. Use this period wisely and that other door may be a giant leap forward in your career path.

There are many strategies you can use to help you empower yourself, take control of your situation, and make the most of the time you have on your hands.

Here are four ways to take advantage of being unemployed:

1. Volunteer

Unemployed professionals take advantage of volunteer opportunities

Take an interest in what is happening in your community and get involved. Join one or more local community groups and volunteer some of your time and expertise. Volunteering always looks good on a resume and showing an active interest in your community will be positively viewed by employers.

In addition, volunteering gives you the opportunity to network with people from all walks of life and this, in turn, could lead to your next job.

Good points of contact are your local Lions or Rotary clubs.

2. Learn New Skills

Unemployed woman takes advantage of her free time by learning new skills

Keep your mind active by learning a new skill. Potential employers will look positively on the fact that you have been using your time wisely to keep up with industry changes or develop a new skill.

A great place to start is with free or low-cost online courses. If you find the courses you want to take cost a good amount of money, think of them as an investment in yourself.

In addition, pay attention to any industry developments in the news so that when it comes time to apply for that dream job, you are prepared to discuss not just your role but the industry at large and how the skills you've developed will help you succeed in that role.

3. Work Out

Unemployed man works out

At such a stressful time, you need to take extra care of yourself. There's no excuse now for putting off starting an exercise regimen because you don't have the time. You have plenty of it.

You don't have to join a gym or get a personal trainer. Take up running or cycling, go on expeditions to explore your local area, or simply create your own at-home daily exercise routine and stick to it. You'll look better, feel better, and feel less stressed—all of which will boost your confidence.

4. Rework Your Resume/CV

Unemployed young woman takes advantage of her free time by updating her resume

Now is definitely the time to update and polish your resume. If you've been in the same job for a long time, it might be a good idea to research the best way to optimize your resume so it gets past the ATS.

In addition, start improving your online presence by creating or updating your LinkedIn profile and join professional industry groups. This is all a form of networking and is a great way for you to find opportunities that may not be widely advertised.

Also, sign up for daily job alerts and make your interview bucket list. The more targeted your job search, the easier it will be to find a job.

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So, are you feeling a bit better about being unemployed? We hope so! If you want to take advantage of being unemployed, you just have to follow the four tips above.

Remember: Don't view unemployment as a setback. Think of it as an opportunity to improve your career—because that's what it is!


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This post was originally published at an earlier date.