use downtime to boost career

How job seekers can use their downtime to boost their career

The current pandemic has led to a standstill in the job market, with many businesses having to adapt to operating remotely or having to close their doors altogether.

This ongoing uncertainty has caused many employers to put their hiring efforts on hold until things return to normal. The result of which is that many job seekers are not only left without a job, but there are now less advertised roles out there for them to apply to.

But if you’re a job seeker and you’ve found yourself with more time on your hands, all is not lost. The situation presents you with the ideal opportunity to boost your CV and employability.

How? Consider using your downtime for one (or more) of the following.

Take an online course

Taking an online course can help you to learn new skills and add new qualifications to your CV. And the best news is, there are plenty of online courses out there for you to choose from!

Providers across the UK offer a range of courses covering most industries. And these don’t have to come at a huge cost to you. In fact, you’ll find a mixture of free and budget-friendly courses online. Additionally, many course providers are offering huge discounts in response to COVID-19.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider the most sought-after skills in your industry and run a quick Google search to find the most widely-recognised course providers in your sector.

Strengthen your skills

You might also want to perfect some of your existing skills to help make you feel more proficient and confident when using them.

For example, if you’ve got a basic understanding of coding, why not learn some different coding languages and boost your skills in this area? Or, perhaps you’re a dab-hand with Excel, but you’d like to learn more about data entry?

There are a number of online resources (courses included), tutorials and advice available to you that can help you to build on your skills and strengthen your suitability for your dream job.

Build your knowledge

It always pays to add to your knowledge and there are several ways you can use your downtime to do this, in addition to courses.

You might wish to read books, magazines or online journals relevant to your industry, or you could even find a podcast to listen to. As well as keeping you in-the-know, it’s a great way to relax and unwind!

Building your knowledge in this way helps to show your passion for your industry and also gives you plenty of talking points for your CV, cover letters and during interviews.

Spruce up your CV

With all this extra time on your hands, now is the ideal opportunity for you to spruce up your CV. If you’ve been using the same CV for weeks (or maybe even months) to little avail, spending some time reviewing and amending this could boost your chances of landing a job when everything gets back to normal.

Work on a side hustle

Is there a project you’ve been meaning to start for months, but so far, you’ve been unable to find the time to get it off the ground? Well, now is your chance!

You could even turn this into a side hustle (depending on the nature of your project) that could earn you some money while you job search.

Some lucrative examples of this could be freelance writing, blogging, accounting, web design or online teaching (perhaps teaching a language).

Attend events virtually

Many businesses are having to operate remotely to respect social distancing. As such, many have begun offering digital services. This means there are plenty of webinars and careers events being shared online that you can get involved with.

Keep an eye out for virtual careers fairs or webinars from key players in your industry. These are usually free and just require you a quick sign up with your email.

Make the most of your downtime

While these aren’t ideal circumstances for anyone, this can be a particularly tricky time if you’re currently looking for a job.

But don’t let your downtime go to waste! Using the suggestions above, you can keep yourself busy, build your confidence and enhance your career by boosting your CV and employability.

Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and Fast Company.

Photo courtesy of Clem [email protected]

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