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8 Ways to Turn Unemployment into a Positive Situation

8 Ways to Turn Unemployment into a Positive Situation
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Unfortunately, unemployment is often associated with negative feelings of fear, unworthiness, and stress. After being unemployed for a while, many will feel that they have lost all purpose and control of life. However, if you find yourself without a 9-5 daily routine, you will soon realize the one advantage that you have over your behind-the-cubicle friends – TIME.

Being unemployed for some time before landing your next job is necessary as it gives you time to improve your knowledge and the skills needed for your future career. Put all your stress aside and follow with me to learn how you can take advantage of a negative situation and turn it into a wonderful experience that can help place you above your fellow job-hunters.

1. Get to Know Yourself.

Take advantage of being unemployed by making a list of your goals and skills.

    We are in a constant state of change, and it’s perfectly natural that some of our interests, skills, and weaknesses are evolving as the years go by, therefore a reassessment of our traits is critical if we wish to progress in our career. For that reason, take this time to evaluate yourself, everything from the skills you obtained at your previous employment to your failures and flaws. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses that will help guide you in addressing future interview questions. Below are some questions that you must ask yourself before considering the next step:

    • Is there something you need to improve or learn? Are you missing a license/certification?
    • What are your drawbacks?
    • What are your strengths? What were you praised for at your last job?
    • Do you enjoy working in a team environment or prefer solo projects?
    • Do you like travelling internationally for business meetings?

    This is also a great time to figure out exactly what you want in a career.

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    • Is your dream job really your dream job or just something that you’re fooled into believing by friends and family or even society?
    • Did you really like your past job and do you want to repeat the same daily tasks as before?

    Converse with yourself to figure out the perfect career that will make YOU happy even after the “honeymoon” stage during employment wears off.

    2.    Improve/Modernize a Skill.

    Improve and modernize a skill when you're unemployed

      A lot of the knowledge that we possess is no longer current due to the constant introduction and easy access to new information and research. A programmer who knows how to work with only code from the early 2000’s is not seen as a viable asset for the company. The purpose of this step is to upgrade a current skill and obtain new knowledge that can be considered very valuable in the eyes of the employer.

      It is simple as subscribing to blogs, downloading free guides, reading articles daily, or purchasing a paperback written by an industry leader. You can also join Google Hangouts that pertain to your industry and learn the new trends that can be imperative to your new employer.

      Take this time to search through an endless supply of free and paid online courses that can provide you with certification upon completion, such as Udemy. By adding new skills and courses on your resume, it is a great way to show your future employer your time-management skills and most of all, that you value your time. The best thing about this step – you can do this all from the comfort of your favourite arm chair!

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      3.    Perfect Your Presentation/Interview Skills.

      Perfect your presentation skills when you are unemployed

        Not all of us are born to be stadium-packing speakers, so if you lack such skills, it is crucial that you begin to practise your verbal and non-verbal behaviour as it can be the deciding point of whether you’ll get the job. Strong verbal communication skills are highly valued by most employers, as they are signs of educated and competent individuals. For this reason, learn new vocabulary to eliminate the ‘ummms’ and ‘yeaas’ when speaking to an interviewer. If you have a strong accent then practise pronunciation.

        Research the most commonly asked interview questions and formulate the perfect answer that depicts your interest and skills. Make sure to practise your non-verbal behaviour, such as hand movements, posture and even smiling, as this is vital in creating the best first impression. Studies of the employment process indicate that 65-70% of hiring decisions may be based on non-verbal communication. If you feel the need to walk around your home voicing your answers out loud like a crazy person, do it.

        4.    Take Time to Search for Your Dream Job.

        When unemployed, use different resources to find job ads to fit your requirements.

          Don’t start applying to the first job advertisement you see, rather take the time to figure out what classifies as your dream job and use a variety of tools to find the perfect employer. Use multiple job-hunting sites, such as GlassDoor, Monster, Indeed.com, CareerBuilder and LinkedIn Job Seeker Premium (by upgrading your account) to look for jobs based on your salary requirements, position, location and skill set. A lot of these sites now feature reviews, salaries, and information about the company culture so that you can learn everything you need to know before you apply to ensure that it is the best fit for you.

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          5.    Put Effort into Developing a Great Portfolio.

          Take your best work and make a portfolio that you can show to your interviewer.

            Many jobs require for the candidate to provide the employer with a portfolio showcasing their best and latest work; this can be a deal breaker if your portfolio lacks in presentation and quality. Take this opportunity to work on your portfolio by adding new content, purchasing a new binder, or creating title pages. Anything that would make you stand out from other candidates can significantly help your application during the evaluation process. Make sure that it is clean (no coffee stains!) and that the first page includes a hard copy of your resume. Divide your portfolio by sections and use sheet protectors to ensure that your work is safe from fingerprints and accidental dog drool.

            6.    Become a Freelancer.

            You don't have to sit without a job, become a freelancer to pay bills and learn new skills.

              Our office is now our computer with the Internet bringing work to the worker not the other way around. If you are a marketer, graphic designer, web developer, copywriter, artist or editor, this a great opportunity for you to work for international companies from the comfort of your home. A freelance job can help pay for your bills while you search for your dream job. Begin by searching for contract jobs on Freelancer, Guru, and Upwork. Additionally, if you land a great gig, you can add it to your work experience, further boosting your image in the employer’s eyes.

              7.    Pick Up a Hobby.

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              Do not despair when you're unemployed, go for a run!

                Everyone has at least one thing they love to do but never seem to have time for. Whether it’s going to the gym, knitting, biking, spending time with family and friends or learning to meditate, now is your chance to grow as an individual and experience all of the beautiful things that life has to offer. Let your creativity blossom and you will soon find happiness where there was fear.

                8.    Spend Time with Friends and Family.

                Enjoy being unemployed by spending time with people that matter to you

                  We often neglect the people that matter the most, especially when we are pulling 12-hour days or are on strict project deadlines. Call up a friend that you haven’t seen in a while, or a relative that you have ignored, and schedule a time to meet with them. Go for a walk, cook some lovely dish together, enjoy the experience and replace distance with closeness.

                  Conclusion

                  You may have found yourself without a job but there is no need to despair. By planning out your days and establishing a routine, you can turn unemployment into a positive situation that can help you transform your insecurities into advantages. Every negative situation will have something positive — even a dead clock shows the right time twice a day. After all, unemployment is temporary, though how you make the most of it is what counts.

                  Featured photo credit: Marsmettn Tallahassee via flickr.com

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                  Published on July 27, 2021

                  15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

                  15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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                  During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

                  But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

                  Put the Pro in Professional

                  After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

                  1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

                  The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

                  Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

                  2. Dress the Part

                  While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

                  Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

                  For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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                  Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

                  3. Stage Your Workspace

                  Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

                  Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

                  4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

                  Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

                  Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

                  Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

                  Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

                  5. Arrive on Time

                  In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

                  Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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                  6. Turn on Your Video

                  Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

                  If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

                  Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

                  7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

                  Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

                  Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

                  Attend to the Pesky Details

                  8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

                  With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

                  Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

                  9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

                  Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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                  Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

                  10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

                  As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

                  Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

                  Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

                  Talking Has a Time and a Place

                  11. Chat Appropriately

                  Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

                  At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

                  12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

                  The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

                  Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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                  13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

                  In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

                  Manage Yourself

                  14. Minimize Distractions

                  While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

                  Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

                  15. Save Snacking for Later

                  Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

                  However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

                  Final Thoughts

                  Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

                  Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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