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8 Ways to Turn Unemployment into a Positive Situation

8 Ways to Turn Unemployment into a Positive Situation

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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                  Last Updated on November 19, 2019

                  Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

                  Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

                  I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

                  How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

                  Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

                  So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

                  1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

                  Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

                  For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

                  Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

                  “When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

                  2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

                  These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

                  This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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                  But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

                  Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

                  For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

                  There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

                  3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

                  It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

                  Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

                  4. Use Your Phone Wisely

                  Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

                  If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

                  5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

                  If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

                  In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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                  One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

                  6. Use a “To Don’t” List

                  We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

                  But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

                  Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

                  7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

                  When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

                  Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

                  “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

                  And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

                  8. Be Concise

                  Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

                  One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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                  Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

                  • Making new contacts
                  • Talking about yourself at a job interview
                  • Meeting people at conferences or parties
                  • Phone calls to new clients

                  9. Ask the Right Questions

                  “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

                  How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

                  When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

                  Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

                  Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

                  10. Learn as Much as You Can

                  You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

                  Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

                  “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

                  11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

                  No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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                  If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

                  What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

                  Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

                  12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

                  As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

                  But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

                  The Bottom Line

                  The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

                  Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

                  More About Working Smart

                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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