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April 17, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Keep moving forward: things to do while you’re unemployed

Obviously, the No. 1 thing to do while you’re unemployed should be to look for another job. But job hunting shouldn’t be your only activity while out of work. For one thing, no one can look for a job 40 hours a week; it’s too draining. You also need to do things that energize and inspire you.

Ideally, these activities should not only keep your spirits up, but also enhance your employability. At worst, they will give you some interesting, positive topics to talk about at interviews. At best, they will lead to an actual job. Here are four ideas:

Start a blog. Writing a blog will make you easier to find online, providing an impressive landing page for employers who Google you. It will also make you smarter (and, hence, more employable). How? Because to maintain a blog, you need to do a lot of researching, reading and thinking. It’s also a great way to keep up with your profession or trade. And you might make some helpful contacts in the blogosphere.

Start a company. Even if all you really want to do is find a “regular” job, starting a company of any size will teach you a lot. You will meet new people, which is important for networking, and it shows potential employers that you are resourceful and hardworking. And who knows? You might find that you love being your own boss. There is no better time to try than now.

Volunteer. Doing something good for others is good for society and good for you. If nothing else, it will give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning. And again, you never know whom you might meet. Consider choosing a charity related to your profession or trade.

Learn a new (job-related) skill. If you can afford it, now’s a great time to take a course or certification class to beef up your credentials. If you can’t afford it, consider that learning new skills takes many forms; think apprenticeships, internships, bartering.

Next week: More things to do while you’re unemployed.

Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at wg@karenburnsworkinggirl.com.

More in Work Life Blog | Topics: interviewing, job search, networking, unemployment, volunteering

Blog contributors

Randy Woods Writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.

Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.

Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.

Former contributors

Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant.

Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."

Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.

Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.

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