How to use unemployment to your advantage

By Danielle Furbert

Times have changed from when getting your most sought after graduate job seemed easy enough as long as you had a degree. There is now a combination of factors affecting a graduate’s ability to land their dream job and the reality is that someone will have to face the inevitable rejection. For those of us who are on that end of the spectrum, we may feel extremely discouraged and disappointed and wonder “what is it I am missing?”

I am sure many of you reading this blog post know that the word “experience” seems to appear in every graduate job advertised. You think to yourself – I need a job to get experience and experience to get a job…a vicious cycle indeed. While you ponder this thought, you are left unemployed and feeling as if you are in a hopeless situation. You may think that the only way to move forward is to continuously apply for job after job after job and hope that something will come of this. However, there are other ways to reach your employment goals other than getting too bogged down on submitting application after application.

There are various opportunities for using unemployment as a way to do things you might otherwise not be able to do if you were currently employed.  One of the opportunities I would most recommend is volunteering. There are so many organisations, both in the private and public sectors who are always willing to utilise a free hand. While you may think, well what’s the point, I’m not getting paid – in the long run a volunteering experience could prove invaluable to any potential career prospects and even land you a job with the organisation for which you are volunteering with.

As an example let’s say you have an interest in pursuing a career in marketing but you lack the experience needed to get a job; you could look at what organisations or companies would like to utilise the services of someone interested in this field and as a result enquire about a volunteering position. Whatever career path you wish to take, volunteering can be a fantastic way to acquire new skills, demonstrate a strong sense of character and most importantly enhance your CV.

Not only are you volunteering, but you are consequently networking with people and getting your name and interests out there, which brings me to my next point. Who you know can have a huge impact on getting the right job – the job you want. With the free time you have, you can make the connections you need to with the right people. For example if there is a company you are interested in working for, most have websites and the emails of various personnel that you can contact. In cases where they don’t you can simply call the company and express your interests and seek advice. While this may not lead to a job immediately it is important that you are putting yourself out there and building connections.

While the above mentioned advice is important to consider, what is even more important is that you combine your job hunt with your own personal interests. Looking for a job is a job in itself and therefore combining the things you love to do along with searching for a job is definitely required.

Remember that you are in control of your future and you can make your dreams into reality – as cliché as that may sound, it is true. However, there are two very important rules to follow; one – you must stay positive, and two – be patient.

I have personally done a combination of things written in this blog and am now working in the marketing department of a global company. The unemployment days may seem endless, but with the right attitude you can embark on your chosen career path before you even know it.

If you have any questions for Danielle you can find her on Twitter @DFurbert.