Unemployed? Stop Twiddling Your Thumbs and Do THIS Instead!

You’re scouring every job board. You’re reading all the pertinent articles, and carefully tailoring each application according to the company and the latest trends. And yet, your phone has yet to ring off the hook (or vibrate its way off the table) for a single job interview. What can you do while you’re unemployed and waiting, other than hold your breath and watch endless episodes of Maury?

Believe it or not, there are activities you can engage in that can take your mind off the wait, keep you productive, and potentially give your candidacy a leg up while you’re unemployed and waiting for the job interviews to start rolling in. Here are my top three:

1. Start a blog

Overcome the stigma of the 99% who engage in poorly-planned, self-indulgent grammar massacres by writing clear, clean and concise content, on a regular schedule, that is accompanied by a picture or two. Brainstorm some ideas, and write up articles as you think of them, so that you always have something to post, rather than facing a blank screen on posting day. Pick something you feel you have some expertise in (or something you’re just starting), even if it’s a very narrow interest, and become a go-to resource for that thing. Free hosting sites, like WordPress, let you link your blog to other social media accounts, which is helpful for getting the word out whenever you post something new. It’s not about followers, or becoming an overnight blog-baron. It’s about showing potential employers what you’re capable of producing with no supervision, or reward beyond a job well done.


2. Study a second language

Duolingo is a site that offers free courses in French, Spanish, Italian, German and Portuguese based on their goal to translate all content on the internet. They teach you the language, then offer you real documents to translate for practice. The interface is entirely online, and the learning process is organic. Turn your microphone on, and it will even test you on pronunciation! Learning a new language is not only fun, it’s great for your brain, and it looks awesome on a resume. You might get good enough to expand your job search to other countries, many of which place great value on candidates with English as a mother tongue.


Discover your workplace personality type and learn how to thrive in your career:


3. Complete a project

It could be taking on a new challenge in a current hobby. Or maybe you want to tackle that refinishing project that’s been sitting out in your garage since you hauled it home from a yard sale. Perhaps you just want to try something completely new. Whatever you decide to do, treat it like the professional you are. Do your research. Make a plan (and a budget, if necessary). Give yourself a deadline, even if it’s completely arbitrary. Once it’s done, slot it into your resume, or weave it into your cover letter. People who do things are always more interesting than people who do nothing, and by taking on new challenges, you increase your chances of creating instances of overlap that get you an interview. We’ve talked before about the kinds of hobbies you can take up to increase your visibility as a candidate. This is taking it a step further: by building in a goal, and establishing a standard for success, you’re showing initiative, creativity, and that you have better things to do than sitting by the phone.


Other than the obvious appeal of a motivated, self-starter who is capable of working without supervision, doing something – anything – to fill in the blanks between job interviews wards off boredom, and keeps a body from whiffing of desperation. When you have other commitments to keep you busy, even if they’re not monetarily rewarding, you avoid becoming too focused on taking whatever comes along simply because it’s there. And who knows? You might even parlay that part-time, non-paying gig into a regular paycheck.

So, what are you doing while you wait? Leave all your suggestions – anecdotal and otherwise – in the comments.

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