Being in the middle of a career pause can be daunting, especially if you’re someone who struggles to fill your free time. Thankfully, if you do happen to find yourself between jobs, there are many ways in which you can use this period to further yourself, be it professionally or even with regards to your personal development.
Here are 10 of the best ways to make the most of your time between jobs.
- Work for yourself
Just because you don’t have a job with an organisation or business doesn’t mean you can’t be working. If you’re between jobs, try freelancing. A general guide to freelancing in Australia is about perfecting the art of working for yourself and taking on projects with businesses that need short-term expertise to fill the gaps here and there.
Although these contract positions may not be permanent roles, that doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable work. Any projects you complete even as a contractor during your time between jobs, can help pad out your resume and expand on your portfolio. We recommend applying for an ABN so you can start cold-calling or seeking our freelance opportunities online. You’ll be surprised just how many companies could use your skills for a short period.
- Personal projects
Taking some time away from the corporate world may also allow you to put more care and attention into personal projects, whether these are simply life maintenance tasks like chores or appointments, or perhaps even creative projects like crafts, music, or putting on a theatre show! Taking on a personal project can keep many of the skills you need to reenter the workforce again nice and sharp. This could even snowball into a side hustle in Australia. Project management, budgeting and design are just a few of the skills you can sharpen with any number of personal projects, spanning from renovating your house to writing your very own comedy special.
Parents know all too well that we often don’t have time in our busy working schedules, seeing to the kids, and managing the daily responsibilities of life, to really invest in ourselves as much as we may like to. This is precisely why you should use your time between jobs to discover courses or educational seminars you can attend that’ll help you expand on your own professional skill sets. Not having a day job can make the professional self-development experience so much richer, as there are no email or phone calls to distract you during your course. You can even opt to choose a course that’s relevant to your existing profession, or maybe even explore a completely different skill to really broaden your horizons.
- Learn to switch off
A great skill to master in between jobs is simply learning how to switch off. Stress can be one of the hardest things to handle in life, so it makes sense to use your down time to equip yourself with all the tools you need to be able to unwind at the end of a busy day. Use your time wisely, learn to detach and turn off your brain when it isn’t helpful for things to be so noisy up there.
A great way to help support this process of learning to switch off is to start practicing mindfulness and meditation. These practices are actually easier to start and maintain than you may think possible. All you need to do is find the mindfulness practices that work best for you.
- Stay connected, with colleagues
Leaving any position can be a challenging process, especially if you’ve made strong connections with people. Whilst there’s always going to be an extra sense of distance between you and former coworkers in the first few months since your departure from that workplace, there’s no reason why these relationships can’t be as strong as they once were. All you have to do is be the one to reach out.
You should feel encouraged to catch up with old coworkers during your time between jobs. Not only will doing so help soften your transition from full-time work to working your own hours, but maintaining these relationships can also help keep your professional network strong. And a strong professional network could help you find some great work opportunities.
- Perfect your online presence
When work is busy, or we are caught up in the current phase of our careers, most people ignore cultivating their professional online presence. But if you’re in between jobs, staying active on platforms like LinkedIn or even Twitter, can help you present yourself as a highly attractive candidate in time for your next round of job interviews.
With this in mind, you should take some time to update your professional profiles and plan out some content to help you land your dream job. You may also choose to set up your own website to add extra authenticity and reputability to your professional online presence.
- Have a break
A great way to make the most of your time off in between jobs is to just get away. It might have been a while since your last holiday, either on your own or with your family. Thankfully, this career pause can double up as the perfect opportunity to take a much-needed break and get away for a little while. Taking a holiday will help you refresh, destress and come back hungrier than ever to achieve your professional goals. And be sure to fight the temptation to respond to any emails while you’re away!
- Create a mood board
One of the things we rarely make time for in life is to visualise what we are striving towards. What motivates us is such a powerful factor in both professional and personal contexts. This is why you should take the time to plot out what motivates you, why you get up in the morning and what you’re striving towards as you enjoy your time between jobs. Try to have a mix of personal, professional and family goals to work towards, just to ensure that you have all the tools at your disposal to maintain a strong work/life balance once you do return to the workforce.
- Sharpen your resume
As you edge closer to applying for or trying to enter the workforce again, spend some time sharpening your resume. Look for the key details people need to know about you, as well as any recent achievements that may not have been added to your CV yet. Be sure to try to reach beyond just job titles and think more deeply about what you can offer future employers.
- Journal or blog
Finally, there’s no better time than now to start journaling or blogging. Taking up either of these creative practices can be a lot more helpful than you may even think possible. Keeping records of your day-to-day life can help with memory retention, and consolidating things that you learn everyday. And to make things even better, journaling and blogging just so happen to be great mindfulness exercises in their own right as well!
If you find yourself between jobs, it doesn’t mean your time needs to be wasted. On the contrary, some of life’s best work can be done during these pause periods. By trying any of the ten ways we’ve outlined above, you’ll be sure to enrich your time off in a major way, and emerge from the other side feeling fulfilled and ready to jump back into the workforce.