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Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers! Have a question you’d like to ask? Leave it in the comments, and you might just see it in the next installment of Recruiter Q&A!

Today’s Question: How can unemployed job seekers stay sharp? How can they build their resumes and gain new skills when they are out of work?


Elene1. Visit Your Local Library

Public libraries are fabulous resources with free access to databases and training of all types. For example, through the library, you can access all the training found on Lynda.com in areas like accounting, bookkeeping, WordPress, social media, foreign languages, etc.

Elene Cafasso, Enerpace, Inc.

Beth2. Network

Stay sharp in your job search by improving the most important skill you have: your ability to build strong connections and mutually beneficial relationships. In other words – networking! Find ways to foster the relationships you have by giving value in the form of ideas, information, resources, or introductions. Get out and build new relationships by doing the same.

Networking with business people will also give job seekers a boost. Social connections are proven to help keep our moods up, which is important if a job seeker is to avoid getting discouraged.

Build your resume by joining groups, associations, or local chapters and taking leadership positions. I guarantee that if you volunteer to take on a task, they’ll gladly give you a title that you can add to your resume. You’ll also have the opportunity to gain new skills.

The process of building your network is professional development, and it will help you tremendously in your job search as well.

Beth Bridges, The Networking Motivator

josh3. Read a Few Good Books

I highly recommend reading books on personal development. Don’t read them so you can tell prospective employers you read them – read them so you can apply what you learn! When you are confident in your abilities and your goals, people in hiring positions will recognize that. No one wants to hire someone that seems desperate. Take some time and improve yourself, not just because it would look good on paper, but because it would actually improve your soft skills.

A few particular book suggestions include: Rhinoceros Success, Good to Great, and 48 Days to the Work You Love.

Joshua Evans, Enthusiastic You!

karen4. Do Consulting Work

A great way to build your resume is by showcasing any consulting work that you have been doing. This is easily translated into work experience terms – even if your consulting work is just helping our your friends and family. For example, if you are an unemployed software engineer, you can easily turn your unemployed time into IT consulting experience.

Karen Bartell, Best-in-Class Resumes

Melissa5. Contribute to Your Profession

Find ways to contribute to the advancement of your profession. For example, you could write a blog, actively participate in professional LinkedIn groups, or mentor college students in your field.

These kinds of activities demonstrate your passion for your field and will help you fill gaps in your resume with applicable experience.

Whatever you are doing, you should document your activities by keeping track of your accomplishments, detailing the dates of your involvement, and writing down any stories about challenges you faced and the strategies you used to overcome them.

Melissa Cooley, The Job Quest

Brette6. Take Classes Online

Sites like Lynda.com provide inexpensive training on marketable skills that will not only demonstrate your commitment to self-improvement, but also help you identify new skills that you can bring to your next job.

Brette Rowley, Career Coach to Millennials


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