Before I started my current job, I found myself in a position where I had no direction but felt I needed guidance. Due to a natural disaster, my career was unexpectedly ended. I was then forced to search for a new job but had no idea where to start, what to do with my time that would not make me feel guilty, and just felt lost.
The “in between” moment when you are not working and have put your applications out there and are just waiting can be daunting. Maybe you have had your first, second, third interview or maybe you are just waiting on a phone call or email or you’ve accepted the offer but waiting on the start date. It is easy to catch yourself standing still or feeling unproductive and that is when to take charge. Do not wait!
Most of us have been there at one point or another in our career path and it is what you do in these moments that can really set the expectation for your next big move.
Lay Off the Email
No this does not mean not to check it! We have all been there. We put out 50 job applications and just can’t wait to get an email from our ideal workplace to schedule the interview! So we check and refresh our email ALL THE TIME. We don’t even realize we checked it 20 times in 30 minutes out of habit. Instead, block off time to check it and free up your time to do more productive things. I personally would say to save the companies you apply for as VIP so you get alerts, like a text, when they email, and only check for other emails three times per day.
Set Aside Time to Continue to Look
At this point, you are not working yet but are waiting for the next step from your favorite promising position! In order to set yourself up for success you may want to continue to search because sadly, that “next step” may never arrive. It is the tired and true don’t put all the eggs in one basket. APPLY APPLY APPLY. Set aside a scheduled time each day that is blocked off just for searching job boards, checking in with your recruiter, and reaching out to business connections. It is all about timing and you never know when the perfect opportunity will come up!
Not working can definitely be difficult on the bank account! What better time to learn budgeting than now?! I found the best way to budget is to grab a notepad and start writing everything down! There are lots of applications that can be used once you have done this original formatting, but I feel it works well to visualize what you spend, bills, and income. So write down what you spend on everything for a month, what you make, and what you have to pay! Great way to see where you can cut spending and also save a little!
I have four children that I am sure to set aside time for and part of that can be done with volunteering! So I am able to see my children, show them good deeds, help the world, and- I have a great answer for my future employer when they ask what I have been up to! This will also help fill the work gap on web based applications, many of which will automatically filter you out if you do not have anything listed under current employer.
Spend Time with Family/Friends
Employers are out there looking for the perfect candidate and when they find you, they want you fast! Make sure you are taking time to spend with family and friends. Once that next career starts, you do not want to have regrets. Have a clear mind that you have spent quality time you had and did not waste it! It will keep you more focused at the new opportunity.
Improve Upon Your Skills
I would not necessarily say enroll in a college course, but maybe you haven’t typed out a letter or calculated a spreadsheet in a while. Block off time each day to use the handy dandy internet and search for some assessments that relate to the field you are looking into. Don’t forget to update your resume with these skills! There are ample free resources on the internet if you just look.
Put Applications into Your Dream Jobs
You probably put your application into your most comfortable positions or the roles you feel you can handle, but do not be afraid to take it to the next level! Send your resume to the job you just don’t think you are quite ready for! What is the worst that could happen? You get experience interviewing? Now let’s be reasonable, if it is a job you truly only get one chance for and you are 10 years from that even being possible, apply for a level ahead of your qualifications.
Although in between time can be challenging, frustrating, emotional, and a million other things, I found it more manageable by being able to focus on making the best of the time. I hope these ideas spark new energy in you for your search.
Lindsay joined the Celebrity Staff Des Moines team in 2019 as an Account Manager. She loves the feeling of being able to help people land their dream jobs at outstanding companies. She has years of experience in building rapport and business partnerships, and is looking forward to continued growth in her staffing career. Outside of work Lindsay loves spending time with her husband and four children.