Straight from the Lab

Downtime presents the opportunity to enhance your skills.

When one job ends and another is yet to begin, you can leverage your new found downtime to enhance your resume and increase your competitive edge. Here are four strategies to implement during a layoff so you’re ready for the next career adventure.

  1. Network, network, network

Full-time jobs can make it difficult, or even impossible, to find time to network, whether it’s with ancillary organizations, peer mixers, or industry events. Take advantage of the time in between jobs to attend those must-go-to events or branch out to try new ones. The chance to meet new peers, future colleagues, or learn about a career opportunity increases with every happy hour, lecture series, and trade event you attend.

You can also use this time to reach out to existing contacts to inform them you’re in the job market. Inquire about leads or any openings they might know of and follow up with opportunities that look promising.

  1. Hone Your Skills

Continuing education is a requirement of some careers, but for others, it’s a luxury that few have time for. Use the opportunity to brush up on the skills of your trade or learn new ones that can position you for greater success.

What skills can you learn or strengthen to help with your next career move? Are there new skills that could make you more marketable? As technology evolves, professionals across all roles need to know how to best leverage innovation. You can take classes in new software or technologies to improve your knowledge base.

Additionally, you can use your time to refresh your soft skills, from public speaking and best practices for presentations, to goal setting and behavior management.

For example, iDea lab offers an array of job-specific courses for managers, executives, healthcare professionals, and sales leaders. There are also professional development courses that cover everything from conflict management to team building, and the insights gained can apply to any position. Two of the most popular courses are “Critical Thinking & Problem Solving” and “Sales Fundamentals: Selling for Success.”

Check out these courses and others.

  1. Go Social

Now that you have more discretionary time, leverage social media platforms to stay up-to-date on thought leadership and industry conversations. Follow influencers and noted professionals to stay in the know about new topics, trends, and ideas. By searching with just a few keywords on social media platforms, you can find an enormous amount of relevant content.

Also, don’t forget to beef up your own social media presence. Whether you have a profile on LinkedIn or a following on Instagram, use the right social network to blast your credentials and stay connected with others in your industry or interest groups. This is also a great time to create a blog or contribute to other platforms as a thought leader.

  1. Plan Your Job Search

Experts recommend spending 30 to 40 hours per week on your search, treating the process like a full-time job. Ensure you have a dedicated space in which to work, whether it’s a home office, kitchen table, or an off-site location. Being consistent and focused is key to productivity. Develop a list of companies and organizations you’d like to work for, as well as a list of job leads. Keep a log or spreadsheet so you can make notes and stay organized.

In addition to allocating time to search for a new job, make the most of your career hiatus by focusing on developing skills or relationships that you may not have had time for in the past. Every layoff provides the chance to learn and grow. Leverage this opportunity for your benefit and increase your marketability and knowledge base.

Lastly, a layoff can be the catalyst for many emotions, making it vital to practice self-care. Manage your stress productively by engaging in healthy habits, exercising or meditation, talking to others, and keeping a sense of perspective. A layoff is a temporary situation – and while there can be trying moments, it’s often a step toward an exciting next chapter.

Learn more about professional development courses through iDea lab.