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No matter the circumstance, being out of work can be an incredibly jarring experience. Worrying about long employments gaps in between jobs is stressful. We get used to our daily routines;  the ways that our work schedules carry us through one week and into the next. Losing that structure can leave us feeling totally adrift. This is not even to mention the stress of lost income, keeping the budget on track, and finding your next opportunity.

employment gaps

However, every cloud has a silver lining. When it comes to employment gaps, the shakeup can be the start of something incredible. Life Enrichments, is always on the hunt for ways to foster self-improvement, and how to recognize the moments that are ripe for it. Here’s a look at how to make the most of your time between jobs, as well as how to keep your budget on track in the meantime.

Take Those ‘One-Day’ Opportunities

employment gapsMost people have a long list of things they’d like to get around to “one-day.” Maybe you’ve always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail, write a screenplay, or boost your resume by taking courses to earn a new degree. When you lose your job, you find an abundance of time. Maybe that makes this the moment to check some of those one-day tasks off your bucket list.

We know this won’t be possible for everyone, but we wanted to start off with this for a simple reason: Many people don’t recognize these kinds of opportunities when they get them. If you do have the means to take a month for an adventure, pursue a passion project, or figure out how to fit a class into your schedule, then take this chance. Wide swaths of freedom don’t come around often.

Working For Yourself

Now, realistically speaking, many people cannot handle a sudden loss of income. Although you’d ideally have an emergency budget set aside for this moment, you can never know for certain how far that money will carry you. A employment gapscar repair or medical emergency could wind up dwindling that emergency budget down, so having some source of income can give you a much-needed safety net.

Fortunately, there are a ton of freelance and contract employment opportunities out there that you can take advantage of. This can be the perfect fit for a job seeker. You set your own hours and workload, so you can build in room for your job-hunting tasks (more on this later). Plus, some people thrive while working for themselves. You might find that a full-time freelance career is a better fit for you than the traditional employment model.

Smart Job Hunting

Finally, let’s dive into some job hunting tips to help you find your ideal opportunity. Before you start collecting jobs to apply to, schedule some time for self-reflection.

Ask yourself:

  • What did you like about your previous jobs?
  • What didn’t you like?
  • Do you know your strengths?
  • Do you favor some job task over others
  • What accomplishments are you most proud of?

employment gapsThese questions are useful for several reasons. First, they help you build a strong, results-forward resume. Second, they give you the power to evaluate job listings. The anxiety of being out of work leads many people to simply apply to anything that makes any sense to apply to at all. However, this is a recipe for disaster in the long term.

As much as you can manage, be picky when it comes to job applications. Only apply to positions that really interest you, or companies you’d be excited to work for. Not only will this make you more likely to actually enjoy the job you get, but you’ll also be a stronger applicant. This approach gives you time to write a great cover letter and build a compelling application. Your interest will show up in your application materials, and it’s much more likely to make an impression with hiring managers than the wide-net approach.

Being between jobs can be stressful, but try to focus on the opportunities this moment provides. This is a chance to evaluate and define your own path. Seize the moment and find ways to push yourself forward into a more exciting, fulfilling tomorrow.