Top 5 ways to make yourself more marketable while unemployed

Sounds familiar: You’ve been unemployed for more than a few months and at your wit’s end. Your CV will be published on all social networking sites; You’ve contacted every ex-colleague and old high school pal you can think of; and you have applied to every job opening in your field since last November.

You’re stuck and don’t know what to do next.

While you’re obviously still looking for a job, here are some ready-to-use ideas that will not only keep you busy, but also help build your resume while you’re unemployed. Who knows – they might even lead to your next job.

Live and work abroad
Perhaps you once dreamed of packing your bags and moving to another country, but worried about what that might do to your CV. If you are unemployed and looking for what’s next, now might be the perfect time to work and live abroad.

Not only does living abroad give you the opportunity to experience a different culture and learn a different language, but if you play your cards right, you can get paid for it. For example, working as an au pair or working for one of the many English language teaching programs can give you the financial resources you need to live and work in Japan, Korea, France and many other countries.

One of the worst things about being unemployed is being stuck indoors all day. Get back into the world by volunteering. If you help out at your local animal shelter, homeless center, or religious organization, you will be put out of the home and around people.

Plus, it helps fill that gap on your resume, gives you a sense of personal fulfillment, and can even introduce you to a potential contact, client, or colleague.

Today, many companies would rather hire a short-term consultant than another FTE (full-time employee). You may not know it, but you probably have marketable skills that could help you work your way up to your next job and make some serious money in the process.

Think about what experiences you have and how you can market yourself. If you’ve worked in marketing, advertising, public relations, or communications, you likely have the writing skills to work as a freelance writer and editor. If you’re a former IT/computer science professional, try offering your web design services to smaller companies and startups that can’t afford an in-house webmaster. Once you’ve worked as an art director, take your skills and start a freelance graphic design business.

In addition to earning a few extra bucks, freelance projects can help expand your personal network and portfolio, and may even lead to a relationship with a prospective employer.

Brush up on your skills
If you graduated from high school some time ago, chances are your industry has changed slightly since you last read the books. Use your time off to find out about the latest technologies, software products and paradigm shifts in your professional field.

A quick and inexpensive way to bring your education up to speed is to take a certification course. Certification courses can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on how much engagement and information you’re looking for. Best of all: You show a future employer your personal drive and motivation and add a further training component to your CV.

find temporary work
If a full-time position just isn’t an option, consider working with a temp agency or staffing agency. These organizations will test your skills and then match them to a company that needs an employee to fill in for another employee who is ill, on vacation, or on maternity leave.

While some positions are temporary and may only last a few days, other “temporary to permanent” positions can turn your temp job into a full-time career. Either way, these opportunities give you a chance to network, build your resume, and put some money in your pocket.