Keeping focused when you are unemployed
When you are looking for work, how do you ensure you retain your current skills and experience?
How is it possible to keep your motivation levels up, continue to network and look for better and more challenging work opportunities whilst you still manage to keep focused and positive?
For many people who are out of work, this can be extremely difficult. For example, if you were previously working in a role using computer packages such as Word and Excel, it can be surprising how quickly these systems can change. In a relatively short time, you may find yourself dealing with ‘skill-fade’ and struggling to catch up.
When you are working, you are continually learning, adapting and changing to the environment, people, processes and information around you. When you stop working, you may find yourself out of step with the day to day changes you took for granted in the workplace.
Even the social interaction of having your colleagues and teammates around you can be a big step change. Not only can you end up missing the ‘buzz’ of the office or the dynamics of the team you were part of, but you become detached from the exchange of information and sharing knowledge and experiences.
When you stop work, you lose access to ongoing training, personal development and feedback from colleagues, clients and customers alike and eventually this can lead to a lack of confidence.
So, how do you prevent this from happening? Or, if it has happened already, how do you get it back?
Well, there are a number of solutions but volunteering is just one of them.
Whilst you may initially be thinking “I want a paid job, I need the money, I can’t afford to work for free!”, it is an invaluable way to keep your skills, experience and knowledge up to date. It will return to you the routine and social interaction you were missing and without a doubt will give you enormous satisfaction knowing your efforts are making a real difference.
Volunteering is a fantastic way to put something back, whether it’s helping an individual, a charitable organisation, a community group or perhaps an overseas, not for profit organisation. You’re not only keeping your skills and experience up to date, but you are adding to them all the time. You are gaining new experiences, interacting with new contacts and learning new skills.
You can add your volunteering work to your CV to show how keen you are to keep working and it will demonstrate your values and motivation levels to any potential employer. Some voluntary organisations have such great links within the community and the commercial world, that many people often end up finding paid employment in the longer term.
It can also be a brilliant way of helping you to facilitate a change in your career without the pressure of being in paid employment. It gives you a chance to try something new and realise your potential.
On a more personal note, volunteering is extremely rewarding and could give you access to new contacts, organisations and networks you may never have had access to before. It can be a great way to find full or part-time paid employment either in the UK or overseas.
Finally, if you are already working, volunteering can still be a fantastic opportunity for you to extend your skills and experience and put something back in your spare time.
Read about the mental health benefits of volunteering on Happiful.
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