I’ve been watching the search results in the WordPress admin tools over the last month since I posted “What have you been doing since your last job?”
Pretty much uniformly, the search terms look like this: “how to answer what have you been doing since your last job”, and I get a couple of hits per day from that.
Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it sounds to me like people have already gotten the question in an interview and they are looking for “How should I have answered the question”, or, less charitably, “Can someone give me a canned answer for the question?”
Sorry, but the answer is “No”. There is no canned answer. There is no substitute for actually doing something while you are unemployed.
However, there is some good news – you can actually get out there and DO SOMETHING!
In one sense, it’s too late. Opportunities you’ve passed up (probably without even knowing you passed them up) to have that pat answer now are gone. That ship, that fleet of ships, has sailed.
There is more good news, though – the port is INCREDIBLY busy! You can start doing things now. Right now. Don’t wait. Don’t even finish reading this article. (Ok, ok, wait until you have finished the article!)
Find a professional organization or five to join. If there isn’t one, START ONE! Find people in you professional field or your industry and get together to talk shop.
There are lots of opportunities for free or low-cost education – community education, seminars, companies that want to show off the features of their latest gadget/software/whatever, and so forth. There are all sorts of online training programs that are free, too! As long as you can make a case for it making you a better candidate for the position, do it. If you can’t find any, DO IT YOURSELF!
Volunteer! Want to get into one of the more expensive seminars, but can’t afford it? Offer to volunteer in exchange for a reduced rate (or free admittance)! Or volunteer to do something to help your community to be a better place. The worst that will happen is that your community will be a better place. You might even get an answer to the question, or better yet, meet someone else who is volunteering who knows just where that perfect job for you is hiding and who the decision makers are!
And once you have done something, PUT IT ON YOUR RESUME! Don’t sit back and wait for the question.
Fire up that browser, hit Google (or your favorite search engine), and find those organizations, those volunteer opportunities, those education opportunities… AND GET TO THEM! Time’s a-wastin’, and you won’t get it back!
Don’t wait! Do it NOW!
Jim Adcock is Vice President of Launch Pad Job Club, an organization in Austin, Texas, whose mission is help people who have lost their jobs to get the skills they need to land their next job, and to help them cope with the interim between jobs. Check out other career-related entries.
Why are you still here reading this?!?!?!