Making Your Free Time Count
If you’re currently unemployed and searching for the perfect new opportunity for you, why not use your free time to build up your employability and boost your chances of securing a job! Here’s five of our top tips to utilising your free time…
Traditional volunteering roles include giving up your time to work at animal shelters, helping out at food banks and canvassing for charity donations. This type of volunteering can be a fantastic way of using your time for the ‘greater good’ whilst also improving your employability. You’re likely to gain or practise valuable skills without even realising such as time management, customer service skills, and team work. Volunteering roles can be found on online jobs boards and many are also advertising through social media!
Work experience or placements are another form of volunteering, which allows you to specialise within an industry that you hope to gain full time employment in. Work placements are very rarely advertised, so it might be a good idea to approach specific businesses and enquire as to whether you are able to come in on an unpaid work placement. Again, this is a fantastic way to gain or practise valuable skills, but particularly those that are related to a specific industry, and you are also making contacts and gaining a foot in the door in a company that you might want to gain a paid, full-time role with.
If you have free time whilst searching for your next role, why not look for opportunities to gain further training by going on a course or training programme. Local Further Education colleges often offer part-time and flexible courses to give you industry-related skills that may be funded. If you are looking for a shorter course, local community centres and schools offer evening classes in a variety of areas that are free or low cost. These could be anything from languages, such as Spanish and French, to improved IT skills, basic accounting, and furniture building. Even if these courses are not directly related to the industry you are looking to break into, you are still demonstrating to future employers that you are willing to learn and develop, and that you used your time wisely whilst job seeking.
Freelancing & ‘At-home’ work
Do you have a skill that you could offer a service or product with? Whether you like to write, you have an artistic flare, love photography or can hem a pair of trousers, you might be able to offer a service to customers on a freelance basis from the comfort of your own home. Other alternatives include becoming at-home representatives for brands, promoting and selling products for a wider brand, such as Avon makeup. You can promote this venture using a free-to-build website or using social media, and build up a customer base. This shows fantastic initiative to future employers, include self-promotion and marketing, time-management and business knowledge that would be useful within many roles and sectors.
The easiest thing that you can spend your time doing is researching specific companies and industries, the local economy, and the types of companies that are hiring. The more you know about a particular company or industry, the more likely you are to be successful in gaining an interview with an employer. Knowledge is power!