These are tough times. According to a report released by the Labour Bureau, the unemployment rate in India has shot up to a five-year high of 5 per cent in 2015-16, with the figure significantly higher at 8.7 per cent for women as compared to 4.3 per cent for men. Leave aside the statistics and just look around – you will find someone looking for a start as a ‘fresher’ even after two years of passing out of college or a neighbour being laid off and unable to find another job for over six months due to lower hiring.
If you are currently unemployed and worried how this ‘jobless’ patch might affect your future prospects, don’t panic.
Many employers are sympathetic towards those who are out of job because of the current crisis. “That’s very positive news. If you fill the gaps with activities and experience that show how you are still developing your skill sets, an overwhelming majority of employers will look past your unemployment and focus on what you can bring to the table,” an HR head said.
However, if you just wait for a nice opportunity to land in your hands, without venturing out, you are on the wrong track. Many employers fear that a lot of job seekers lose some of their skills over time as they fail to utilise it.
So, what can one do in such an unpleasant situation? How to make the best use of the time available? Here are five tips that can help you tide over this tough time:
Yes, that might mean the pay isn’t what you expected. It might be a not-so known company. But, the good news is you are working. The skills you pick up there would definitely help you land a better offer sooner or later as the market opens up. “The key is to get people to see your work and to see what you’re capable of doing,” says Andy Teach, the author of From Graduation to Corporation: The Practical Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder One Rung at a Time. Moreover, opposed to sitting at home, it gives you an opportunity to interact with people and keep yourself busy. It also helps to make future contacts and the paycheck will keep you afloat.
The next best thing that you can do is volunteer your services at some known company, a reference that can land you a better offer later. You will definitely learn new things and if lucky, the company might appreciate your hard work and hire you for work.
Many hiring managers recommend taking a class during a period of unemployment. The more technical competent you are, the better chances are for you to get selected for a job. When you take a class, you show that you are serious about your work and can take initiative to upgrade your skills. Another advantage: It’s a great networking opportunity.
What is your expertise? Or your hobby? Start a blog on that. Many women, who had to bid goodbye to their professional career due to familial commitments, took to food blogging, photography etc. and found a second career in it. You get people to see you as an expert in your field. This also reveals your intiative-taking quality, something every employer cherishes.
This is a high-risk option and needs a lot of money as investment. Yet, many startups are thriving and provided the right foundation and skills, you, too, might be a successful entrepreneur. The upside of being an entrepreneur is that you are your own master, not bound by other’s whims and fancies. But this also needs long working hours, persistence and ability to keep costs down without hurting productivity.