Top 5 Ways to Make Yourself More Marketable While You’re Unemployed

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Does this sound familiar: you’ve been out of work for more than a few months and you’re at your wit’s end. Your resume is posted on all the social networking sites; you’ve contacted every former colleague and old high school buddy you can think of; and you’ve applied to every job posting in your field since last November.

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

While you’re obviously going to keep job hunting, here are some out-of-the-box ideas that will not only keep you busy, but they’ll help build your resume while you’re out of work. Who knows–they may just even lead to your next job.

Live and Work Abroad

Maybe once upon a time you dreamed of packing up your things and moving to another country, but you were worried about what it might do to your resume. If you’re out of work and looking for what’s next, now might be the perfect time to work and live abroad.

Living abroad will not only give you a chance to experience another culture and learn another language, but if you play your cards right, you can get paid to do it. Working as an au pair, or working for one of many English-teaching programs, for example, can provide you the funds you need to live and work in Japan, Korea, France, and a whole host of other countries.


One of the worst things about being unemployed is being stuck in the house all day. Get back into the world by volunteering. Helping out at your local animal shelter, homeless center, or religious organization will get you out of the house and around people.

In addition, it will help fill that gap on your resume, give you a sense of personal fulfillment, and it may even introduce you to a potential contact, client or colleague.


These days, many companies would rather hire a short-term consultant than hire another FTE (full-time employee). You may not realize it, but you probably have marketable skills that could help you work you way to your next job, and bring in some serious cash while you’re doing it.

Think about what experience you have, and how you can market yourself. If you worked in marketing, advertising, public relations, or communications, you probably 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 start-ups who can’t afford an in-house webmaster. If you once worked as an art director, take your skills and start a freelance graphic design business.

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

Brush Up on Your Skills

If you graduated from school awhile ago, chances are your industry has changed slightly since you last hit the books. Take your time off as an opportunity to get up to speed on the latest technologies, software products, and paradigm shifts in your career field.

A fast, inexpensive way to update your education is to take a certification class. Certification classes can range from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the level of commitment and information you are seeking. Best of all, they can show a future employer your personal drive and motivation, as well as add a continuing education component to your resume.

Find Temporary Work

If a full-time position just isn’t presenting itself, consider employment at a temp agency or staffing firm. These organizations will test your skills and then match them to a company who needs a worker to fill in for another employee who’s out sick, on vacation, or on maternity leave.

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

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