If unemployment or underemployment has given you more free time than you would normally have, take advantage of that time to make yourself more marketable in the current job scene.
Have You Considered Freelancing?
One of the best ways to increase skills that could be readily used by future employers is to freelance. Freelancing can include anything from writing to editing to graphic design. Anything that can be done outside of the office on your home computer is considered freelancing. This is the perfect opportunity to bring already-refined skills into the open. Even if the work is unpaid, having work that is published or prominently displayed for future employers in a magazine or Web site is a great way to make your work stand out from the rest of the applicant pool. In addition, the more practice you have in a certain skill area will make your expertise even better.
Updating Your Skills or Acquiring a New One Helps
Another great way to sharpen skills is to obtain a certificate for a certain skill-set at a nearby community college or skill center. Certificates range from Speed-reading to Leadership. Not only are these classes discounted because they are in a neighborhood community college, they will also teach or sharpen your skills. Then, you can use these certificates to obtain an advantage when applying to jobs where most people have the same type of skills at the forefront.
The Value of Internships
The best way to sharpen skills and obtain experience that is crucial to future employment, especially in a field outside of your expertise, is to intern. Internships are up as companies need more staff and have fewer funds. Thus, unpaid or underpaid internships are everywhere and can be created by companies. Therefore, if you want to go into an industry where you have little experience, this is an opportunity to obtain it. In these types of situations, if your work is really phenomenal, there may be a position that opens up in the company during the internship.
When sharpening up skills in this economy, it is important to make your skills and talents stand out from the rest of the applicant pool. Thus, obtaining publication, certificates or experience that others lack is the fast-track way to getting the job of your dreams.