How to make the most of a period of unemployment

4 min read

Career Trends: June 8, 2022
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS


Being “in-between” jobs is an important period for deeper self-reflection and preparation for the envisaged next job opportunity.

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A hiatus from the workforce can happen for a number of reasons: a layoff, illness or the simple need for a sabbatical. While planning for the next job may be at the bottom of the priority list during this time, if a professional knows they will be looking for a new post at some point down the road, it’s important to lay the groundwork for a smooth return.

This includes not only staying in touch with your network but also making sure you’re caring for yourself and ensuring you’re returning to a workplace and a career that’s right for you.

Below, members of Forbes Coaches Council discuss some key things to ensure a smooth transition back to work.

1. Stay in touch with your network

 Arvid Buit, TRUE Leadership

  • During your off period, invite people to share your peace and contemplation.
  • Join them now and then to be involved and show you care.
  • Every healthy relationship is built on reciprocity so make that important.

2. Work on your communication skills

 Able Wanamakok, Find Your Voice Asia

  • Anyone who has been away for a long time should work on their communication skills.
  • When you are away from the social context for too long, you could lose touch with social dynamics, cultural awareness or even self-awareness.

3. Stay on top of tech and social media trends

 Jon Dwoskin, The Jon Dwoskin Experience

  • If you are looking to get back into the workforce, make sure you’ve studied up on technology and social media.
  • Find and know the current trends in each and use them to your benefit by finding ways to create more efficiency.

4. Take a thorough stock of your career

Jarret Patton, DoctorJarret PLLC

  • While away from employment, take time to thoroughly take inventory of all the things that you like and dislike about your career.
  • Use this list to guide you so that you don’t fall into the trap of simply chasing a paycheck.

5. Be ready to discuss your employment gap

Erica McCurdy, McCurdy Solutions Group LLC

  • An employment gap almost always becomes a question to be answered upon return.
  • Expect questions, and be prepared with a short answer to refocus on the future.

6. Gain clarity on what you want

 Marc Zalmanoff, Marc Zalmanoff LLC

  • During a period of unemployment, a professional can work on getting crystal clear on what they want out of life.
  • Strengthening core values and gaining clarity on goals will lead to greater self-confidence.

7. Focus on personal growth

Lillit Cholakian, NewGen Global Leaders

  • Any professional can benefit from three major areas of personal growth.
  • First, work to understand different communication styles and learn to effectively communicate with each.
  • Second, understand the impact of mindset on your results and create a mind-shift for success.
  • And finally, understand emotional intelligence and cultivate it within.

8. Continue to follow industry advancements

Michael Timmes, Insperity

  • It is important to keep up with your industry’s advancements.
  • Continue to read trade journals, participate in webinars and keep in touch with the industry leaders.

9. Maintain your professional online presence

Kim Neeson, Kim Neeson Consultancy

  • Comment on your network’s posts on LinkedIn, Twitter and so on.
  • Don’t be afraid to chime in when you have something to add to the conversation.
  • Additionally, you’ll keep up with your profession’s goings-on and stay up to date.

10. Fine-tune your value proposition

 Thomas Lim, Singapore Public Service, SportSG

  • Being “in-between” jobs is an important period for deeper self-reflection and preparation for the envisaged next job opportunity.
  • It is certainly a period for fine-tuning one’s value proposition, closing off any gaps and staying relevant in knowledge, competencies and skills.
  • It’s important to ensure positive-yielding routines during the period and not get derailed or demotivated.

11. Hone your skills in a volunteer position

 John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.

  • Investing your time in a meaningful pursuit or social cause may resonate with a potential employer.
  • Employers would be interested, and this should give you an employment boost.

12. Take care of yourself

James Hotaling, N2Growth

  • Work on yourself — body, mind, and soul.
  • Practise mindfulness and resilience techniques, and be proud of who you are.


Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet?

How Resilient People Survive Stressful Situations Without Crumbling


(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above mentioned article are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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