How to Not Lose Your Mind While You Search for Your Dream Job
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How to Not Lose Your Mind While You Search for Your Dream Job

by Val Matta
Photos Jenn Anibal | July 13, 2015

SEARCHING FOR YOUR DREAM JOB SHOULDN'T BE A WASTE OF TIME—TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SLOW PERIOD AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAINTAIN YOUR PERSONAL GROWTH. 

Someday your dream job will come, but until then, don’t just wait around. Get busy pursuing other endeavors.

The longer you’re unemployed, the less conscientious, agreeable, and open you become, making it harder for you to land your dream job, according to research recently published by the American Psychological Association.

Although being out of work for longer than you’d like isn’t necessarily within your control, you can still sustain your personal growth by taking on temporary projects alongside your long-term job search.

You can sustain your personal growth by taking on temporary projects alongside your long-term job search.

Keeping busy while on the job hunt takes you out of the “hopeless” mind set and helps to maintain a sense of confidence in your abilities. {Click to Tweet} This will make you more attractive to employers.

While in pursuit of a full-time job, here are a few activities to keep you busy!

HIRE YOURSELF

Instead of waiting around for a company to hire you, hire yourself!

Determine a skill you could perform as a freelancer, whether it’s writing, designing, coding, or consulting. Change the one-liners on your social media profiles to say you’re a freelance [insert job skill here].

Meet as many people as possible and when they ask what you do, proclaim confidently, ”I’m a freelancer!” Some will be intrigued by your entrepreneurial presence and mention they know someone who needs your services.

Meet as many people as possible and when they ask what you do, proclaim confidently, ”I’m a freelancer!”

In addition to in-person networking, join a website dedicated to matching freelancers with clients. Some websites like Elance require a membership fee, but others like PeoplePerHour are free. Here’s a list of a few sites to look into:

  1. oDesk
  2. Textbroker
  3. Guru
  4. 99Designs
  5. Freelancer.com
  6. iFreelance

Related: How a Freelancer Prepares for the Future

WORK FOR FREE

Volunteering—or working for free-—might not sound ideal, but it could do more for you and your career than you think. Join a cause you feel passionate about. Though you won’t be compensated for your time financially, you’ll feel fulfilled producing meaningful work alongside others who share your values.

Not only will volunteering keep your spirits high, it also provides networking opportunities. {Click to Tweet} Talk to your co-volunteers about their careers and share how you’re on the job hunt. They might know someone looking to hire a person with your expertise.

Related: Five Types of Networking Events That Are Actually Worth Your Time

LEARN A NEW SKILL

To keep your brain gears turning while you’re out of work, learn a new skill. If the skill can be applied to positions in your industry, it will obviously give you an advantage.

There are many free online resources available to help you pick up new skills. For example, you could learn to code on Codecademy or pull new skills from an extensive list of resources.

TAKE THE TEMP JOB

Some income is better than no income! There’s no shame in taking a temporary job while searching for your dream career. In many cases, it keeps your mind fresh, develops your people skills, and lets you learn about an industry you may not have otherwise considered.

There’s no shame in taking a temporary job while searching for your dream career.

While at your temp job, network with as many people as possible. Do the best job you possibly can with the position you have. If you demonstrate that you can keep a positive attitude, in spite of circumstances that are not ideal, someone is bound to notice and admire your resilience.

FIND A NEW HOBBY

Now is your chance to take up parasailing, slack lining, snowboarding—or whatever new hobby you’ve want to try! As you build relationships with similar hobbyists,  keep an ear out for job opportunities that are a good fit. Don’t be shy about asking someone to connect you with a contact at a company you’d like to work for.

As you build relationships with similar hobbyists,  keep an ear out for job opportunities that are a good fit.

No one plans to be in-between careers long-term, but sometimes it works out that way. Instead of sitting around, waiting for the next dream opportunity to fall into your lap, look for ways to expand your skills and your mind. There are plenty of ways to stay busy, make contacts, and grow your career in the meantime.

Related: Authenticity and Passion: The Two Most Important Keys to Every Job Search

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