There has been a serious downturn in the economic situation of several countries around the world and Nigeria may be one of the countires with a severe case.

Unemployment rate has always been on the high in Nigeria. But that may be further  aggravated by the economic crisis we have at hand due to low price of oil, high cost of living and running business. This has led to redundancy, retrenchment and closure of so many businesses. Hence increasing the rate of unemployment and underemployment.

The picture may be gloomy, there is no doubt about that and we may not all be lucky to emerge as entrepreneurs. While we might not be able to control being unemployed, we can control how we react to it. Despite difficult conditions, there are many ways to grow and stay hopeful. Whether you’re looking for work, or just taking a break between jobs.

So, what do we do about it?

I have a couple of suggestions on how to get productive while being unemployed and hoping to get a job.

  1. Acquire new skills; if you lack a skill commonly required for jobs you’re seeking, spend some time learning that skill. Take advantage of numerous free resources online, including tutorials, e-books, and how-to videos. When you acquire such skills, look for avenues to apply the skills so you can stay current with your new skills. Look for certifications or training you could take, especially those offered for free.                                                                                   Much like training and certifications, taking a class can be a good way to keep yourself sharp while unemployed. Especially when you’re between jobs, it can be easy to forget this option, as most courses cost money. Don’t forget the mass of free educational tools online. Keeping your brain sharp can help you stay focused and may even help you learn some new, relevant job skills.
  1. Volunteer; Volunteering is an excellent way to obtain knowledge and experience when you’re unemployed. Additionally, if you volunteer in an area related to your job qualifications, you can often include the experience on your resume. It also increases your chances of getting hired. Not only that, doing good is a true mood booster and is sure to help you stay optimistic while looking for your next job. Volunteering also helps to enhance and keep your skills fresh.
  1. Take on temp or part time jobs; one of the easiest ways to bridge the gap between jobs is to find temporary work, or work with a temp agency. While many job seekers only search for permanent jobs, it would be a wise choice to consider part time jobs as well. This is probably not the best time to be choosy. You may need to take on random, quick-fix jobs or reputable online jobs in order to pay your bills. You will be in a better position financially while you search for something permanent. Freelancing is another way to boost your skills, resume, portfolio, professional network, income, and confidence.
  2. Build an online presence; an average person is active on several social media platforms. The question is what you do with your online presence. Gussy up your social network profiles, create a digital footprint that enhances your work. Find companies you’re interested in working for, subscribe to their blogs, and follow them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Find decision-makers at those companies and follow them as well. Learn what they’re talking about, do a little research, and then engage with them online. Impress them with your interest and insights. Be the kind of brand employers would like to work with them.
  3. Find and pursue your passion; there are several articles and motivational talks about identifying your passion and pursuing it. There is no time as now for you to take that advice. Identify, understand it. Find out all there is to know on how to make your passion work for you. For all you know, your passion may be the pathway to a change in career. You may not be as experienced as the others, but if you’re passionate and dedicated, employers might just take a chance on you.
  4. Network; you can either reconnect with old contacts or make new ones. Find them, get in touch with them. Build a relationship with them and let them know you are job searching and inform them about the specifics of what you are looking for .Go to networking events in industry, religious organizations, city, and everywhere it’s possible to meet people and socialize . It is important that you follow up after your initial social contact.
  5. Create and keep an organized schedule; it’s quite easy to fall into a funk and watch each day pass by till we get depressed and out of shape. Try not to get too comfortable being unemployed. Start an exercise routine, stay focused and productive. Also, keeping up with day to day tasks makes you less likely to grow depressed or inactive. Things haven’t stopped moving, so move along and get started on new goals. You are your very own project manager at this point. Set realistic goals and see them through.
  6. Stay current with the news and trends; Keep the information window open. Know what is happening around you and in the world. Understand the trends and relevance of key information relevant to your industry or career. There is no harm in discussing with others. It provides a topic for you to talk about in your next networking attempt of in an interview session with a potential employer.
  7. Give yourself a treat occasionally; oftentimes, It may become tiring and frustrating but you can take some hours or days off job search and relax. Sometimes, there is a need to ease up on the pressure and indulge .It does not have to come pricey. See a movie or make yourself some great meal.
  8. Be patient and optimistic; while we keep the search on and strive to position ourselves to be available for a job offer, it is also essential that we remain optimistic and patient. Perseverance and diligence is key here. With consistent effort to be better at what we do, we tend to grow and develop required skills and this can only be achieved when we patiently strive for success.
  9. Become an entrepreneur; an alternative to being an employee is becoming an employer of labour. In the journey to being an employable applicant, you may realize that you want to be an entrepreneur. My advice is, go for it! Identify your industry, acquire skills that will help you succeed, do not be afraid to fail because that will be your learning curve and believe that you have what it takes to excel at whatever you set your heart to do.


All the best as you embark on the journey to being productive while unemployed.


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