Freelance Writing Life

How to keep busy between jobs

I’m currently job hunting. I’ll be honest, it’s been a long time since I last had to write cover letters and spruce up my CV. It’s nowhere near as entertaining as crafting a topical, well-researched blog, or tapping out a witty, pun-filled email subject line. And after four months of travelling around The Americas enjoying cake, hiking adventures and days full of sunshine, the job hunting has certainly brought me back down to Earth.

Keeping busy between jobs

However, in between the job applications and to stop myself from sitting by the phone waiting for the recruiter to call, I’ve been making the most of the extra time. There are heaps of things I can do so that I use my time productively, but here are five of my favourite ways for keeping busy between job hunting.

1. Get outside and get active

When you’re employed you nearly always hear yourself say, “I should get out more”. Well, now’s your chance, buddy. Take a walk around that park you keep meaning to go to; oil up the chain on the bike you’ve not used for years; start jogging again and enjoy the daily sights your neighbourhood has to offer you.

Not only is it healthy and a good idea to step away from your computer screen once in a while (and that goes for those of you that are employed as well), but getting active and taking time out to see what’s in the real wold can be inspiring and do wonders for your creativity.

2. Look, listen and read

It’s all too easy when you’re working to be so engrossed in a project that you neglect keeping up to date with what’s happening in your industry. With more time on your hands, it’s the perfect opportunity to take 10 minutes to look up that article written by that copywriting hot-shot, read the industry email newsletter that you’d ordinarily delete, or listen to the podcast hosted by peers. You even have time to follow up on anything you find interesting. Not only will this keep your brain ticking over, it’ll keep you engaged with the working world.

3. Tinker with your own brand

As copywriters, we spend so much time perfecting and writing dazzling brand copy for clients, that we often forget to put our own house in order. Being between jobs is the ideal opportunity for a spring clean. Take another look at your own website, social media accounts or email list. Could it do with some fresh copy? Does your social need some dusting down? More importantly, have you cleared out your portfolio of old jobs and posted newer, more relevant examples of your work?

4. Learn a new skill and brush up on your old ones

Build a website, learn basic HTML, write a press release, set up a vlog: there are so many new skills to discover that you can then add to your CV, or tell your next employer about at an interview. If you’re anything like me then you love to have a project to get stuck into, whether you’re being paid for it or not. For me, it’s been redesigning and updating my website. Along the way I’ve even learnt some new CMS and coding techniques that I didn’t know before. I’m adding to my skillset. Huzzah! But I’ve also found that it’s the perfect time to brush up on a few areas that I’ve not needed to use for a while. Like Excel. Which I swear is a copywriter’s frenemy.

5. Pick up a new interest

So far most of my suggestions have revolved around boosting skills and are still job related. And that’s important, but so is giving yourself head-space so that you don’t become completely obsessed with job hunting. it’s easily done if you’re a workaholic type (like me). Also use the time to try something completely different. Whether that’s baking, crafting, picking up a new book, bird-spotting, starting to learn a new language or instrument; it’s all about indulging your curiosity and stepping away from the computer screen. For a little while at least.

Have you recently been between jobs? What productive things did you do with your time? Would love to hear on the comments below, or tweet me @RoseC_Leic using #BetweenJobs.

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