A gap of employment on your resume can be frightening, but that doesn’t mean that your time between jobs has to be spent solely on hunting down your next position. It’s time for job seekers everywhere to embrace new opportunities during their time between jobs!

The job search can wear on both your sanity and your finances, making it hard to want to regularly get out and connect with society. But in all reality, your search for a job could actually be more successful if you’re focused on keeping busy during the process. Don’t lose touch with your priorities, network, or skills during your search for a job.

Here are six reasons why staying busy can save your job search:

1) It’s A Chance To Meet New People

The job search can turn even the most extroverted job seeker into a hermit, but it’s important to focus your unemployment on keeping up with connections, as well as making new ones. Getting out and meeting new people, even in small ways, can have a positive effect on your job search because you’re expanding who you know.

Additionally, while the job search can often feel like a full-time job, it’s important to set aside time on your calendar for reconnecting with your network and looking for ways to meet new people. This can be as simple as attending a networking event for your industry, or taking a cooking class – you never know who you could potentially be in contact with.

2) You Can Utilize Your Skills

Unemployment can sometimes lead to the stagnation of the skills you’re most praised for. To stay busy during your time between job, consider looking for an outlet to utilize their skills.

Many job seekers, and even people who are employed, take their numerous professional qualifications and use them to benefit their community or a greater cause. Look into how to get involved by volunteering at a charity or non-profit organization. While you should focus on picking up or creating tasks that utilize your skills, dabbling in things like communications or social media can put you closer to a job and also look great on your resume.

3) You’ll Learn Something New

During the time you’re employed, it might be hard to find the time to develop a new skill or build on the ones you already have. The job search might be the perfect opportunity to get out there and learn something new. Many job seekers stay busy by taking classes during their period of unemployment.

Your continued education during unemployment doesn’t necessarily have to be through taking a class from an accredited college – there are many seminars and online classes that can benefit your skills. Employers are continually looking for candidates with advanced knowledge of technology, so gaining extra skills may be your opportunity to stand out from the competition.

4) An Opportunity To Make Money

The search for a new job can often lead to financial issues, which many combat by taking on a temporary part-time or full-time position. While this is never the favored route of a job seeker, it’s important to realize that holding a temporary position is a great way to benefit your search: after all, you’re earning some cash and also getting fresh references!

If temporary work isn’t your style, consider making some money and building your portfolio by freelancing. While freelancing isn’t always the best option for all career fields, many individuals who are both employed and unemployed find that freelancing is beneficial to their career.

5) You Can Focus On Building Your Personal Brand Online

how blogging can help your careerStaying busy during unemployment doesn’t always mean leaving your home. Many job seekers find that developing their personal brand online can be valuable. This means completely revamping your current social platforms, as well as creating profiles on other platforms to set you apart from your competition.

Individuals with strong online brands often position themselves to be thought-leaders in their industry. Boost your brand online by creating a frequent social posting schedule that includes keywords and hashtags related to your industry, interacting on industry forums, and creating and maintaining a relevant blog.

6) An Opportunity To Start Your Own Business

While entrepreneurial endeavors certainly aren’t for the faint of heart, it’s becoming more common for job seekers to consider to start their own businesses upon their departure from their most recent positions. Starting your own business could be a chance to finally do things your way. The part-time endeavor you even be something you continue to do after finding full-time employment.

Unemployment doesn’t have to be a time for stagnation – smart job seekers will utilize their time off in a way to benefit their career path in a unique way. Utilize these tips to stay ahead of the competition and land a job fast!

How else can candidates stay busy while looking for a new job? Let us know in the comments below!

Amit De is the CEO and Co-founder of Careerleaf, an all-in-one job search platform that cuts the time to apply in half. Connect with Amit and Careerleaf on Twitter.

photo by: Ed Yourdon

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