Make the holiday season work to your job-search advantage
➔ When looking for a new position, among the challenges faced by the unemployed is the lack of current (and/or recent) work. Yes, we realize that this may sound oxymoronic, but there is a stigma affixed to someone who is not presently working as opposed to a candidate who still has a position.
If you already have a job, there is a perception that you are negotiating from a position of strength that the out-of-work candidate does not have.
One way around this obstacle, is to volunteer and put this work on your resumé and LinkedIn profile. This is especially useful for those who have been looking for some time and it can be especially pertinent now during the holiday season when non-profit organizations are ramping their charitable activities.
Not only will this work fill a chronological gap, it may help you showcase recent skills or accomplishments. If you’re concerned about being genuine, Ofer Sharone, an assistant professor of Work and Employment Research at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, says, “Put it (your volunteer experience) at the top of your resumé as your current work. I don’t think there’s anything dishonest about that and it may help you get around the (ATS) software tracking screening.”
A big advantage of doing charitable work (now and at any time of the year) is that you get to set your own hours. You’re an unpaid volunteer. With few exceptions, you should be able to dictate when and for how long you will work. There is a big caveat here however. Non-profit organizations can at time be like quicksand. If you let them, they’ll keep dragging you in deeper and deeper until you’re working for them 40 hours a week.
Ideally you’ll be able to do work that is in one way, shape or form related to your professional skills. But even if it is not, this approach demonstrates initiative on your part as well as empathy. In addition, as long as you insist on maintain your own schedule, you’ll still be free to pursue your on-going job search.