10 ways to make yourself more employable on furlough

With growing numbers of people on furlough, job uncertainty is rife during the coronavirus pandemic. I know it’s tempting to do nothing. But increasing your chances of finding a new job – and improving your CV – is a smart way to spend lockdown. Discover 10 ways to make yourself more employable on furlough.

1. Learn a language

Admit it, how many of us have added world cinema to the hobbies section of our CV? And how many of us have barely watched a subtitled film in the past decade?

Learning a new language could make you far more employable post-furlough if you find yourself unemployed or seeking a new role. Make that boasty CV statement actually come true by practising your linguistic skills working your way through Netflix’s international category!

Babbel is currently offering six months’ free online language learning. Meanwhile, Rosetta Stone has slashed the price of its online courses. Duolingo is always free, and has a fun and effective approach to language learning.

Once you’ve gained basic or advanced competency in your language of choice, add it to your CV. It will boost your chances of getting noticed by international employers (and make you seem cool and mysterious on your Tinder bio).

2. Do volunteer work

You may be mostly housebound. However, there are still ways you can do volunteer work to provide your CV with valuable experience to impress employers.

If you are able to take limited trips out for essential items, sign up to volunteer with your local authority. You can help your local community with shopping, collecting and delivering prescriptions. Post a note through neighbours’ doors to see if they need help with dog walking or organising deliveries. 

Or, offer your services and skills for free to charitable causes during furlough to gain experience. For example, offer to run social media or write blogs for a small charity.

Any way you can help other people during furlough will provide a boost to your local community. Not to mention, improving your self-esteem and work prospects. 

3. Take up a new hobby

How many of us struggle to fill the hobbies bit of a CV because all we really do is watch TV? If you’re feeling seen, now is an opportune moment to finally get a hobby. Of course, your options are a little limited if you’re in isolation. However, you still have options. 

Photography, birdwatching, yoga, cooking, genealogy, knitting… whichever new hobby you choose will broaden your horizons and show you’re a proactive, well-rounded person.

Small details like this can go a long way towards improving your employability and ability to fit into a team. Don’t underestimate them!

4. Do a social media audit

Potential employers tend to socially stalk job candidates nowadays. That’s right, your drunken uni nights and dubious fashion choices could be on show for all to see.

Give yourself a social media audit today. Either update your privacy settings, alter your username to make yourself harder to find or trawl through and delete embarrassing pictures. 

If a recruiter or manager delves into your social media for insights into who you are, make sure they leave with a great impression that makes you seem like the most employable of all candidates.

5. Write a career plan

Many of us stumble through our careers without focus or direction. Therefore, why not use furlough or sudden unemployment as a chance to work out what you really want from your professional life?

Writing a career plan doesn’t need to be detailed or complicated. Yet having a list of goals and timescales could help you to get where you want to be. It may even send you off in a new direction if a period of reflection leads you to the conclusion you want to pursue a career change.

Either way, having clear direction and targets set out in your personal statement make you infinitely more employable than others. 

6. Upskill

Using furlough or unemployment to upskill is a fantastic way to skyrocket your employability levels. 

Check out free marketing courses you can enrol on online. When you’re done, add your newly honed skills to your CV and LinkedIn.

Not only will it show you have the necessary skills for the job, it will prove you’re a proactive self-starter who loves to keep busy and self-improve during downtime. How could any employer turn you down?

7. Practise self-improvement

There’s a wealth of reading and listening you can do to work on improving yourself and your employability during lockdown.

Browse self-improvement books, or download motivational podcasts to listen to on your daily walk.

By the time quarantine ends, you’ll have increased self-awareness and clearer career goals, making you ultimately more employable.

8. Start blogging

Starting a blog in your chosen industry or field is a seriously smart way to heighten your employability while furloughed or in quarantine.

And the good news is, you don’t need to be a professional copywriter or influencer to start blogging. The great thing about starting your own blog is anyone can do it, it’s pretty easy and it’s yours to use as you wish.

Whether you want to position yourself as an expert in your field, or chart your progress learning a new skill or hobby, blogging shows you have a can-do attitude. Plus, if your future dream job involves writing, too, starting a blog is a great way to show off your grammatical skills and unique writing style.

If furlough or sudden unemployment is the push you need to explore a career change, blogging is a useful way to demonstrate your enthusiasm and personality. Despite a lack of experience, this could make you much more employable in an employer’s eyes. For example, dreaming of a career in fashion with limited opportunities to gain work experience could set you back, but starting your own fashion blog shows initiative, purpose and passion.

9. Do temporary work

Temping during furlough or isolation may not be as easy as it was in a pre-COVID-19 world, but it’s not impossible either. All of the major supermarkets have taken on extra staff to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, so show you’re not the sort to sit around wallowing by taking on shifts at your local store.

There’s also plenty of online temporary work you can do if you’re not currently working. 

Many businesses need help with social media, PR, comms, freelance copywriting, customer services or technical support during this unprecedented time, so explore opportunities in your industry to see if you can bag some temp work to improve your employability in a post-COVID-19 business landscape.

10. Grow your network

If you’re sitting around online all day, you may as well make it productive. Look up old work contacts, keep in touch and talk to see if there are any opportunities to work together in future.

Equally, making new contacts on social media to further your career is a wise move during furlough or corona-induced unemployment. LinkedIn is flooded with posts about growing your network during this time, so browse, connect and keep in contact with your new community. You never know what kind of opportunity may arise to supercharge your employability or find new work.

If you try any of these ways to make yourself more employable on furlough or sudden unemployment, please let me know!

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