With unemployment remaining at its highest levels in the second quarter of 2012, many of those out of the workforce have differing views on what kind of work to take while in between jobs. According to a recently released survey for CareerBuilder.com, it turns out the activity doesn't matter as much as the fact that you're out and about and not being idle.
According to the survey, job seekers may find some hope knowing that taking on slightly unimpressive jobs while out of work is still preferred by most employers.
"More than 40 percent of unemployed job seekers have been out of work for six months or longer," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. "There's a sense that such a long gap on a resume negatively affects a candidate's chances, but the survey shows that is not true. That's very positive news for this group of job seekers."
Haefner added that by filling those gaps with activities and experiences such as volunteering, you in turn show an employer you are committed to honing your skills. This helps a hiring manager see past a lag in jobs, and instead helps them focus on what you can bring to the table for the company.
The report, according to Forbes, found 85 percent of the 3,023 hiring managers and HR professionals surveyed are more receptive to applicants with employments gaps than they were before the recession, while 94 percent say they would not think less of a job seeker who settled for a position during the downturn that was below work previously done.
However, this isn't a ticket to sit back apathetically and expect an employer to be sympathetic to your unemployment situation.
"The worry is that employers may think job seekers are losing some of their skills because they haven't been utilizing them. By volunteering, taking temporary work, or signing up for a class that develops your professional tool kit, you show employers that you've made the most of your time and will be ready on day one," Haefner said.
A time for contract staffing
The experts who performed the survey stated that there are several ways to stay busy while unemployed, and there are specific activities that can be performed that can build, expand and strengthen your skills, thereby increasing marketability.
CareerBuilder noted that taking a temporary or contract staffing position was one of the best ways to stay both active and attractive while out of work. A total of 79 percent of respondents recommended finding such temporary staffing gigs.
"The key is to get people to see your work and to see what you're capable of doing," said Andy Teach, the author of From Graduation to Corporation: The Practical Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder One Rung at a Time, according to Forbes. "If you do a great job, even if it's for a temporary job, whoever hired you is more likely to recommend you for a permanent position."
However, according to Financial Highway, remaining positive and maintaining a strong effort can often be hard during unemployment. One of the best ways to avoid going into a funk is to write out a schedule, and stick to it. This entails going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, treating the job search like a job all its own and continuing other activities and hobbies.
It is also important to surround yourself with people who are employed. While it may seem easy to associate with others out of work, hanging around those with jobs is often an impetus to stay committed to the search.