5 ways to make yourself more employable in your spare time

Jobs are important seeing as we spend most of our lives at work. Depressing as it can seem at times, going to work doesn’t have to be a drag and make you feel inclined to punch holes in your phone when your alarm goes off. Although work could be a bit more respectful to our relationships with bed, let’s be honest.

If you’re going to get where you want to be work-wise, you need to make yourself employable. I’ve been told I’m good at this (though I think it might be something to do with luck) so if you want to become more attractive to employers, here are some good places to start AND you can do a lot of it at home, in your spare time. Get your fittest stationary out and tie your hair up, it’s time to get serious.

1) Pick a path to go down and focus, focus, FOCUS. It’s so hard to decide what to do when you’re young and I think we’re made to make choices like that far too early in life. Saying that though, you can pick a general direction to aim in, rather than just one job to try and snag. It makes it easier if you have an idea of where you want to take your life, so it’s worth putting some serious thought into it rather than blindly hunting for any job. For example writing has always been my thing, as I got older that turned into digital communications (because you know, MSN, then Facebook then iPhones) and I got there by sticking with the general idea that I wanted to write and I enjoyed working with technology, and I ended up doing a journalism degree. I got into health as a sort of niche after uni and now I’m going to work on social media at Public Health England. Having that main focus and pull in a particular direction has helped me massively.

2) Market yourself. Once you know what you want to do, start getting involved. Use social media to connect with like minded people, share related content, write your own content on a blog, contribute to discussions on Twitter and start making yourself appear like an involved, clued up and genuinely interested person. Being able to mention things like a blog and Twitter following at interviews opens up a whole new discussion. It’s also good for employers to be able to check you out online. This might sound a bit weird and stalker-ish, but it’s the world we live in, so look presentable out there.

3) Pick a skill to improve. You can learn and practice skills from the comfort of bed these days. All you need is a computer and an internet connection. For example, photography- this is something I’ve wanted to improve for ages, so I’ve started using my camera on my phone and Instagram to help me get better at taking images and decide if I should get an expensive camera. It’s FREE, it’s EASY and it’s actually quite fun. Chances are you already use apps and have gotten really good at things that count as a reputable skill, so remember to include it in applications. Photography is just an example, now stuff like Code Academy exists, you can really start boosting your CV for free and impressing the people you want to hire you.

4) Learn another language. This is something I want to do so badly. SO badly, and I know it’s a lot easier said than done. I always thought of learning a language after school as involving expensive lessons or having to go away travelling. After working in an office where basically everyone is bilingual, I’ve been informed you can  learn another language in so many other ways… on a phone, on a laptop, by listening to podcasts. I did download an app a while ago but I was so busy at the time I didn’t commit, but I recommend it as a good place to start. For the two weeks I used it, I actually felt like I was learning. That was Duolingo, which is pretty popular, but other good ones to look at is Babbel (which I just downloaded and looks really good) and Busuu. Commute to work? That’s the perfect time to do it. Unless you’re on a train so packed you can’t reach for your phone, in which case, do it before bed. Having a second language, if you research which one would serve you best, is SUCH a good skill to have and makes you look very impressive in applications.

5) Take something you’re good at and volunteer your skills. I do NOT mean work for free. Volunteering in your spare time is different. if you have a bit of spare time, or think you can give up a few hours a week at home, find a way to help out somewhere. This can be done by going somewhere or just by staying at home on a computer. Find a small charity in need of a bit of help locally, see if there is anything you can do and sign yourself up. When you’re offering up your time, you should get to decide how much you give, so you can completely tailor it to you. This can also be applied to loads of career paths. Think outside the box and send a few emails. The worst that can happen is you don’t get a reply. You can also look for opportunities on websites like charity job, which advertise for lots of different skills like admin, legal, vocational, financial and lots more. Having something like this to mention in cover letters and bring up in interviews shows a lot of initiative and proves you’re really out to get the job you want.

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