Answer honestly. What do you do in your downtime?
If your answers include…
– Scrolling through Facebook.
– Binge-watching Netflix.
– Partying with my mates.
– Addictively playing Candy Crush (or similar).
Know that there are more productive ways to spend your downtime.
While there is nothing wrong with any of these activities – we all need time to chill out and relax, after all – you could also be doing something that will actively help you improve your career prospects.
Such as? Well, you might…
Get yourself a hobby
When employers look at your resumé or grill you during interviews, they are interested in what you get up to during your downtime. If you listed your hobbies as ‘playing Candy Crush’ or ‘watching Netflix,’ they might see these activities as unproductive ways to use your time. However, if you listed hobbies that showcased certain skills, such as blogging, painting (or other creative arts), and team sports, they might consider you a worthy candidate over anybody whose hobbies are far less marketable.
Add qualifications to your resumé
You might not have time to attend a full-time college course, especially if you are already working, but you might have time to study for something part-time, be that at home or a local learning institution. So, to propel you up the career ladder, you might take an online course that advances your current job role, such as this advanced MSW degree. And you might work towards any qualifications that will improve your employability, such as a first-aid or language course. You might even learn to drive if you haven’t already done so, as this is a requirement for many jobs. Think about the career you have or want, and then look for the appropriate qualifications to improve your prospects.
Spend time being social
And by being social, we mean do more than have a girlie night in watching Titanic for the umpteenth time or getting drunk on a wild night out on the town. We are talking about socializing with people who may have the power to improve your career prospects, and not inadvertently destroy them (that friend who is always posting drunken pics of you online). If you have people in your social circle able to offer you advice or open career doors for you, make the time to talk to them. If you are on LinkedIn, connect with anybody within your chosen career, and benefit from the advice and job opportunities they might be able to offer you. And get along to career fairs or trade shows armed with your resumé, and thrust it into the hands of anybody able to improve your career prospects.
Follow our tips on building your network for more helpful advice.
There’s nothing wrong with binge-watching Netflix or partying with your friends. You can play Candy Crush if you want to. But don’t spend all of your downtime taking part in activities which, while fun, might not go towards improving your career prospects. If making money is important to you, and if you want to climb the career ladder, then you need to spend time working on your prospects when you have the time to do so. And who knows? You might even have fun in the process!