In a world where unemployment is high and jobs are scarce, more Americans are taking an unconventional approach to the job hunt-they're giving up. Yes, they're throwing in the towel and choosing a career break over a career search. But taking a break from the rat race may be what these burnt-out job hunters need and what employers look for.
Millions of job seekers ¿ mostly men-dropped out of the labor force in 2009 when their blue-collar jobs were outsourced or eliminated. And instead of looking for work, many of these workers decided to take a sabbatical, let their spouse be the bread winner, or re-evaluate their career goals while living on unemployment insurance, according to a New York Times report.
And while taking a breather may seem like a waste of time to other job seekers, some companies may view it as a smart move, especially in today's job market. BNet.com reports that employers no longer frown upon career breaks, as long as candidates made the most of that time off. In fact, companies tend to be more understanding of a career break if job seekers volunteered, travelled, went back to school or took courses to learn a new skill.
Applying the brakes to your job search can be one of the best things for you. But you have to do it right. Here are some tips from BNEt.com to taking a productive career break that won't affect your skills or resume.
Set an Objective
If you plan on taking a year or more off of work, you need to come up with an objective of what you hope to accomplish in that time. This may be your opportunity to earn a degree or certificate, work part time at a company you've had your eye on, or maybe re-enlist. Whatever your choice, you should think about your realistic goal and how to achieve it.
Don't let your skills erode
If you're out of work for a year or more, and you've made no effort to improve or learn a new skill, employers may consider your abilities a bit out of date. Look for opportunities to intern, work part time, or volunteer- both abroad and domestically- so that you don't appear stale. Check Military.com's Education channel to look for opportunities to expand your skills.
Dropping out of the workforce doesn't mean that you should drop off the radar. Keep in touch with previous employers, or veterans currently working in the civilian world. They can keep you up-to-date on job leads. Use Military.com's Veteran Career Network to let other vets know all the great things you're doing while you're on your sabbatical.
Manage Your Finances
Before you stop looking for work, ensure that you can get by on a minimal income. Ideally, you should have at least a month to six months worth of savings. Identify how much you spend a month and eliminate any unnecessary expenses. If you have an apartment, consider subletting it. And, be careful about spending too much on frivolous expenses, such as clothing that you don't need. It will be hard to enjoy a career break if you're broke.
If you're uncertain if a break is what you need after your transition, visit with your on-base career counselor to discuss your career aspirations. And for more information about navigating today's job search or finding military-friendly employers, visit Military.com's Careers channel.
For more tips on staying productive while unemployed or to search for military-friendly employers visit Military.com's Careers Channel.