Between Jobs? 6 Ways to Make Good Use of Valuable Time

A woman between jobs looking up at question marks

You’ve decided to leave your job. Or perhaps your temporary assignment has wrapped up. Or maybe you have a new job waiting in the wings. Whatever the reason, you have some downtime while you’re between jobs — so now what?

Go ahead, soak up some rays at the beach, improve your golf swing, binge-watch your favorite series or read those books you’ve been neglecting. After working so hard, you deserve a vacation and a mental break. When you feel recharged and refreshed, you’ll feel better equipped to deal with what lies ahead.

Aside from relaxing for a spell, here are six things you can do to make the most of your time between jobs:

1. Take some meaningful ‘me’ time

It’s not often that we have the opportunity to indulge our creative passions for a while. Do something you’ve always wanted to do but had to put on the back burner because of a demanding work schedule. Write that screenplay. Learn that instrument. Hop on a plane and check out South America. Or do something practical, like taking a class to familiarize yourself with the latest accounting software and best practices. You’ll be glad you did, and you may be delighted to discover hidden talents or new things about yourself.

And if you haven't done this yet, start creating your personal brand.

2. Catch up with people in and outside your profession

Whether it’s spending more time with your kids, visiting a friend you haven’t seen in years, or reconnecting with co-workers from your past, deepening relationships is always fulfilling. And while you’re at it, embrace serendipity. A casual conversation with a neighbor at an outdoor BBQ party may lead to the accounting job of your dreams or an opportunity to do some consulting. Face-to-face networking with colleagues and attending professional conferences and seminars is another great way to make use of your time between jobs and stay up to date on what’s trending in the world of accounting and finance.

Explore the career resources offered by professional associations.

3. Assess your personal and career goals

Use this precious time between jobs to take stock of, visualize, and plan your work life. Perhaps you’d like to explore a different career — or switch from public to private accounting, or vice versa. Or, if you already have a job lined up, you may have your sights set on a management position in a corporate accounting department and want to be fully prepared to meet that challenge. Draw up a plan, whether it’s informal or formal, and work it.

Consider this: Public Accounting or Private Accounting: What’s Right for You?

4. Lay the groundwork for your search

If you're looking for a job, start by reviewing your resume with a critical eye, and make updates to align with your career objectives and the companies you’re targeting. Then get online, and systematically start cruising job sites, social media outlets like LinkedIn, companies you might like to work for and professional staffing agencies that specialize in accounting. Invest some of your time doing company research and consider asking for informational interviews

Ready to take a look at what's out there? Jump in and search accounting jobs.

5. Get certified when you’re between jobs

Interested in boosting your earning potential and your credentials? It’s the perfect time to work on acquiring accounting certifications, such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and others.

Do you have the professional certifications and job skills that you need to advance in your career?

6. Find a temporary job

If you’re in job-hunting mode but want to bring in some income in the meantime or try something new, consider a temporary accounting gig. Sign up with a staffing firm specializing in placing accounting and finance professionals to check out opportunities that interest you. Temping may end up becoming a satisfying way of life or a steppingstone to the full-time job of your dreams.

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