Being without a job can be a stressful and emotional dilemma. However, it can also be a blessing in disguise. Why you may ask? Time. Not having to be at work every day means you have a lot more time on your hands than you did before. And this opens the door to new possibilities and opportunities. Why not use part of this newly acquired asset to enhance the most important thing you have going for you in your job search - you.

There are a variety of ways you can accomplish this. No one way is right or wrong. It all comes down to what works best for your personal situation and goals for the future. Here, I hope to plant some seeds in your brain and possibly introduce you to new ideas about how to expand your skillset, knowledge, marketability and ultimately - Making you even more awesome than you already are!


1: Volunteer

Volunteering is an excellent way to not only enhance your marketability but also, to meet new people, network (perhaps even find a job opportunity) and make the world a little bit better. There are many areas where volunteer opportunities arise. It all comes down to what you are passionate about and where you want to help.

Examples: Nursing home, hospital, pet adoption / rescue, homeless shelter / food pantry, refugee assistance, crisis center, environmental cleanup, parks / nature preserves.

Most of these opportunities can be found via searching online or stopping by in person. The important thing is do something that you feel good about doing - because that passion will translate into increased inner happiness for you and in turn, transfer to those around you and the cause you’re joining. Plus, you can add this to your resume as well as any new skills acquired in the process! That’s a lot of benefits in one package!


  • You are making a difference and increasing happiness.
  • Networking and skill enhancement heightens your marketability.
  • Volunteering has potential to lead to a permanent job.


2: Certifications

Another area to consider is obtaining certification in a specialization of your choice to further enhance your knowledge. If you are in marketing or perhaps trying to transition into that area, you might look at a Social Media Marketing specialization certificate. Or perhaps you are an IT professional who wants to extend your knowledge in Data Structures and Algorithms - yes, there is a specialization certificate program for that! Or maybe you want to learn how to better utilize Excel. You might consider Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Excel . The point is, regardless of your background or area of expertise, there will always be certification programs to further enhance your knowledge base.

So where can you access these programs? There are a multitude of free online classes available through major universities. However, keep in mind that if you want a verified certificate of completion, there will be a fee involved, but these are typically pretty reasonable. Here are two of my favorite sources – Coursera and EdX . Both are exceptional and offer a wide variety of course subjects from top universities around the world. The classes are free and you pay a fee for the certification option.

Another consideration - perhaps you have a background in Project Management or you want to get a job in that field. You might look into getting your Project Management Professional (PMP) license.

Learning something new or enhancing your knowledge in whatever particular area of interest you may have - only adds to your personal value.


  • Regardless of your background, there are certifications relevant to you.
  • These certificate programs are taught online from top universities.
  • The classes are typically free with a reasonable fee for certification.


3: Knowledge

As we just discussed, many of the online courses are free if you don’t require the certificate and are just looking to expand your knowledge. For example, you may want to learn about creating a Professional ePortfolio to assist in your job search. You can take courses at your own pace and learn, learn, learn to your heart’s desire!

But perhaps, you might want to do a major career shift. Or extend your education and get your MBA or Ph.D. While going back to school is not for everyone and is often costly and time consuming, it may be a point of consideration for some. Again, planting seeds here. It all comes down to your personal situation and goals.


  • You can expand on your knowledge with free classes.
  • Furthering your degree or going back to school is an option for some.


4: Write a Book

Have you ever dreamed of being a published author but thought it was in some way unattainable? Let me be the first to tell you - you can absolutely publish! If you don’t have the time, energy, or desire to go the traditional publishing route through an agent and publishing house, there is a wonderful thing called self publishing! One of the biggest players in self publishing is Amazon . Here, you can publish to Kindle, to print, or to audio.

So what can you write about? Anything you want! Tap into your creativity with a novel of fiction, a short story, or perhaps a children’s book. You can write an instructional book about an area in your expertise. Do you have a personal story that would engage readers? Or maybe - you could write your memoir! The possibilities are endless. Once you’ve published, you can call yourself a ‘published author’ on your resume!

Another easier option related to this is to start a blog online. You can do this through Wordpress or any other website platform you may have and share a link to your blog on your resume. Again, you can blog about anything you want. But remember, whatever you blog or publish - is public! Keep in mind that this will be accessible to future employers and directly reflects on the author - you ! Be cautious and also figure out how to best use this to your advantage to share your creativity and knowledge with the world.


  • Self publishing is an alternative to traditional publishing to consider.
  • There are endless possibilities in what you can write about.
  • A more flexible option to look at is blogging.


5: Language

Last, but certainly not least, is learning a new language. Knowing more than one language opens up a whole new world and culture. It also makes you a more valuable employee as well as shows your ability to take on new challenges. There are several ways to go about this. You can go the ‘self-taught’ route and learn via books, audio, and videos. You can invest in a language learning program, such as Rosetta Stone . Other options include hiring a personal tutor or attending a university class. Regardless of what method you choose, know that learning a new language is challenging and requires patience, time, and dedication. But it also is a very rewarding journey.


  • Knowing more than one language enhances your skill set.
  • Language opens the eyes to new areas and cultures.
  • While language is challenging, it is also rewarding!

In conclusion, there are many ways to enhance your marketability while you have some extra time. It is also a way to take a productive break from the stress of the job search. It is important that we strive to always push forward - to learn and grow. As the Chinese proverb says, “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid of standing still.”