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5 Creative Ways to Employ Yourself While You’re Unemployed

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If you’ve recently lost your job, or finally finished your hard-earned degree but have yet to receive that first sweet offer of employment, keep this in mind: Don’t panic.

The good—and sort of bad—news is that you’re not alone. The better news is that your situation is not permanent.

The even better news is that, if you can think outside the box—by the way, start adding corporate-speak to your vocabulary—there are things you can do now to keep yourself employed while you’re dealing with being unemployed.

Register With a Temp Agency

Temp agencies aren’t just for ’80s flicks and sitcoms, they’re real. And they always want to have a full roster of capable people with a variety of skills so they can keep their clients happy. There are probably more in your area than you think.

Start looking, and then set up some appointments. They’ll assess your skills and try to place you with temporary jobs that can keep your checking account in the black while you look for your dream job. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t have to pay to be registered with an agency. Some may take a percentage of your earnings as a finder’s fee, but don’t sign up if you have to pay a membership fee or joining fee. It’s not necessary.

Become a Freelancer

You don’t have to punch a clock at the same office from 9 to 5 every day of the week to make a living. Enjoy the freedom of being your own boss and deciding how much you work and how much your work is worth by freelancing. It takes some discipline, but anyone can do it.

There are plenty of websites where you can look for, ask for and chat with other freelancers about jobs in your skill set. Sites like indeed, Elance, Freelancer and Freelanced can help you connect with employers who need contract labor for all kinds of work, as well as other, veteran freelancers who can help you navigate this new territory. While you’re searching for that permanent job, spend some time searching for some “now” jobs. You might even discover a new passion.

Make Big Money for Small Tasks on the Web

In the last few years, a new trend has developed on the World Wide Web: people will pay you to do just about anything. We don’t recommend doing anything you couldn’t tell your mom about later, but it’s not that difficult to make a little bit of cash doing some kind of menial task.

There are numerous pay-per-task sites. Spend some time at Fiverr, be creative about the kinds of things you could do, and then watch the dough roll in five dollars at a time.  There’s also CloudCrowd, Clickworker and DoMyStuff.com, to name a few. Even Amazon has a pay-per-click marketplace. Just be careful: make sure you’re signing up with a reputable site so you actually get paid for your work.

Make Your Hobbies Work for You

Now that you have more time on your hands, maybe it’s time to make those things you already enjoy pay you back. Do you have a hobby that could turn a profit? The activities you do in your spare time could become a small cottage industry for you while you figure out what your next career move is.

If you like to sew, start doing alterations for your friends and family. If you can bake, offer to make cupcakes for upcoming parties for a small fee. Like photography? Take photos. Even buying and selling things on eBay and Craigslist can go from something you used to do sometimes to get rid of stuff to a service you can provide to people who don’t want to deal with the hassle. No matter what you do, just make sure you get a cut and don’t offer to do something you aren’t capable of doing.

Use All of Your Skills

Even if you’re a trained accountant or used to make money as a mortgage lender, you must have other, outside-of-work skills. If you’re someone who’s handy around the house, try getting work as a handyman doing small jobs for friends and neighbors at home. If you’re good at painting, you can help someone else finish that home-improvement project he’s been putting off.

All those things you never had time to do yourself can now be the things that you do for other people, for money. You just have to be creative and let your imagination create your job description. Your résumé doesn’t have to pigeonhole you.

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