Yesterday was one of those magical Autumn days in Melbourne, perfect for venturing out after a COVID-induced isolation. The air was crisp, the sun was warm, and there was a stunning display of golden leaves falling on the ground. 

The Botanical Gardens was really something to behold, and this was where I caught up with one of my mentees, a wonderfully talented, highly motivated and vibrant young woman –  an emerging leader if ever there was one. Let’s call her Amelia. 

Amelia and I have been meeting for a year or so. She is between jobs right now, having just finished up a contract role as a Finance Manager. She has that rare combination of technical finance expertise and the ability to connect on a personal level with just about anyone. I have no doubt she will find an employer that will be worthy of her talents and will realise her potential.

Amelia was seeking my advice about how she could use her time while she was between jobs to stay positive and proactive. Keeping in the professional loop by retaining your profile and visibility while you are looking for work is critical. I also believe employers look favourably on anyone who can project an active, engaged attitude and demonstrate they have been  productive between jobs.

So naturally we discussed what she had been doing over the last week or so. We then started to build out her activity list. As always in these conversations,  I learned as much from Amelia as she did from me.  

Here is our combined list of ten tips for being productive while you are between jobs.

  1. Stay healthy. Get lots of exercise, eat well and sleep well.
  2. Maximise opportunities through LinkedIn and other social media. Consider joining LinkedIn Groups in your area of expertise. Post articles or share articles posted by others that you endorse. Review your profile. Are you getting you noticed for the right roles? If not, update it. 
  3. Review your resumé. Is it a grab-bag of everything you’ve done or focused on the skills and experience needed for your targeted roles? Make it concise, consistent in its message and easy to read. 
  4. Set a weekly target for the number of jobs you will research or apply for. Don’t apply for everything, set some realistic targets. 
  5. Look at sites of interim executive agencies and contract and temp agencies for fixed term work, especially agencies that may focus on your area of expertise.
  6. Prepare a list of organisations you would like to work for. Look on their websites – often employers advertise directly.
  7. Prepare a spreadsheet of all the people you know. You will be surprised at the number of people who could help you get a foot in the door of organisations you want to work for – referrals or door-openers are a very successful way of getting a job. 
  8. Continue expanding your networks. Consider joining other professional bodies where you can make new contacts and be seen. You won’t be considered for that next plum role by sitting at home hoping people will reach out to you. 
  9. Consider volunteering for an organisation which fits your passion and interests, being mindful that they often require a longer term commitment than just a few weeks or months.
  10. Consider a board appointment. Even if you have no board experience you may  have skills that are in high demand. Not-for-profit boards are often looking for people with skills such as finance, marketing or legal and you may get an opportunity to serve on a board even if you have no prior board experience. If you decide governance is your area of interest, research governance training. Some bodies provide free or low cost training. 

Want to find out more? Contact Norah Breekveldt at to ask about how we can support you during your transition to a new role.