Depending on how you spend your time, being in between jobs can be either the most refreshing experience you’ll ever have or the worst. From an employer’s perspective, the way you spend that time can say a lot about your work ethic and how you’ll fit into their organisation. Although it takes a lot of determination to stay productive while you’re out of work, here are eight tips on how to take advantage of your free time and increase your chance of finding the job of your dreams.Many job seekers are familiar with the cliché that job searching is a full-time job. Although it is true that job searching takes a lot of time and effort, scrolling through job boards for 24 hours a day is not the way to go. Focusing your efforts on your priorities can make a world of difference in finding that next job. If you’re looking for a job in a specialist industry, you should focus on the companies operating in that market and free up some time to perfect your personal branding.Focus Your Efforts on What Is Most ImportantMany job seekers are familiar with the cliché that job searching is a full-time job. Although it is true that job searching takes a lot of time and effort, scrolling through job boards for 24 hours a day is not the way to go. Focusing your efforts on your priorities can make a world of difference to finding that next job. If you’re looking for a job in a specialist industry, you should focus on the companies operating in that market and free up some time to perfect your personal branding.Identify Key Elements You’re Looking for in a JobThis is your chance to dream a little. Think about your ideal job: what are the aspects that you cannot sacrifice and which can you compromise on? It doesn’t hurt to be ambitious, and your dream may lead you to very exciting opportunities. Contracting, Interning and VolunteeringIt’s also a good idea to look for other ways to keep your skills sharp. Is there an opportunity to take on short-term contract work? Another good strategy is to seek an internship, freelance or a volunteering opportunity with the companies you would like to work for. Though it’s not guaranteed, there’s always a chance that these opportunities may turn into a full-time role. In fact, surveys reveal that you have a 7 out of 10 chance of being hired by the company you interned with.Stay AlertThe most obvious advice is to keep a close eye on job boards and career sites by setting up job alerts. If you employ the service of a recruitment agency, it’s important to keep in touch with your Recruiters. It’s quite easy to miss the opportunity of a lifetime just because the opening was filled before you had a chance to apply.Expand Your NetworkUnfortunately, it’s all too easy to let your insecurities get in the way of networking in a room full of strangers, especially if you’re in-between jobs. However, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be bold, so get out there and talk! The Canterbury Software Cluster offers a great opportunity to meet other professionals in the IT industry. If there are specific companies you’re interested in, see if you know anyone who’s employed by them through the grapevine and talk to the employees about what it’s like to work there.Follow UpWhen you’re applying for jobs, it’s crucial to follow up after interviews or initial phone calls. If you don’t hear from your interviewer by the time they said you would, then don’t be afraid to ask for an update. This will demonstrate that you’re proactive, which will give you an edge over other candidates.Even if you receive that dreaded rejection call, a good follow-up can turn that rejection into an opportunity. Take time to find out why you didn’t get the job, and what you should do differently next time to increase your chances. You should always ask for direct feedback from the interviewers, rather than making your own assumptions.SummaryToo often jobseekers choose to work with a company that isn’t aligned with their personal values or career objectives because they cannot afford to be out of work. However, your job satisfaction is an integral part of your personal well-being, and your performance on the job can have a lasting impact on your self-confidence. Many of these jobseekers end up leaving again, only more frustrated than before.Do not despair! By taking a proactive approach, you can turn your downtime into an opportunity and find the job that you always dreamed of.If you need help finding the best match for your skills and expertise, we can help you explore your options and discover opportunities in the IT sector. Please feel free to get in touch with us today.