Building Skills Whilst Unemployed

Anika, like many students and recent graduates, is on a jobhunting mission in tough times. Determined and resourceful, she found ways of building skills to increase employability and take a deserved break from the grind of applications…

Girl studying

Like many graduates at the moment, I have been spending hours of my day finding and applying for jobs. The job hunt has always been hard, but the global pandemic has taken it to a new level. Many graduate schemes and internships have been cancelled and there are fewer job opportunities than in recent years.


I will admit applying to job after job, only to receive rejection after rejection, definitely takes its toll, especially when you receive no feedback and only a generic rejection email. A common problem for graduates is that we don’t have the experienced required for most roles, and we can’t gain that experience unless we get accepted for a job or internship. We are then faced with an endless problematic loop.


As a recent graduate, I relate to many of you who are currently experiencing this situation, but I’ve been trying to not let it get me down. Instead, I asked myself – what could I do about it? I didn’t realise how many resources are available online for students and graduates, many of which are free – which is obviously a bonus! There are resources to help increase your experience, learn new skills or just something to do alongside job hunting. So, here are some of my favourites which will hopefully help you too…

Online courses

There are so many free online courses available: different topics, lengths and difficulties. I have recently completed a course from Google Digital Garage. If you are interested in digital marketing or data and technology, I highly recommend their courses. You can choose how much you want to do and when, so it’s really convenient. The course is also very engaging, as you have small quizzes to do at the end of each section and a test at the end of each module. This particular course included a certificate, which is great to add to your CV or LinkedIn profile; it shows recruiters that you are actively gaining new skills required for certain jobs. As well as Google, here are some other amazing websites that also offer courses:



After graduating, LinkedIn became a part of my daily social media scroll, which I never thought would happen! LinkedIn not only helps to improve your professional online presence but it also offers plenty of opportunities: you can reach out to new connections, display your skills and find job opportunities. Every time I scroll through LinkedIn I find tips, tricks and words of wisdom from people who I follow. This is great if you want to actively learn more about the industry that you are interested in.

Read, read, read…

Books, articles, blogs whatever interests you. I never used to read that much before university, and during university, most of my reading was prep for seminars or essays. However, during this past year, I have found myself reading more and more. Not only books, but also online articles and news reports. It has helped me to understand more about the world and the industry that I want to enter, which is marketing. Again, Linkedin is great for this because I can follow marketing professionals who post about their work and campaigns.


My final tip is to listen to podcasts. Over lockdown, I realised I spent an unhealthy amount of time on my phone – some days I couldn’t even face looking at my screen time. Listening to podcasts really helped. I could listen to them anytime; on a walk, cleaning my room, before bed or around the house. There are so many types of podcasts out there: educational, political, comical. You can choose to listen to podcasts related to your career, which can help you understand more about the industry, or listen purely for relaxation and enjoyment.


I recommend ‘Private Parts’ by Jamie Laing and Francis Boulle – this is such a random yet funny podcast that will just make you laugh. However, if you’re wanting something to help with your job search try ‘Graduate Job Podcast’; it gives great advice about how to get a job as a graduate and shares interviews with graduate recruiters.


So there you have it, my tips for building skills whilst job hunting in a global pandemic. The main thing is not to worry if you haven’t yet secured a job, a lot of us are in the same situation. Keep going with the job applications and try an online course, listening to a podcast or reading a book. Even if they don’t help, they will give you a much-needed break from the job hunt.
I hope these tips help you with your graduate journey – Good luck with the job applications!

Find out more:

Short courses to boost employability
Short courses to broaden the mind, boost employability & set you apart from the crowd
Making the most of social media as a job seeker
As a jobseeker, it’s essential to have a positive presence on social media, to be found by prospective employers & to find openings, useful contacts & information.
Become a work-ready graduate – get ahead of the game
Well-rounded work-ready graduates will really stand out in today’s tough jobs market. 5 simple steps you can take now, to get ahead of the game.
Job searching in a pandemic
Get ready for the recovery in the jobs market, make sure you can jump on those openings when they do arise.


Anika Mistry, Guest contributor

About Anika Mistry

Recently completed a Masters in Global Marketing and before that an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, both at the University of York. Loves doing anything creative including cooking and painting. Currently job hunting for a career in Marketing.