July 26th, 2016

Tips for the Underemployed Professional

An underemployed professional is someone who is employed at a job that doesn’t require or fully utilize a person’s education, experience, skills or training. Unsurprisingly, it can cause negativity, boredom, frustration, tiredness and a lack of engagement in the workplace.

In this situation, you have two choices: Make the most of it, or find a new job.

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Making the Most of It

Let’s say you love your employer and quitting is the last thing on your mind. However, you’re underemployed and have been in the same professional position for way too long. So, what do you do if there isn’t a position to be promoted to above you? What if your boss isn’t giving you the time of day? Here are four things you should do.

Take Your Job Seriously

The most important thing you can do is take your current job seriously. Appreciate the fact that you’re already employed, and make the most of the experience. Show up to your job engaged and enthusiastic every day. Even if you aren’t 100% happy, know that you’re still contributing to the company’s success. If you do the opposite, and begin to sulk, it can be a slippery slope to unemployment.

Make Connections

Continue to build meaningful and lasting connections in the workplace. Expand your LinkedIn profile by connecting with coworkers. Without going overboard, ask some of them to endorse you in certain skills or write you a recommendation. Find a mentor who can give you job tips and advice. Making connections and interacting with others in the workplace will help you learn and make your days more enjoyable.

Learn New Skills

Boost your resume by learning new skills. Build upon the skills and abilities you already have, but branch out to learn new ones via conferences, trainings and cross-departmental work. Gaining new skills won’t only benefit you in your current situation, but in your future as well.

Challenge Yourself

Take initiative in your current position by stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself. Volunteer to work on new and different projects with clear goals for both the company and yourself. You’ll gain a renewed sense of motivation, and perhaps, a new affinity for another job altogether.

Finding a New Job

Sometimes, making the most of a situation will not be enough. As difficult as it may be, the best thing to do is look for a new job. It’s a bold plan and definitely isn’t an easy choice, but sometimes it’s the necessary one. Here are some tips.

Don’t Settle

It can be frustrating when you’re not getting paid what you’re worth. Many times, people settle in these situations, but there are so many options to choose from. Instead of settling, go out and find a job you love—one where your skills will be fully utilized and appreciated.

Aggressively Search

Take action, and start your job search ASAP. Make a list of job positions that you’re interested in, followed by a list of potential companies that appeal to you. And even if you don’t see fitting job openings listed, don’t hesitate to reach out to company leaders to express your interest. You should also contact a recruiter or staffing company to see how they can help.

Utilize Your Connections

Establishing connections and growing your professional network is a huge benefit when searching for a new job. Go to LinkedIn to see who you know, and look at what they do and who they work for. You can even seek advice from those who are currently in your ideal career scenario. The more connections to professionals, the more connections to jobs!

Apply, Apply, Apply

Chase your single dream job in an assertive manner. However, don’t limit your opportunities along the way. Send out your resume and apply to every job that you feel comfortable with. Even if it’s not quite your dream job, a good one at a great company can lead you down a rewarding path.

These days, underemployed workers often have to rely on their bosses for opportunities that will help them advance, but remember that you can take matters into your own hands. Now may be the time to take action and turn a so-so situation into a better one. And you have the tips to do it!

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