Ask almost any talent recruiter, and they'll tell you to look for a new job while you're employed.
Doing so not only allows you to maintain a continuous stream of income, but also has larger implications during the hiring process, according to a survey by job site Talentworks. After analyzing a random sample of 6,976 applications across 365 U.S. cities and 101 industries, their study found that people who are not currently employed when applying for jobs are significantly less hireable than their counterparts.
Their advice? Keep working somewhere, especially if you've been laid off or fired. In fact, after being laid off or terminated in some way, it's a good idea to negotiate an exit package that allows you to "run out the clock," if possible, according to the job site.
You can do this by using unused vacation days rather than getting paid out for them. You can also ask if you can stay on as a part-time employee or take a contract role. That way, there isn't a major employment gap on your resume.
If none of those options are available to you, consider taking on freelance work in the meantime. Sign up for sites like Thumbtack or Upwork, which allow users to advertise their skills so that employers can hire you for temporary gigs. Even if you're working in a position that's outside of your field, it's still better than nothing, says Amanda Augustine, a career advice expert for TopResume.
"While job-hunting, [employers would] rather hear you took a gig driving for Lyft … than to hear you weren't doing anything except applying to jobs during your time off," she tells CNBC Make It.
Volunteer work also counts, as well as participation in any events conducted by a professional organization in your field. Whenever possible, she says, you want to show what you've achieved during this time and prove to employers that you've kept a finger on "your industry's pulse to maintain, or even strengthen, your skills," Augustine explains.
You can even find work through family members, notes Talentworks. "Start getting creative." If your second cousin's brother-in-law's best friend is in need of a brand marketing specialist and you have those skills, offer your services.
It's important to note that having an employment gap on your resume is not a professional death sentence. Some employers may even appreciate the fact that you're available to start a new job right away — so make sure to use that to your advantage.
Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated the statistical likeliness of being hired while unemployed.
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