Quick Tip

Unemployment Quick Tip: Launch a Hobby Career


When we are unemployed, we have a lot of time to look for work. But, that doesn’t mean you should spend 40+ hours/week on job boards, at networking events, etc.

In fact, I tell my CareerHMO members to limit job search to two-hour blocks at a time. You just can’t look for work 8 hours/day. You need to take a break and come back to it.

A good job search is about working smarter, not harder. With my approach, you’ll have some extra time you can invest in launching a hobby career.

Hobby Career = Working Education for the Future

We are all businesses-of-one. Each of us has to market our services to a client (a.k.a. employer) to earn a living. But, that isn’t the only way to make money. With the economy in flux, and the rate of change in corporate America increasing, a smart move is to start up a hobby career you can do part time.

The goal isn’t to make a ton of money (at least, not in the beginning). Instead, the goal is to give yourself a way to learn a new skill and build up a small income stream that gives you a sense of independence.

Here’s what to do:

  • Identify a hobby you want to become more of an expert in.
  • Look for ways you can gain skills that would let you monetize the hobby.
  • Read up on small business and take steps to launch your hobby career.
  • Share with friends, family, colleagues that you are doing this as a way to expand your skill sets in something you love.

Not only will it show how you are keeping yourself engaged while looking for a full-time job, it will also give you something to distract yourself from the job search so you don’t obsess over it too much and drain yourself.

And, if you stick with it, you could find it giving you a small income that you can use to your advantage.

Bonus: Hobby Career Can Make You a Better Job Seeker

Business ownership comes in all shapes and sizes. Knowing how to run a business, even a little one, can teach you a lot about job search and what employers are looking for as well.

It gives you some added perspective that can help you in your hunt for work.

Get a hobby career going and see how it shapes you professionally. It can only help you – and since it’s based on something you enjoy, you’ll have fun doing it!

Your Next Step – FREE Webinar

Are you one of the millions of Americans who has surpassed the nine-month national average for job search? Then it’s time to throw out the old and bring in the new.

It’s time to get back to work!

Join me for a breakdown of what’s not working in your job search.

In this powerful session, I explain:

  • Why you need to stop looking for a job in order to find work.
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  • Where the real jobs are and how you can find them.

Fact: Nobody is ever taught in school how to job search.

As a result, the average American is ill-prepared to conduct a productive job search when the time comes. And, if you were laid-off or fired from your last job, you are starting from a place where you lack confidence in your ability to sell employers on your value.

It’s time to break the cycle of ineffective job search tactics and get some innovative, fresh perspective on how you can get back to work.

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Image Credit: Shutterstock

J.T. O'Donnell

Job Search & Career Expert. Syndicated Speaker & Author. Wife. Mother. CEO of CAREEREALISM Media. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.


  1. Great questions!

    Your hobby career should be in the “Additional Experience” section of your resume. Work history should be left for relevant experience only.

    As far as examples of hobby careers – step back and ask yourself, “What are all the products and services associated with my hobby?” That will clue you in on ways to moenetize yourself. For example, when I fell in love going to the gym, I realized i could get my membership paid for, and a little pin money to boot if I became a group fitness instructor. That’s what I did! It’s a part-time hobby career that I really enjoy!

  2. Hi J.T.,

    Great topic and a timely one for me. I’ve done this but am of two minds of whether or not to include my small business on my resume. On the one hand, it may show potential employers that I have remained engaged and busy during my job search the past 10 months but on the other hand, I’m a bit concerned that some employers may view it as my potential lack of dedication should they consider my other qualifications suitable for an open position. What are your thoughts on including/not on a professional resume and what’s the best way to frame this discussion in an interview? I’d appreciate your point of view!

    • I have the same concern with mine as my hobby career is irrelevant to my real career. I don’t know if I should mention it on my résumé.

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