When you’re looking for work, it’s easy to spend your days trawling job sites and filling out applications, and you neglect to nurture your own skillset.

Hunting for jobs can really sap your creativity. Don’t get sucked into the black hole and follow these four tips for honing your creative skills while you’re looking for work.

For more candidate advice around CV or how to interview, visit our candidate advice blog.

What to do when looking for a new job

Give yourself new challenges

Strong creative skills are a hard-won thing. You won’t become more innovative if you take the easy route. We only really develop our creative skills when we are challenged, particularly when we try things for the first time.

Challenge yourself to do something new. It might be a single task, such as designing a product or creating a new font. Or it might be an extended project, such as building a website or launching an ecommerce store.

Not only do these things show initiative and hands-on skills to prospective employers looking at your CV, but they force you to improve yourself by facing new challenges. You’ll be pushed to come up with new ideas, alternative strategies, and original ways to solve problems.

Yes, it’ll be hard at first, and yes, you’ll struggle. But persevere and your creative skills will be sharper as a result.

Do something creative every day

Creativity is a muscle, and like any muscle, if you neglect it, it will waste away. It needs to be exercised regularly to get the most out of it.

Get into the habit of doing something creative every day. It doesn’t need to be particularly demanding: painting, drawing, free writing, playing an instrument, or anything else you find fun. If it’s a creative discipline you feel comfortable with, then it works.

You don’t even need to spend hours on it either — 5-10 minutes every morning will suffice. The first few times you do it, it’ll be a struggle. But keep at it, and you’ll soon find your creative juices flowing freely.

Learn or improve your skills with an online course

Finding some extracurricular inspiration is ideal for honing creativity while you’re looking for your next role.

There are lots of affordable online courses available that help guide your creative flow. And because your work is usually assessed by a qualified professional, you receive independent criticism that ups your vital skills.

Take writing for instance. Writing is a skill that’s vital in every job, whether you’re a content creator or you just have to write a lot of emails. And the online creative writing courses at Jericho are perfect for honing your written skills and enhancing your communication skills (both written and verbal).

Similarly, getting a good grasp of design will stand you in good stead for an ecommerce role. Creative Live has some great range of courses covering everything from Adobe InDesign to acrylic paints.

Online courses are great for sharpening your creativity in a professional setting. Your work is often marked by a qualified professional, and you can enjoy the benefit of an erudite second pair of eyes cast over your work.

Read content you don’t usually go for

We typically have a favourite type of content we go for. Maybe it’s a New York Times long read, or a HubSpot listicle. Whatever your preference, we all have our go-to place when we need our content fix.

But we rarely go out of our comfort zone. Once we find a publisher we like, we stick to it dogmatically. And while these publishers still deliver value and inspire us, they don’t tend to hone our creativity.

Start reading content that you wouldn’t usually consume. Go for niche industry blogs that you’ve never explored, or read advanced content that you’d otherwise find too dense. You could even attend a talk about something completely alien to you (and ask a question or two at the end).

This will be tough going at first, but stick with it. Forcing yourself to engage with a foreign subject makes your brain work harder, enhancing your creative skills as a result.

Searching for a job is a full-time job. But don’t let the hunt for your next role take its toll on your vital creative skills. Follow the tips above and transform yourself into someone’s future employee today.

Hone Your Creative Skills