Often these chats revolve around current affairs or local issues. At times, the discussion may devolve into pure gossip. Sometimes you are able to find out about an upcoming event or something you didn't know. If you are like other people, you keep track of these tidbits to share with friends or family later in the day.
But, if you are out of work and sitting in front of a computer all day and chasing employers down on the phone, you may feel you don't have much of interest to discuss after a while. There is only so many ways to say, "I sent x number of resumes and had a hard time following up on last week's applications." It is hard to make it sound interesting, even on a good day!
Making time during the day to learn something new will not only give you something interesting to discuss at the dinner table or at a networking meeting. It will keep you sharp and provide a sense of mastery. In a job search it is hard to see progress until you get an interview or a job offer (unless you use an online tracking system).
Some ideas of things you can do to learn something new and feel like you have something to share with others, at home or in pre-interview small talk, include:
Foreign Language - http://www.LiveMocha.com
Typing - http://www.nimblefingers.com/0_min.htm OR http://www.powertyping.com
Computers - http://www.gcflearnfree.org/ComputerBasics
Microsoft Office Software - http://www.gcflearnfree.org/office OR http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/training-FX101782702.aspx
Current Affairs - http://www.usatoday.com/ or your local newspaper
Check with your local library or community center or try: http://www.discoverahobby.com/learncalligraphy.htm for a variety of hobbies that can keep your brain working, including:
Not convinced? Here is an article on more benefits of life-long learning. Enjoy!
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