By Margaret Steen, for Yahoo! HotJobs
If you have been laid off, your new occupation is looking for work.
"It is a full-time job, probably the hardest one you'll every have," says Leslie G. Griffen, an HR consultant, career coach and principal of The Griffen Group.
But once you have browsed the job ads and sent emails to your former colleagues, what do you do with the remaining seven hours of the day? The answer "is going to really change depending on the person and their style," says Marianne Adoradio, a Silicon Valley recruiter and career counselor.
Experts offer these tips for filling your days -- and accelerating your job search:
Read Industry Magazines
You'll keep up on new developments in your field, and many contain job listings as well.
Create a List of Companies Where You'd Like to Work
Use your connections to make contact with people who work at them. You don't need to ask them directly for a job; just call them to "talk about what it's like to work there," Griffen says.
Consider whether a hobby could lead to a new career, for example, or whether you should learn a new skill.
Contact Recruiters and Temporary Agencies
Recruiters work for employers, not for job hunters. Still, it's good for them to know your skills in case you're a good match for a job they're filling.
Keep in Touch with Friends, Acquaintances and Colleagues
And don't stop after your initial contact.
"Jobs are obtained by staying in touch with people who will hear of opportunities over a six-month period of time," says Bill Gregory, a career counselor at Bastyr University in Seattle, who runs Healthy Careering workshops.
On the other hand, you don't want to become a pest. Remember one of the keys to effective networking: Don't make contact only to ask for help. Try to include something useful -- a link to an interesting article, perhaps, or an offer to help the reader in the future -- when you follow up.
Polish Your Online Presence
Are you on LinkedIn? Facebook? Electronic networking can be helpful -- though be careful about putting party photos on a site you're using for job hunting.
Join a Group -- or Several
Many job hunters find meeting with other unemployed workers helpful for emotional and practical support. Attending professional association meetings can be even more beneficial, since you'll meet people who are working in your field.
"I'm big on going to group events where not everybody is unemployed," Adoradio said.
Take a Class
You'll meet new people and learn new skills that you can talk about in your job interviews.
Even if it's not job-related, a volunteer gig can help keep your spirits up and lead to new connections. From a job-search perspective, though, it's even better if you can connect your volunteer work to your profession. Perhaps a nonprofit could use your technical skills. If you know friends who have their own businesses, Adoradio suggests offering to help them with work in your field.
Break Out of Your Routine
Go to movies, art galleries or concerts. Explore the outdoors. Doing something new can help you get inspired and perhaps even think about new job possibilities.