I would add that keeping your debt low or non-existent would be a major help during the out of work season. Consider upgrading a hobby to a side business. I did add teaching to my basic skills and it is a great help with bills. I am not sure I would want to give up on engineering but can see that teaching is a lot of fun.
Good advice for even non-engineers. However, keeping skills current is just a small part of finding a job in today's job market. Many brand new graduates (can't get skills any more current than that) are unable to find work...
As an engineer, you need to always be updating your skills. I have met several people who have gotten jobs because they were using a company's technology and tech support and wound up being offered first a consulting gig and then a full time position. Not the norm, but it does happen and so much of the basic tools (SW etc.) are free for the download. Getting a teaching gig at a local JC or vocational school is also a great thing to do both while you are working, and if you get laid off.
I was let go at the beginning of 2009. Not a good time to be looking, and it hasn't gotten any better. I spent two years trying to start my own business as an insurance agent. It is very difficult to convince even your friends and family to just get a quote. The ones that I could save money would usually switch, but it takes a lot of clients to make a living. At the end of 2010, I did not meet their quota and they sent me on my way. Fortunately, I was able to find an engineering job through my network at the beginning of this year. It's great to be back to engineering. My heart goes out to all of the unemployed out there. I will be praying for you and buying US made products when I can.
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used in Orion Spacecraft, part of NASA's Mars mission. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.
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