Everyone is talking about personal branding these days. It’s not enough to have good references and a solid cover letter; you need to be prepared to pitch and market yourself to future employers as if you were your own private company.
Being active in social media, building your own web site, and attending networking events are all great ways to enhance your personal brand and marketability. But there’s one weapon many people leave out of their branding arsenal: volunteering! Believe it or not, volunteering can be more than a way to give back; it can help you increase your marketability no matter where you are in your career. Here’s how:
If You Just Graduated
If you’re having trouble starting your career and building your personal brand, volunteering is a great option for you. First and foremost, it will get you the experience you need to add to your resume. Second, it can be a great chance to add to your professional skill set, which you may not have had a chance to develop while you were in school. Finally, volunteering is a great way to build a network, which you’ll need when it comes to gathering references and discovering job openings.
If You’ve Been Out of Work for Awhile
By picking up a volunteer position, you’ll be able to transition back into the workforce and start filling any gaps you have on your resume. In addition, you’ll have a chance to see how the world has changed, and to learn new technologies and programs that may have been introduced since you were last employed. Volunteering can also be a great way to get in touch with old contacts and colleagues again.
If You Want to Enter a New Industry
This can be difficult, especially if you have to develop a whole new skill set. Volunteering either part-time or full-time in this new field can help you build the knowledge and expertise you’ll need to make a career change. You’ll get a chance to learn more about the programs, processes, and tools used in the industry, and you’ll get a chance to see if it’s really the right fit for you.
Has volunteering helped you find a new job? Tell us about it and leave a comment below.
About the Author
Noël Rozny writes and edits the career and education blog, myPathfinder for myFootpath, a career and education resource for students of all ages. She also maintains the company’s social media outlets, and is passionate about using these technologies to help students and job seekers alike find the degree program or career that’s right for them. You can find her on Twitter at @myfootpath or @noelrozny.
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