Let me just jump right in here and get the point… (because I know I’ve probably addressed these topics already, but I’ll mention them again for the cheap seats in the back)
- Freelancing. It’s hard, it’s an unpredictable terrain and you’re constantly having to shake the trees for clients. But this offers many things for a applicant to an employer. Particularly, that annoying and invasive question, “what do you in your spare time/ time off? (Yes, I think it’s an invasive question that doesn’t belong in the interview process. What you do on your time is just that — YOUR TIME –– and no one else’s business, especially not your employer’s.) And since interviewers have made this a favorite question to ask, freelancing answers it. You freelance. You put into application other skills you have that you’re not able to use at your current job. Whether you want to earn some extra money on the side or need an outlet. Or both. Either way, you’re maximizing your skills and building connections outside the workplace. Hmmm, sounds like you’re versatile to me. And know how to manage your time, too. Gosh, what employer would want that from a job candidate?
- Community Classes. Maybe you’re not the ballsy type to lunge face first into a self employment, like freelancing (although you should really consider the option as it can open so many doors — and yes, women are ballsy too). That doesn’t mean you still can’t build skills outside your job description. In fact, you should. Taking classes that other your additional training and skill sets make you a sought after candidate rather than a candidate seeking out. You shouldn’t just want job offers. You should salary negotiations, dammit!
- Professional Events. I’ve enjoyed adding this to people’s resumes lately. I really have. People seem to forget that there’s value in those day long training and seminars they’ve attended. And not all of those have to be for your current work. They can be for anything you’re interested in. I can’t begin to tell you how many marketing workshops I’ve gone to and continue to look for. I love it. And there are so many hidden opportunities that come from it, it’s amazing. But more importantly, it shows employers you’re willing to invest in yourself. And does that translate? Adaptable. Willing to learn.
None of the above is as hard as anyone thinks. The biggest invest is time. Making the time to do take the classes, find the workshops or sit down and map out how to start your side project. Not only will it make you a better job candidate, it’ll make you better.