In all my research and experience, one of the most consistent pieces of advice I’ve received and given is to show that you are active in the field you want to pursue. Whether your career shift is in a different direction in the same field or whether you are looking to break into something completely new, showing you are a mover and shaker in your field is a great way to get people interested in what you have to offer. And, if you’ve already taken that first step towards a new career and left your previous job, this is a great way to maintain your activity to show that not currently having a job has not slowed you down at all. In today’s digital age, there are countless ways to stay active in your field and show prospective clients and employers that you are at the forefront of what you do.
Join a Professional Organization
Every field has its own professional organization and many have two or twelve. Find an organization in your field that interests you and join it. Or better yet, get involved! Offer to volunteer to help plan events or guest write for their blog or newsletter. And, of course, don’t forget to follow them on social networks. Those connections will give your activity with them visibility. This is especially powerful on LinkedIn where your activity can be seen by potential employers.
Volunteer or Get a Side Gig
The best way to show you are active in the field is to be active in the field. Many organizations out there would be thrilled to have a skilled volunteer to help them with areas they are not as strong. Some may even be able to pay an internship stipend or offer as needed part-time work. This is a great way to get connected to others in the field, get your foot in the door of organizations you may be interested in, and get some experience to add to your resume and talk about in your interviews. And volunteer to write articles for their blog or newsletter. This can help them develop content and you to get your name out there. And what great portfolio items? It may not bring home the bacon, but it could lead to opening doors down the line.
If You Can’t Find It, Create Your Own
And if you already have a side gig and have joined a professional organization, starting your own blog, meetup, or LinkedIn group can be well worth the effort. First, if you start some sort of professional group, you can call yourself the founder. It shows you can take initiative and have an interest in your field. And if you have your own blog, that is a way to show that you are not sitting still. You are keeping your skills and knowledge fresh by thinking about your field, researching current best practices, and forming opinions about it all.
This is a great start to help you stay active and engaged in your industry, but there are countless ways you can stay active, even during a career transition. What have you done to stay active and not lose your stride?