Finding the perfect job in the right industry can take some time, no matter how good you are at what you do. Many people have to take temporary jobs in different industries to pay the bills while they search for something that better suits their expertise.

That doesn’t mean that you should stop learning or growing in your field. The best way to find the career you are looking for is to have up-to-date skills and experience. Here are some of the ways that you can keep your resume fresh and full of relevant information while searching for the perfect position.

Volunteering in Your Industry

Volunteering is a great way to boost your experience while also giving you an opportunity to do something good, and volunteers are always in need. You don’t have to find a large or well-known organization to offer your skills to, you can offer your skills to individuals or small local businesses and startups.

By volunteering, you not only gain a valuable resource for your resume, you also get a chance to make connections, receive referrals, and potentially be offered a position down the road.

Some things to keep in mind when volunteering are:

  • Have a clear understanding of your responsibilities and the timeline.
  • Know how much time you have to give, and don’t give more than you are comfortable with.
  • Provide quality work, and ensure that you can use it in a portfolio.
  • Make sure to ask for a reference to use when applying for jobs.

Freelancing for Clients on the Side

Drumming up some work on the side can be very beneficial to you while you are working in a position that doesn’t match your skills or education. It offers many of the same benefits as volunteering, but it actually provides you with some extra income.

There are various ways to get started, both online and offline. You may have to invest a small amount of money to get a website, business cards, and perhaps some equipment or programs, but try to start small and get what you need when it becomes a necessity as opposed to spending too much at once.

If you decide to freelance, make sure that you:

  • Have a clearly defined contract.
  • Do work relevant to your field that can be used on your resume.
  • Don’t overload yourself.
  • Don’t have anything in your current employment contract that may cause issues, such as a confidentiality or exclusivity clause.

Taking Relevant Courses and Programs

Another way to make sure that your skills stay relevant and that your resume continues to be appealing to potential employers is to consider taking more courses or programs within your chosen field. That may mean taking evening or online classes, or something as simple as getting certification in a computer program or application.

Look into what qualifications employers in your field are asking for, and see if you meet all of the requirements. If not, that’s a great place to figure out where you could use some upgrades. If you notice that many of the listings request basic design skills, start learning a design program in your spare time. If you see that many postings prefer applicants who have some business education, think about taking a course to increase your marketability.

Applying for Internships

Internships aren’t just for people fresh out of school. Many allow anyone to apply, regardless of what their experience in the industry is. It’s good to put in some time at an actual business, even if it’s only for a couple of months. Some internships even allow you to do the work online, which means that you can still maintain your regular job.

There are many different types of internships out there, so keep an eye out for ones that may make sense for your development. Employers love to see relevant internship experience on resumes because it means that you have spent time in and contributed to an actual work environment. It might even land you a job offer once you’re done.

Networking with Industry Leaders

One of the biggest factors in landing a job can be who you know. But if you aren’t familiar with the local industry, it can be difficult to find an “in”. Networking events and meetups can offer you a lot of opportunities to meet new people and to get your foot in the door.

Depending on your industry, there may be monthly or weekly meetups for professionals in your field that are actually arranged by some of the industry leaders. This can be an excellent place to hand out business cards, promote your skills, and get the word out on what you are looking for.

While it might take you some time to actually build some relationships, it’ll be worth it in the end.

Staying Up-to-Date

It’s important to keep up on changes to industry standards, but you should also try to follow any and all news in relation to your area of expertise. Being aware of what is happening in your field can give you a leg up on the competition, because it shows that you are passionate about and interested in what you do.

Try to be aware of new programs, updates, tools, and news so that your skills continue to be relevant while you are looking for work. It might not seem like much happens in your industry, but small changes can become more important over time, and if you don’t have the knowledge you need to fill the position that you want, another applicant will.

Getting the Job You Want

You might not have your dream job right now, but that doesn’t mean that you never will. It’s not as common as you’d think to land the perfect job right out of school. But by honing your skills and building a strong and persuasive resume, you can be sure to be ready for the ideal job opportunity when it comes along. Remember to be patient, and that any experience you gain during your job search adds to your value in the long term.

What do you do to keep your skills up-to-date? Do you have your dream job?

Posted by Brittany Foster

Brittany is a writer, editor, and content manager interested in law, marketing, and technology. She's been writing for LawDepot since 2014.