Using Outside Projects to Enhance Your Career

Do you ever wonder how you can increase your skill-set or knowledge base at work? Do you ever wonder how you can get extra experience so you can move to another level in your career path? Ever feel frustrated that you’re not getting recognized for the work you currently do?

One of the best ways to get positive answers to these questions is to find an outside work-related project which relates to what you are currently doing and/or involves skills that complement and grow your current skills. If you took on an outside project, such as through volunteering or freelancing, you would enhance your skills and get needed experience.

For example, you might work in a call center but wish to move into the training field, you’ve been told you don’t have enough experience.You’ve helped others acclimate to their job or job tasks – essentially training – and would like to do this full-time but you don’t see anyway to move into a training position.

If you got involved and sought out opportunities, it would give you the needed skills as well as experience. It is an enhancement to what you are currently doing and will give you not just experience but confidence and mastery of the skills you want to move into. Another example is leadership, which a lot of workers aspire to; if you can look at the big picture that organizations don’t just need leaders, they need great leaders which does not come easily to the mass majority. Determining a leader style and finding ways to hone those skills will get you noticed to move into a leader position.

Taking the initiative and focusing on your professional development will reap you great rewards. Some ideas to find outside projects include:

  • Professional Organizations – these offer many opportunities to get involved by volunteering for committees or taking on leadership roles on the Board. Some positions to consider: Officer level, steering committees, membership/welcoming committees (for new members), special interest groups, education committee.
  • Community Organizations – these include: Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, Girls/Boy Clubs, Girl/Boy Scouts, American Cancer Society, etc. These are great ways to serve your community, network, and gain valuable experience – and network connections – that can make a difference and be an enhancement to your career
  • Freelancing – there are numerous cites to find freelance work, which basically means you work on a project for a fee. You could do work for a friend, a nonprofit or small business, or sites such as freelance.com, elance.com, guru.com
  • Family/friends – offer to help out someone you know with something they’ve wanted to take on; teach them how to set up a social media site, or write a blog article for them.

These are just a few ideas to help you get started thinking of how you can leverage your skills and talents and that will enhance your the work you do. Having an end-goal in mind, i.e. the benefit you will get, will keep you focused and motivated and translate into the work you do.

 

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