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Build Your Personal Brand by Working for Free

Build Your Personal Brand by Working for Free

Build Your Personal Brand

    After reading that headline, you may think I’m insane or tell yourself that working for free is out of the question. 

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      There have been millions of layoffs since the end of 2007 up until now and for college graduates, the competition might make you comatose.  The NACE reports that 41% of students haven’t even started the job search and 27% of graduates are going to graduate school because of the bad economy.  Of course, going to graduate school is going to put you in more debt and you’re betting on the economy coming back in two years.  If you’re trying to get a job right now, you’ll notice that many employers are cutting down salaries of current employees and offers to new hires.  Although, your education is a factor in you getting a job, what’s more important is your work experience.  Just like content is king on the internet, your experience is king when it comes to getting a job. Today, I’m going to explain why you might need to work for free for at least part of your time each week.

      When interviewing, experience trumps income

        Have you ever noticed how resumes don’t have salaries next to each job you’ve had?  You’ll ies ever find a resume that lists salaries or internship compensation.  Salaries are negotiated if there’s a job offer that doesn’t meet the applicants standards.  Corporate salaries are based on job title and you can salaries at various companies by doing to Glassdoor.com.  Since, salaries aren’t listed on resumes, your experience becomes the most important element in getting a job, aside from how you present yourself online and in an interview.  I took two non-paid internships while in college to gain more experience, thus building my personal brand to become a stronger applicant.

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        When I applied for jobs, the experience I gained at those companies really made a difference and it was well worth the compensation sacrifice.  Since it’s hard to get a job right now, start focusing on building your credentials, enhancing your resume and acquiring skills that can help you in future job searches.  It will pay off and you’ll forget that you had to sacrifice compensation.

        Work for free so you remain active

          The worst thing you can do right now is sulk on your couch, with some potato chips, and a coke.  Well, there could be worse, but the point is that you need to stay active at all times.  Recruiters don’t want to talk to people that have been out of the job market for a while, without remaining relevant to their industry or at least trying to acquire some experience. You never want to get into a situation, where you’re in an interview and you’re asked “so what have you been doing recently, I noticed that your last job ended six months ago,” and then not have a good answer.

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          Find people in your network that can help you stay active, by working for them for free if they can’t pay you.  Also, you can do community service or start your own company to at least make it seem like you haven’t given up and that you are aggressive and actually care about your career.

          Work for free while having a side job

            If you work for free to gain experience, you’ll still need a side job to make money.  Work for a company for free part-time to gain experience and also work for another company to get paid.  If you want to get money, and things are getting tough, then it’s not a bad decision to do retail or work at a restaurant to pay the bills.

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            If you do that, and you invest time in building your personal brand online, gaining experience by working for free part-time and job searching constantly, you should be in a good position to get a job when it becomes available.  A lot of college students are making these hard decisions right now because they realize that they don’t have a choice.  If you want to stay ontop during tough times, you’ll have to make tough decisions, but you’ll want to make them before everyone else does for yo.

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            Dan Schawbel

            Dan Schawbel is the leading personal branding expert for young professionals.

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            Last Updated on August 10, 2020

            10 Things You Should Do If You’re Unemployed

            10 Things You Should Do If You’re Unemployed

            Regardless of your background, times today are tough. While uneven economies around the world have made it incredibly difficult for many people to find work, the recent COVID pandemic has made things worse.

            Regardless of age and qualification, stretches of unemployment have affected us all in recent years. While we might not be able to control being unemployed, we can control how we react to it.

            Despite difficult conditions, there are many ways to grow and stay hopeful. Whether you’re looking for work, or just taking a breather between assignments, these 10 endeavors will keep you busy and productive. Plus, some may even help push your resume to the top of the next pile.

            Here’re 10 things you should do when you’re unemployed:

            1. Keep a Schedule

            It’s fine to take a few days after you’re finished at work to relax, but try not to get too comfortable.

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            As welcoming as permanently moving into your sweatpants may seem, keeping a schedule is one way to stay productive and focused. While unemployed, if you continue to start your day early, you are more likely to get more done. Also, keeping up with day to day tasks makes you less likely to grow depressed or inactive.

            2. Join a Temp Agency

            One of the easiest ways to bridge the gap between jobs is to find temporary work, or work with a temp agency. While many unemployed people job hunt religiously, rememberer to include temp agencies in the search.

            While not a permanent solution, you will be in a better position financially while you search for something permanent.

            3. Work Online

            Another great option if you’re unemployed is online work. Many different sites offer a variety of ways to make money online, but make sure the site you’re working for is reputable.

            Micro job sites such as Fiverr and Upwork as well as sites that pay for you to take surveys, are all quick, legitimate options. While these sites sometimes offer lower pay, it’s always better to move forward slowly than not at all.

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            Here’s How to Find and Land a Legit Online Work from Home Job.

            4. Get Organized

            Unemployment is an excellent opportunity to get organized. Embark on some spring cleaning, go through old boxes, and get rid of the things you don’t need. Streamlining your life will help you dive head first into the next chapter, plus it helps you feel like your unemployed time is spent productively.

            Try these tips: How to Organize Your Life: 10 Habits of Really Organized People

            5. Exercise

            Much like organizing your life, another good way to keep yourself enthusiastic and healthy is to exercise. It doesn’t take much to get slightly more active, and exercise can help you stay positive. Even a walk around the block a few times a week can do a lot for keeping you motivated and determined. If you take care of yourself, you can make the most of this extra time.

            6. Volunteer

            Volunteering is an excellent way to use extra time when you’re unemployed. Additionally, if you volunteer in an area related to your job qualifications, you can often include the experience on your resume.

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            Not only that, doing good is a true mood booster and is sure to help you stay optimistic while looking for your next job.

            7. Improve Your Skills

            Looking for ways to increase your job skills while unemployed is a good way to move forward as well. Look for certifications or training you could take, especially those offered for free.

            You can qualify more for even entry level positions with extra training in your line of work, and many cities or states offer job skills training. Refreshing your resume, and interview and job skills may make your job hunt easier.

            8. Treat Yourself

            Unemployment can be trying and tiring, so don’t forget to treat yourself occasionally. Take a reasonable amount of time off from your weekly job hunt to recharge and rest up. Letting yourself rest will maximize your productivity during the hours you job search.

            Even if you don’t have extra money for entertainment, a walk or visit to the park can do wonders to help you go back and attack your job hunt.

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            9. See What You Can Sell

            Another good way to bridge the gap between jobs is to sell unused possessions. eBay and Amazon are both secure sites, but traditional garage sales are a fine option too. Sell off a few video games, or some electronics, for some quick and easy cash while you figure out a permanent solution.

            10. Take a Course

            Much like training and certifications, taking a class can be a good way to keep yourself sharp while unemployed. Especially when you’re between jobs, it can be easy to forget this option, as most courses cost money. Don’t forget the mass of free educational tools online: 25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

            Keeping your brain sharp can help you stay focused and may even help you learn some new, relevant job skills.

            The Bottom Line

            While unemployment numbers are still high, there are many things you can do to better yourself and move forward. While new skills to aid your job hung might seem out of reach, there are plenty of free ways to get ahead, online and off.

            Additionally, don’t forget that taking time for yourself can do wonders for keeping you productive in your job hunt. While it is a challenge, don’t give up–being unemployed can offer you extra time to better yourself, and possibly grow more qualified to find work.

            Job Hunting Tips

            Featured photo credit: neONBRAND via unsplash.com

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