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Stretch Your Skills Further

March 18, 2009

reachingIn a tough job market, job seekers need to get creative by diversifying their skills to stand out from the rest of the job seeking pool.  Making the most of a tough situation means stretching further than you thought you could.  Success takes being more willing than the next job seeker to take a risk by uncovering opportunities to develop a stronger set of skills. 


Most professionals have the opportunity to learn more and develop new skills in existing jobs.  But what happens when you are stuck between jobs?  At first glance this situation appears to be a dead end for the developing and honing new strengths and talents.  With every obstacle comes an opportunity to push yourself further than you thought you could go.  Consider ways you can reach for more than you currently have all while continuing on the job hunt.  The following is a list of ideas to stretch your skills further all while moving you closer to achieving your employment goals. 


  1.  Give back – Volunteering is a perfect way to gain some much needed experience when the job market is tough.  In this day and age, who doesn’t want some help?  If you are trying to break into a new industry find a non-profit organization that you believe in and get busy.  Get in there and get your hands dirty.  For example, if you want to break into event planning find an organization that needs help coordinating its next big fundraiser.  If you want to work in management, find a non-profit needing leadership for their volunteer force.  This is an opportunity to get creative by finding a place where your skills and interests meet the needs of the organization. 
  2. Take a test drive – Offer your services to a company on a trial basis in the form of an internship.  To secure this type of opportunity, there are a couple of options.  First look for companies that have formal intern or apprentice programs and apply.  Second look for companies lacking an internship program and contact them to inquire about the possibility of you interning anyway.  Along with being a great way to test drive a new career opportunity you can develop some great skills along your internship path.  Interning is an excellent opportunity to network with professionals in your chosen field.  If you play your cards right you could walk away with an expanded skill set, a strong network of contacts, stellar professional references, and possibly even a job offer. 
  3. Be a joiner – Enough cannot be said about the importance of joining an industry specific professional organization.  A membership of this nature provides ample opportunity to further develop professional connections.  Additionally, a professional association needs a work force willing to make the organization function so volunteer for a committee or leadership position.  Adding accomplishments of this nature will only improve your resume. 
  4. Get more training – Look for seminars, certificate training, and college courses to make yourself more marketable when job searching.  When searching for the best training options to diversify your skill set, think long term.  Where will these newly acquired skills take you?  Can you build upon what you learn?  Check out the industry projections in the short and long term future.  When a specific career field picks up, be the candidate to have a stellar skill set ready to take on a new role.  Additional training is a perfect way to increase your potential to wow prospective employers.    


Even in the most challenging of job markets, plenty of opportunities are available to take your skill set to the next level.  Don’t be afraid to stretch your abilities a bit further.  With a strategic plan for your professional development, the opportunities will be much brighter.


Best Wishes,



Feel free to email me at and check out Herzing University Online at

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