When your career is just getting started, it can often feel like you’re being held back for no good reason.
Maybe you’ve got a college degree, you’ve got the qualifications and maybe some work experience too and yet you’re still going nowhere. Every promising interview that you feel like you’ve nailed ends up being just another one to add to the list of rejections.
It’s tough and it’s frustrating, but maybe you’re not actually doing everything you can possibly can to impress potential employers. Sometimes it can appear as if you’re just going through the motions of getting qualifications and experience and that you won’t actually be a very productive, invested employee.
If you participate in some local civic action that you can mention on your CV and talk about in interviews, it will be proof that you’re actively working towards a better community. Employers love to see people who have that sort of drive and that sort of initiative. Here’s five civic actions you could take that may benefit your career:
You’ve heard this one before I’m sure. This will be the first thing people suggest to you if you’re struggling to find a job.That mainly because it’s a good way to gain experience because people are naturally more likely to hire you if they don’t have to pay you.
But aside from all of the extra job experience that you’ll get, it’s also an opportunity to learn about how the working world really works.You can interact with others who are offering their services for free and you can learn a lot from these kinds of people.
You’ll find yourself developing skills you haven’t thought of before such as project management and team-building.
Absolutely invaluable skills that will prepare you for the workplace more than any degree ever could. The benefits of volunteering are endless. It shouldn’t be too hard for you to find places to volunteer either. Checking online should usually yield some results.
There’s community programs everywhere that are looking for people to help with all sorts of things, and there’s also charities and you can even volunteer in political campaigns.
Which leads me to my next suggestion.
- Engage With Local Politics
First of all, helping out in the political scene in your area will mean nothing if you don’t actually make your voice heard too. This might seem hard to believe for some people reading this, but there’s a huge portion of young people out there who just aren’t voting. So when it comes to local politics, above all else you have to vote. A good place to start with this though, is trying to make sure that others vote too.
And while you shouldn’t push your personal political beliefs on people, you can share those beliefs in a respectful manner.Political canvassing has a bad rap, but if you do it right you should get through to people. When there are upcoming elections, do some research.
Find out who you think will benefit the community and then volunteer to help out their campaign. You’ll learn an awful lot about how local government can run smoothly.
These are just more skills that employers will look as as valuable.
- Join Local Groups
When you hear local groups, you’re probably thinking of things that are more related to hobbies and fun activities.
And that is actually the exact kind of group that I’m talking about. Local sports teams, hiking groups, drama societies, any of that sort of thing that’s going on in your area. You might be wondering what on earth is civic about this, but I’m really more suggesting that you get involved in the organisation end of such groups.
Join the groups first of course, and then just offer your help in running things too. Chances are they’ll be looking for all the help they can get. By doing this, you’ll establish yourself as someone who wants to make their community a more enjoyable, welcoming environment. It’s a good sign of initiative too. Something like running a local sports team looks great on your CV and let’s people know that you have experience as a team leader.
- Get Published
I don’t mean that you should try to publish a novel or a book of poetry, although that probably would impress a lot of people, but you should try and publish your thoughts and opinions. The age of the internet hasn’t put an end to journals and publishing, in fact it’s actually made it easier for you to get some of your own writing out there.
If you have some insight to the political situation or the social situation your community, you could write a guest post and send to a well-read website in your area discussing it. You don’t even have to be traditionally published, you could find a public Facebook group that relates to your area and post something there.
When you’re applying for a job, the employer is probably going to google you name to see what results that will yield.
If you’ve been published somewhere it will pop up. You could even write about something in your specific field.
Take for example if you are looking for work in the oil and gas industry. That’s an industry that’s changing, and you could publish an article about how it’s changing. Have a look online, there’s academic journals out there for every field and they’re always looking for submissions. An employer will probably be up to date on the discussions surrounding their field and if you get published you may already be on their radar.
It’s a good way to demonstrate your understanding of the industry as well as the fact that you understand how to react to future developments in said industry.
- Attend Local Meetings
No matter how big or how small of a community you live in, there is always groups engaging in discussion about the goings-on of the area. There could be meetings related to politics, local groups community decision-making, there’s any number of reasons why a local group would meet.
You can usually find out about such meetings by just checking online. Like we said earlier, find local websites or public Facebook groups about your community. Attend as many of them as you can so that you become a recognized face in your community and someone that others will look at as a productive member.
It’s an opportunity to network and like other things we’ve discussed, an opportunity to learn about the decision-making process of a community.
Eventually, if you find yourself in an organisation position in these meetings, that will be something that can be added to your CV and discussed in an interview setting.
So don’t lose hope if you find yourself struggling to get your career off the ground. Just look for other areas of opportunity.
Civic engagement always looks good to your employer and it will also probably give a sense of fulfillment for those that feel like they’re moving slowly.