• Lifestyle

Have a Career You Care About

Like it or not, we devote a huge chunk of our time to work. And unless we all win the lottery, there’s no end in sight when it comes to earning a living.

But when you’re passionate about what you do, it’s much easier to get it done. Finding a gig that fulfills you is the mission behind ReWork, a new kind of job market that was recently featured on Fast Company. First, you submit your work history and career interests to their database. When an employer from your field of interest is looking to fill a job, ReWork will connect the two of you, hopefully resulting in employment bliss.

While I love this idea, I spy a potential roadblock. What about the person who is ready to change careers, but lacks any relevant experience? I’d like to believe that employers will hire based more on passion than credentials, but something tells me that sort of dreamy boss is not quite a dime a dozen.

Here are some suggestions on how to crack into your career of choice:

  • **Volunteer. **If you don’t have industry connections, this is an easy way to make them. When I wanted to switch from teaching to nonprofit work, I went to the Get Involved section of every nonprofit organization I liked and signed up to be a volunteer. Not only did this give me experiences to list on my resume, it enabled me to meet and work with staff members. Plus, I’m now an envelope-stuffing pro.
  • **Freelance. **At Freelancers Union, we’re always talking about how freelancing is not only the future of the working world, but also the key to workers gaining the lives they desire. Many of my friends have either done freelance work to land full-time gigs, or done freelance work on the side to escape their 9-5 jobs. If you need to get your freelance feet wet, pitch to small companies and start-ups, and ask your network if they know anyone looking for freelancers.
  • **Join a professional association. **Networking events, professional development classes, job boards – why wouldn’t you join one of these groups? Here’s what you do: Go to Google and type in Association of [fill in the blank]. Graphic designers, publishers, social workers, fundraisers – there’s an association for every profession. Some collect membership fees, some require proof of career experience, but all of them have websites with helpful information that are worth checking out.
  • **Earn a certificate. **Cheaper (and shorter!) than a master’s degree, certificate programs are the new trend in career advancement. Offered at most universities or online, getting a certificate is a great way to gain knowledge and a fancy piece of paper. Classes are generally taught by people in the business, so being a good student might impress both a teacher and a potential colleague.
  • **Utilize **This website is a gigantic network of groups that meet regularly to do, learn, and discuss all sorts of things. It’s free! You can search for groups by topic or go straight to the Career & Business page.

Image via flickr.