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How To Differentiate Yourself and Land Your Dream Job in 2017

The start of a new year is a great time to explore new job opportunities – you’re fresh with enthusiasm with New Year resolutions and you’re ready to make changes to improve your life. The job market is more competitive than ever, and you need to find ways to stand out.

But how?

You graduated at the top of your class and have worked at a well-known brand for a few years, but now you’re ready for a bigger challenge and more responsibility.

The answer is volunteering.To differentiate yourself from the massive force of A+ talent available, you need to clock volunteer hours.

Most people volunteer in high school to give themselves an edge when applying to colleges, but very few adults give their time away.

That’s where you’re different. You put your time where your mouth is and make selfless efforts to help others.

82% of employees say they want to volunteer their time, but how many actually follow through on it? Only about 25%.You can see here how volunteering can set you apart.When you’re going for C-level positions, you want to be in that 25% of people who follow through with volunteering.

You’re probably wondering exactly why you should volunteer your time when you could be clocking hours doing freelance work, or simply spending time with your family.

Here are the top four reasons:

  • Make new connections.The people you meet volunteering are almost always wholesome and extremely successful.Volunteering for an association in your industry is really valuable, because you might meet someone who can help you advance your career, whether directly or indirectly.They may have a position open at their own company, or know someone else who does. And even if you’re not actively looking for a job, it’s absolutely essential to always have a backup or future position in the works.You never know when you could be let go, or just be ready for a new role.Volunteering will take you straight to the top, since senior level executives are the people who choose which events to donate their time and resources to.

  • Get ahead of the curve.Today is all about differentiating yourself from the masses, and volunteering is a great way to stay on top of industry trends and see what people are talking about outside your organization.If you can volunteer for events that aren’t directly related to what you do, you expand your knowledge and network and may glean unexpected takeaways that can be applied to your industry.Every top-tier company wants big picture thinkers who are always two steps ahead, and volunteering is a great way to expand your lexicon.

  • Develop your personal brand.Volunteering says a lot about who you are by positioning you as a positive force for good in an industry that’s often driven by numbers and ego.If you want to be a sought-after candidate who doesn’t just coast, but rather, excels and truly becomes a master executive, you need to be a little selfless and give some of your precious time away.

  • Improve your health.Last but not least, volunteering gives you a rush of endorphins and other feel good hormones that are crucial for your health and happiness. You can’t just clock in and clock out every day and expect to feel satisfied.You have to do more, and volunteering is the best way to fill that void that so many executives and top-tier employees feel.Studies have found that volunteers have a 20% lower risk of death than non-volunteers. Yeah, that’s an intense statistic, but it certainly says a lot about the impact volunteering has on your health and happiness.

  • Even if you only make time for one hour per week, it’s clear that volunteering is 100% worth it.Do you currently volunteer? Has this article inspired you to start? Leave a comment below and share with us – we can’t wait to hear from you.