Build Your Platform…Build Your Resume

Everyone knows that a platform should be a cause that is near and dear to heart.  Such that you would be willing to work for free to promote it.  However, a lot of people don’t realize that the work that they do for their platform often entails developing and implementing highly marketable skills.  Skills, that could give you a competitive advantage in the job market and make you all the more attractive to potential employers.  Think of your platform work as a tool in your toolkit.  Each tool does something different, but they each work together for the common goal of helping you build your brand and achieve success on your own merits.  Here are some tips.

1.      Become a skilled volunteer. Seek out volunteer organizations and opportunities that will allow you to build your skill set.  You would be amazed at the number of organizations that need volunteers who are devoted to specific high level tasks such as grant writing, community organizing, fundraising, giving presentations etc., and as such, the organizations are willing to train and mentor you.  This can be especially beneficial because the training that you receive does not occur in a high stakes work environment; hence there is a different level of pressure.  These are highly sought after skills that can enhance anyone’s resume, regardless of their career field. 
2.      Become an expert. What is your platform?  Why is it important?  What are some national facts about your platform?  What are some state specific facts about your platform?   What organizations have aligned themselves with your specific cause?  These are questions that most of us tackle during interview prep. But, if a person on the street or a reporter were to ask you these questions, and you were to respond in a thoughtful and thorough manner, they would be impressed by the depth of your knowledge.  Stay on top of your platform and current developments.  That way, in addition to the skills that you are building, you become the go to person on that particular topic.  You never know when your platform knowledge will lead to a career opportunity.
3.      Understand what it is that you do.   I don’t know about you, but sometimes I don’t even think about the breadth of knowledge or experience that I have gained through my volunteer efforts.  But, when I take the time to actually think about it, I am amazed.  Take some time to evaluate your efforts.  Only then will you be able to comprehend the skills that you have developed or in the alternative, identify skills that you would like to develop.   
4.      Be able to articulate your skills.  It’s one thing to know what it is that you do.  But, can you communicate it in a way that accurately conveys your skills?   There is a fine line between embellishment and self promotion.  So honesty is always the best policy.  However, women tend to shy away from self promotion because we don’t want to be viewed as bragging.   Studies have consistently demonstrated that women are paid less and are less likely to be considered for job promotions because they don’t self promote to the same extent as men. You can be the best lawyer in the world but if no one knows it… You are your best advocate.  You know your worth, so don’t be afraid to express it to others.   After you have determined what it is that you do, choose action verbs and adjectives that reflect your skill level and accomplishments.  Are you an advocate?  Are you a fundraiser?  Are you a liaison?  Do you work with national nonprofits? Do you develop and implement initiatives?  What you may think of as merely a day in the life of a titleholder, may be extremely impressive to a potential employer.  
These are just a few tips.  I hope that you found this helpful.

Ciji Dodds

Miss International 2011


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