When building your career, and your resume, it's important to find ways to stand out. Still, when you're going to school and (or) working jobs it's hard to take the time to find ways to make your resume outstanding.

The struggle is real. 

I've learned a few tips that can help set you apart from everyone else who's applying to that job you so desperately want to get. Especially if you are just starting out, have little-to-no experience, or switching careers, this will really help you bulk up your resume and get you to where you want to be. 

1. Build your personal brand.

This is huge. I really didn't understand the gravity of a personal brand until I built my own. From the outside it may look like something that only influencers need to do, but that's not the case at all.

The modern resume isn't just a piece of paper. It's virtual. It's your LinkedIn account, and it can even be other forms of social media. 

I was working at a job that I should have loved, but didn't. It was in my field and on paper this job sounded amazing. After less than a year, the day-to-day tasks where getting to me. It wasn't what I wanted to do. So I started applying to other jobs. 

No one was interested in hiring me.

So I continued to work at this job, while saving money and coming up with an exit strategy. For me, that was writing--and building my personal brand as a writer and human rights advocate. 

I wrote a piece a day on Quora (a website where you can ask and answer questions) and before I knew it I was getting republished by Huffington Post, Inc., International Business Times and Forbes (to name a few). 

I immediately added "published writer" to my resume.

I ended up using these published articles as part of my application to write for Inc. I also used my personal brand to start speaking on podcast and at conferences. Less than a year later I am recording my own podcast show, where I get to do what I love and talk about humanitarian and social issues while drinking wine.

The ROI of a personal brand is well worth it. It really is the gift that keeps on giving. More than that, it sets you apart from people showing up to job interviews with just a resume in hand. 

2. Spend time volunteering.

This is a great way to set you a part from other applicants. This is also something you can add to your resume. Much like interning, if you volunteer at organizations for months at a time, even if you're doing the bare minimum, you can add those learned skills to your resume. 

Volunteering for organizations will also give you some real world experience. If you have only worked a few jobs in your life, volunteering can really show you the ins and outs of how an organization can operate. 

Even if you have no intention of going into the non-profit or humanitarian field, this is a great way to get some experience. 

3. Go to networking events as often as you can. 

Something that took me a long time to learn is that a large part of building your career is who you know. 

Especially when you are just starting out, it's hard to meet people who work in your field. This is why networking events can be extremely powerful. They give you the opportunity to meet people who you wouldn't normally meet. It allows you to form communities and to get your name out there. 

Let say you meet someone who works for Tesla, a company you've always wanted to work for. Even if they can't get you a job a Telsa they can point you in the right direction. And in some cases even vouch for you. With social media it's easy to keep up with people. In a few years when you're "Tesla ready" you can reach back out to you contact and see if they know of any openings. 

It's a great place to ask questions and find out about companies or jobs you are interested. At the very least networking will help build your social skills and help you meet people with more experience than you, and that a probably willing to help you grow. 

The best thing I did in my career was being extremely eager. Eager to learn, to meet people and to grow. People who saw that were always willing to boost me up or guide me. Chances are there are people out there who would be willing to help you navigate your career path too. 

Published on: Mar 31, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.