Recently I’ve received advice and then read a couple articles with the same advice… I’m taking this coincidence to mean it is actually important to follow this advice, so I’ll continue this trend by passing it along to you as well.
That’s basically it. Stay involved in the area to which you want to work.
Stay involved even when you’re out of work.
While you’re looking for a full time position stay involved by volunteering your skills. For example, if you desire a designing position, offer to design a new webpage for a local company. You can then use that work in a portfolio and you keep your resume fresh with new projects (verses handing out resumes where the most recent dates are 3 years old).
Stay involved while you’re climbing the latter.
If you’re just starting out chances our its good to have that line on your resume, but there won’t be work you can add to a portfolio. You may be in a office position that will get you to that next step but you have nothing to show for to prove the skills you have.
This is a great opportunity to stay involved by doing your own work. If you desire to be a writer, start writing your novel on your own time or create a website. If you want to be a director of photography, work on an indie project. You might not get paid, but you’ll get experience and new material for your demo reel. If you want to be a business owner, start a small business on the side, even if it is just selling your friends home made jewelry.
Staying involved means keeping yourself relevant. You know first hand what is happening in the field. You have current experience.
Staying involved shows that you are passionate to be in this field and you want to be here.