So, you’ve watched all of Tiger King and 90-Day Fiancé, have Marie Kondo’d your closet, and have produced several questionable-looking loaves of bread.

What now?

Even in a tight job market, there are lots of ways you can continue to build experience—and help others in the process! We’ve put together several ways you can keep your skills sharp and strengthen your candidacy for that next opportunity.

Win/Win Ways to Build Your Skills and Help Others

If you’rE known for your tech savviness, why not…

Offer to help your friends build their online professional portfolios.

You can use free website-building sites like Wix or Squarespace to create beautiful personal sites. Not only will this help you develop your web skills, but also it will mean that when this is all over, your friends and you are ready to hit the job market.


For the html-whiz, a twist on the previous idea could be to help a nonprofit or family-owned business with their website. After all, who doesn’t love a good rebranding? Add this project to your resume and your online portfolio to showcase your skillset.

Start your own YouTube channel (or help a friend with theirs).

Not only has YouTube provided content creators with an unbeatable platform to share their videos for free, it has also given burgeoning videographers an amazing opportunity to develop and apply their skills. Try your hand at video editing or sound design to add more creative skills to your arsenal.

If you’re the one your friends go to for your artistic eye, why not…

Design postcards, invitations, or flyers for all of those postponed events.

Check in with the family friend who needed to postpone their wedding or a local business that was planning a big event or grand opening. They might appreciate your help designing a logo, flyer, or invitation!

If you don’t have access to fancy software at home, no worries! You can take advantage of free graphics creation platforms like Canva, which make it easy to create beautiful designs.

No one with big events coming up? No problem! Consider sprucing up your friends’ weekly virtual hangout with a custom invite.

Turn your hobby into a side hustle and start your own Etsy store.

Do all of your friends rave about your hand-knitted sweaters? Are people constantly asking you where you got that wire-frame jewelry rack?

Spoiler alert, you made it.

Not only does your crafting showcase your self-motivation and entrepreneurial spirit, but it can also be a positive and productive side-hustle once you’re done maxing out your island in Animal Crossing. Just saying.

Edit photos taken at all of those pre-COVID-19 events.

Brighten the days of your friends and family by snail-mailing them an edited photo from an event pre-COVID-19.

If you’re feeling generous, you can even put out a general call on Facebook, asking if people have any photos you’d like them to edit. It’s a great chance to practice your photo-editing skills and build out that photography portfolio you’ve been wanting to create. 

If you always get the last word, why not…

Ask the entrepreneurs in your life if they need help with their marketing efforts.

Now is definitely a time when everyone could use a helping hand. This includes the entrepreneurs in your life, who might be struggling to meet unexpected operational needs due to COVID-19.

Offer to help them brainstorm an innovative marketing strategy, discuss available communications channels, or develop taglines and jingles. If nothing comes of it, you’ve spent some time helping a friend, but if it works, then you’ve suddenly been part of a successful marketing campaign.

Wordsmith new brand messages for a local business’ crisis communications.

In times of crisis, transparent, timely, and personalized communication is even more important.

Help your local businesses pivot and navigate this changing situation by figuring out what and how they want to be communicating with their customers. It’s a great opportunity to flex your writing muscles while supporting your community.

Final Thoughts…

Even in challenging times, there are always options to help others and build your skills.

Connect with a career counselor for a virtual appointment via Zoom or phone to discuss volunteer options that would help you build your target skills, or how to add your latest volunteer experience to your resume. 

Or, if you’re looking for a non-volunteering way to develop your skillset, remember that as a Columbia student, you have access to thousands of skill-building classes and workshops through LinkedIn Learning