More and more, professionals like business systems consultant Fred Savage are finding that volunteering their expertise is a successful way to network.
Savage is an expert in Microsoft office systems and counts Boeing and JC Penney among his clients. With three Microsoft certifications, including software solutions developer and trainer, Savage now makes close to six figures.
He is also a member of several regional and national associations, including the Professionals in Human Resources Association, the Human Resources Management Association and various Microsoft-oriented organizations. Savage also finds time to teach at the university level and considers his time spent mentoring students another form of "volunteering."
Savage has conducted seminars on several Microsft disciplines, such as ACCESS and Visual Basic, and has written an article for the California Management Review business journal. It doesn't hurt that Savage has dual talents in computers and human resources, or that he's an expert in optical scanning and is one of only about 7,000 Microsoft Certified Solutions Developers in the country.
He acknowledges that having a multifaceted background makes him more marketable. "Most people have either oral and written skills or analytical skills. It's merging all three that makes you a unique commodity."
Savage adds that "when you're networking, it's important to expand beyond your narrow area of expertise. Having a technical specialty that most people don't understand means getting exposure in the user area as well. It makes you more accessible."
Fred Savage, email@example.com
Bill Kelley is a business writer in Arcadia, California. Julia Miller is a Los Angeles business writer specializing in marketing.