Volunteer to gain valuable experience, develop career skills and boost your job search efforts
Strategic volunteering is a win-win exchange. A worthy organization benefits from your time and talent while you develop critical career skills, enhance your resume, gain relevant work experience and build a network that will help you in a job search. To make strategic volunteering work for you, find a volunteer position that will help you build the skills you need for the job you want.
Finding the Right Strategic Volunteering Opportunity
“Strategic” is the keyword here. While all volunteering is important, not every volunteer position will help in a future job search. For example, if you strive to work in business administration, volunteer your time and build your skills as part of a planning committee that runs citywide clean-up days instead of spending a weekend cleaning up your local park. The community still benefits while you develop the skills you need to land that admin job later.
Passion is important for volunteering, even if it is done strategically. Choose a cause that fits with your values in addition to your skill set.
Make the Most of Volunteering
Treat your volunteer opportunity as you would a paying job. If you want to work for the organization you are volunteering for, become indispensable so they need you to keep operating efficiently. Do whatever the position entails, whether it be stuffing envelopes or something more substantial. Your diligence and good attitude can land you a job or a glowing reference to use in a future job search.
Learn New Skills
Volunteering is a great way to further develop your existing talents, but it is also a good opportunity to learn new skills that will put you ahead in a job search. For example, volunteer to do presentations for a humane society to bolster your public speaking skills. If you have no sales experience, sign up to raise money for a school. You will learn how to solicit financial contributions while helping a good cause.
Test Drive a New Field
If you want a career change but aren't sure where to turn, use volunteer opportunities to test drive a new field. If you are interested in health care but don't want to be a nurse or doctor, for example, volunteer at a local hospital to learn about all the career opportunities that don't involve med school. You will get a glimpse at what is it really like to work in the field without making a huge commitment.
Do you lend your skills and time to a charitable organization? Has volunteering helped you in a job search? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below!