How Volunteering Helps Professionally
Why Volunteering Is a Smart Career Strategy
6 Ways to Get Started
Many job seekers overlook the value of volunteering for building relationships and career opportunities. Some think their time is too valuable for volunteering; they don’t want to give away a skill for free that they’re hoping to get paid for.
Others think any time spent volunteering takes away time that could be used for job seeking. Still others may not think their skills are needed in volunteer work, or they simply don’t see how it can help their careers.
First of all, you should be getting paid — and paid well — for your skills. But if that’s just not happening at the current time, volunteering can help you move in that direction. Consider any time spent volunteering as marketing yourself, which technically counts as energy well spent in a job search.
As for your skills not being needed, well, that’s just not true. You might not see immediately how your skills can translate to volunteering, but take a look at the needs around you and you’ll soon see you can help in many ways.
I’ve lived in several states, and each time I move, the first place I start with my new career is by volunteering. One reason is that it helps you forget the “poor me” attitude of being unemployed and helps you build confidence in yourself. Let’s face it; helping others makes us feel good. The second reason is that it truly helps you find a job, no matter what your experience level is.
You will never know when the right opportunity will present itself, and if you stay home reading classified ads or watching job boards on the Internet, you may miss the greatest chance of their lifetime. This is networking at its best – giving back to the community; and you never know who may be observing your efforts and want to discuss your next career move!
1. It Introduces You to the Community
This allows you to better understand the needs of the people and businesses around you.
2. It Helps Fill In the Blanks On Your Resume
Employers will ask what you did for those six months you were between jobs, and answering with “I played video games” probably won’t impress them.
3. It Shows You Take Initiative
You don’t just sit back and complain about a problem; you step up and help out for the greater good. Employers want employees who are engaged and committed.
4. It Introduces You To a Wider Network of People
By sharing your career ambitions with other volunteers, they just might be able to introduce you to a hot job opportunity.
5. It Builds Your References
If you volunteer your skills or expertise and do it well, you’ll have no problem getting a glowing reference.
6. It Boosts Your Experience
Even if you’re not an expert in your field, your skills will be appreciated and you’ll probably get the chance to try things you’ve never done before.