If you’re searching for a job, here’s one strategy you may have overlooked: Volunteering.Volunteering for a company you like or a nonprofit organization in your community isn’t just a way of doing good. It’s also a way to keep your skills up-to-date, expand your network, develop new skills, and possibly get a salary position. There are all kinds of organizations that constantly look for volunteers, from your local community service groups, political organizations, to religious institutions and commercial entities. When you volunteer, you share your skills and time with people in the community without expecting to be paid. This experience gives you a chance to build your experience and skills, and demonstrate your willingness to contribute.
Volunteering Expands Your Professional Network
If you know people who already work in your target field, let them know that you are open to volunteer for their company. This kind of opportunities can lead you to information about job openings, organization structures, and valuable contacts you should meet. And if the company needs to hire new talent at the moment, you’ll for sure come to their minds.
Volunteering gives you the chance to meet new people and expand your network. Keep a list of the contacts you make while volunteering. It could include the staff, board members, clients, as well as other volunteers and suppliers of the organization. You never know who might be able to help you one day.
Volunteering Helps You Develop New Skills
Volunteering helps you develop new job skills as well as apply current skills in new ways. It gives you a chance to build on skills you already have and learn new ones through hands-on practices. If you’re employed, you may want to look for volunteer opportunities that strengthen skills you have but are not currently using in your work. If you’re currently unemployed, volunteering would be a perfect way for you to learn new skills through jobs you haven’t experienced before.
Be realistic about your current skill level when you apply to volunteer. An organization may need people whose skill level is more advanced than yours in the position you want. Seek opportunities to develop your skills so that you can later qualify for a more challenging position.
Volunteering Enriches You Experience
When looking for a new job, most employers prefer workers with previous workplace experience. If you’re stepping into a new industry, volunteering is a perfect chance to gain some experience and get your foot through the door.
Besides, volunteer experience shows employers that you can manage your time, complete your tasks, get along with other team members and make a commitment. Your volunteer record can show the employer that you have the attitudes and skills they are looking for in a potential employee.
Volunteering Gives You An Insider Look at An Industry
When you’re a new career direction or thinking about a career change, volunteering gives you a chance to explore new occupations and industry sectors. As a volunteer to a new industry, you get to know the people, challenges, and rewards involved, and gain a better understanding of the roles and jobs available.
Volunteering Fills Your Employment Gaps
Volunteer experience is also professional experience. On your resume, list the organization and dates, and instead of using the title “volunteer,” use your responsibilities as a title — “project coordinator” or “communication assistant.” Mention your results and accomplishments on the job, without being misleading.
For people who are in between jobs, or attending school at the moment, volunteering is the best way to fill the gaps on your resume. Using your time to gain new skills and help your community. This highlights your willingness to learn new things and contribute to the society.
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