Career Advice Blog
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The Career Benefits of Volunteering During Your Job Search
Volunteering is, without a doubt, an excellent way for conscientious citizens to give back to their community. Not only does it help you to expand your social circle, but it also allows you to engage in altruistic activities you may be passionate about.
In addition to the good works that come from donating time to a cause in need of service, volunteer opportunities can also give a huge boost to job-hunting efforts. Yes, it's true! In fact, with some dedication and patience, you can transform a volunteer opportunity into part-time and possibly even full-time employment.
Now, before we explore some of the ways that volunteering can lead to employment opportunities, let's first look at how volunteering can help you grow as a professional and contribute to becoming the type of person companies can't wait to employ.
Advantages of Volunteering for a Professional
Volunteering has many benefits for career development, including these career-building advantages:
Adds to Your Experience:
Having experience as a volunteer shows prospective employers that you not only manage your time and complete assignments, but also have gained many of the desired skills they seek. Through successfully working with other volunteers you also show that you have an agreeable attitude and can work well with others.
Helps Develop/Hone Skills:
Volunteering is a great way to brush up on your pre-existing skills as well as develop new ones. For instance, your volunteer work may require you to communicate in a language that you didn't have the chance to practice lately, may call for you to work with the public, or might require that you learn a new computer language or operate machinery that is new to you.
Expands Your Network:
Volunteering offers an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends, thereby helping you grow your network of contacts. As we all know, when it comes to gaining employment, sometimes it is not necessarily what you know but who you know.
It's a good idea to maintain a contact list of people you meet during your volunteer service. This can include board members, clients, suppliers, general staff, and, in certain situations, possibly even customers you meet. Everyone is important as you never know who might lend a helping held when you need one during a job search.
Boosts Confidence Level:
Successful involvement in volunteer work can certainly boost your confidence level. Additionally, opportunities for service help keep you motivated while you are hunting for a job or planning to make a career switch.
Helps You Assess Yourself:
Being aware of your skill set, competence, and areas of interest helps lay the foundation for career growth. Volunteer experience helps you explore yourself and unleash your hidden potential as a professional.
Allows You to Analyze an Industry or Occupation:
If you're planning a career in a specific industry, especially if you are just starting, or are looking to change your profession, volunteering can be a great option for you.
In some business sectors, your activity as a volunteer can bring a real uniqueness to your resume, especially when you are competing against many job seekers.
Now that you know some of the key benefits of volunteering, you might be eager to know more about volunteer opportunities. Let's read about them in the next section.
Volunteer Opportunities That Can Land You a Salaried Job
There are many business sectors where you can work as a volunteer to not only do your bit for society but help become a better professional. Let's take a look at some of the sectors where you can showcase and develop your skills as a volunteer.
While the roles and tasks can appear to be almost overwhelmingly broad, the goals of organizations dedicated to environmental conservation remain the same – preserving the world around us and working to leave it better than we found it for future generations. Tasks like cleaning beaches, planting trees, data collection, educating the public, urban planning, or working in a lab gives you ample opportunities to hone a variety of skills.
An integral part of the conservation movement, animal welfare projects let you closely observe and have contact with an array of wildlife species. There are many aspects of animal welfare, from helping species in the wild that are wounded or at risk to agencies that help with the rescue and placement of pets. Both of these can involve things like sheltering and feeding animals, providing walks and attention to abandoned or lost pets, and cleaning shelters and pens.
The availability of teaching opportunities can certainly depend on your areas of interest and necessary qualifications. Do you speak a second language fluently or have a degree in a certain field? You can find many places in need of your teaching services from early childhood education institutions to local community centers.
While some of these institutions may require you to have additional professional certificates for teaching, some places will take you simply based on your knowledge and skill set. Usually, a simple phone call or web search will provide you with this information.
Construction is not just about building schools, houses, and high-rise buildings. Volunteer construction work can also be as simple as raising a mud wall around a property, covering a roof with shingles, or repairing small school furniture. Just about every organization requires volunteers willing to provide construction services.
Accreditation or training is generally required to work as a medical volunteer. However, several organizations do offer on-the-job training. Volunteers can also opt for certain non-medical roles in a medical setting (such as administrative work).
Film and Television
Working at a local public broadcasting station (PBS) is a great way to begin volunteering in this sector. People in this industry usually search for volunteers to handle cameras and manage many different behind-the-scenes tasks.
Other Volunteering Options to Grow Professionally
Several other volunteer opportunities can be leveraged to get full-time employment, including the following.
If children bring a smile to your face, why not volunteer to help them? Such opportunities are available with child welfare groups, camp organizers, and daycares. You can either be a camp counselor or teach them something creative, for example, music, sports, fine arts, and more, depending on the level of your expertise.
History and science buffs can consider contacting local aquariums, botanical gardens, and museums. Works at these institutions can be as versatile as feeding fish, gardening, and serving as a tour guide.
The Bottom Line
Volunteering has many benefits besides being an easy way of selflessly rendering your services to the communities around you. Depending on your skills and interest, it's totally up to you as to how you want to convert volunteering opportunities into a salaried profession.
No matter which volunteering opportunity you take up, it is important to completely justify your role and perform the assigned tasks with dedication and passion.
Doing so provides a way for you to reap maximum professional benefits out of your volunteering experience while working toward full-time employment in future.
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