Why volunteer? Volunteering is not just a great way to give back to your community, it can also give you the extra push you need to get your dream job or at least get your foot into the industry of your choice. It will help you gain experience, build your network and boost your resume.
Volunteering in your industry allows you to gain experience and insider knowledge. The classroom doesn’t always do the best job of conveying the intricacies of an industry or giving you hands-on experience. Through volunteering, you can gain industry knowledge and gain useful experience. You can learn about workflows, how companies or departments operate, and what the expectation for employees are.
You can use your position as a volunteer to network. Talk to as many people as you can, find out about the industry, about their experience in the field, etc. You can gain a lot of insight into the industry through networking. Not only that but you never know what positive effects can come from someone in your network. For example, a graphic designer I know was asked to design a logo for a small organization, but that organization needed someone to create their website. Being in each other’s network, she recommended me for the role. It was a great step forward in my career.
It can be scary going into a new industry or a new job especially if it’s for the first time. Volunteering allows you to shake off the fear. The learning curve when starting a new job can be intimidating; it can shake your confidence. Volunteering can help build that confidence and help ease the transition into a new job and work environment. Picking a career can be a stressful decision but volunteering allows you to try working in an industry that you’re interested in. You can figure out your career goals without making too much of an investment.
The experience, skills, and knowledge you get from volunteering can be translated onto your resume. Whether or not the volunteering you do is industry specific you will be developing important leadership skills such as communication and teamwork skills.
Additionally, you may be able to develop skills that you need to further your career that you are unable to hone in your current job. Let’s say, for example, you are currently working in customer service but would like to move into project management. Volunteering for a charity that is working on a big event can offer you the chance to gain some important project management skills to add to your resume. So the next time you go in for an interview you can show that have workplace experience, leadership skills, and/or knowledge of the industry.
Foot in the door
Volunteering in your industry or the company you want to work for allows you to get your foot in the door. Sure it’s an unpaid position, but the benefits of your volunteer work outweigh the rest. Through a volunteer position, you can show your work ethic, professionalism, and knowledge outside of an interview. It will leave a stronger impression on the people around you and can lead to a paid position in the company.
Seek volunteer opportunities as much as you seek paid opportunities.
Written by Vimbai Chikoore