Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Volunteering Your Way to a New Career

While volunteering for an organization is generally considered an altruistic gesture, it is also a valuable learning experience that can lead to different career opportunities. Steve Vetter’s friends thought he was losing two years of his life by volunteering with the Peace Corps after he graduated from college in 1966. His training with the Corps led to a satisfying career in international development. He’s now president and chief executive of a group that connects U.S. residents with people throughout Latin America on projects such as agricultural development and youth programs. "About 12 percent to 15 percent of professional jobs are in the nonprofit sector," Vetter said. "Almost all the people who work in those jobs began as volunteers. It's like baseball's farm team system. You can check out an employer and they can check you out."

To see how others have advanced their careers through volunteerism, read this interesting article from The Washington Post. You can also visit VolunteerMatch, an online database that pairs volunteers and nonprofits.

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