Friday, July 1, 2011

Do a Good Deed. Volunteer your Time and you May Just Get a Job in Return.

Volunteering your time comes with many benefits. For the job seeker, volunteering can provide you with skills, knowledge, and experience you can add to your resume and use to transition into a permanent position. Additionally, volunteering is a way to demonstrate your commitment to serving your community. Volunteering highlights your ability to work as part of a team and shows your dedication to a new industry or career direction.

If you are having trouble landing a position in an industry or company, one of the best ways to get your foot in the door is through volunteer work. Would you rather spend four hours at home feeling depressed because your phone isn’t ringing, or would you rather spend that time building skills, making connections, and adding key experience to your resume by volunteering your time? Here are some tips for making a successful transition from volunteer work to a permanent position.

• The first step to making volunteering work for your career is locating opportunities. Students can check with their school’s career services centers and professors for leads.

• As a professional, especially one in a career transition, research organizations that specialize in your intended career field. Identify those companies that have the greatest need where you can also learn important skills. Websites such as are a good source to locate opportunities.

• Few companies – either non-profit or for-profit companies – are going to turn down an offer of free labor if it is well-presented. When seeking opportunities, prepare your “sales pitch” in terms of how you can benefit the organization. Dress and behave professionally as though you are going on a job interview.

• Volunteer wisely and go in with the right attitude. Approach this opportunity as a win-win situation, not just a way to build your resume. Personal gain should never be the only reason you participate in volunteering. People are more likely to help you if you are sincerely interested in helping them and if you take your volunteer position seriously.

• Once you begin the volunteer position, take an active role in learning as much as you can about the organization. Ask questions, take initiative, offer your assistance, be dependable, and keep yourself busy at all times to demonstrate your dedication and work ethic.

• Stay positive, realize no task is beneath you, and enjoy the opportunity to give back while learning new skills.

• Use your volunteer experience as a networking opportunity. Take the initiative to get to know as many people as possible in the organization. Ensure they all know your career goals. Build rapport and establish relationships that will lead to future opportunities.

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