Career Success through Volunteering

Are you looking for a new career? Interested in learning more a particular career but uncertain if you want to invest the time and money in gaining new skills or education? Or are you looking to explore new opportunities but want to avoid jumping ship at your current job?

Volunteering might be the answer to your career exploration. Being a volunteer is a great way to do something meaningful for others while at the same time building your own based of knowledge, skills, and professional contacts. Here are a few pathways to career success through volunteering.

Determine your goal
Do you want to become a nurse or a physician? Start volunteering in a local hospital. Want to become a librarian or marine biologist? Look into the many programs that offer volunteer experiences. Volunteering is one way to gain experience and it can also help you build contacts in the professional arena where people will share their knowledge and lend some guidance.

Add your volunteer experience to your resume
If you were the committee chairperson and helped to raise $3,000 or $30,000 for a charity auction, then by all list this as an accomplishment on your resume. Be sure to show how your achievement can benefit an employer on your resume. List the skills you gained in the experience such as marketing, sales, administrative or coordination.

Get a higher education
Check with either the volunteer agency or an institute of higher learning to learn if any scholarship programs are available. You may be surprised to learn that many professional associations will offer scholarships to people who have demonstrated their commitment to a career path through their volunteerism.

Work with the people who have what you want
Do you want to learn leadership skills? Gain management expertise? Then you’ll want to volunteer at the level where decisions are made. Apply to be on the Board of Trustees or join a committee where you’ll have a bird’s eye view by working in a support capacity. As you prove your abilities, you’ll likely find yourself being entrusted with more responsibilities and invited to hold a leadership position. This level of volunteering can be very helpful in creating a new professional network and may lead to job referrals.

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