Your Secret Weapon for Getting Your Dream Job: Volunteering

October 7th, 2019

Application, interview, job offer — don’t you wish getting a new gig was always as easy as this? Sometimes you need to do more to stand out as a candidate and enhance your skills while making valuable connections. Have you ever considered volunteering?

GetFive career coaches agree volunteering is an effective strategy that not only helps you gain valuable experience, but also broadens your professional network. Bonus: You’ll feel great about helping a cause close to your heart!

Volunteering isn’t just for recent college grads, either. People at any point in their career can volunteer their time and talents to find they gain just as much as they give. From helping create marketing newsletters to organizing galas to serving on a board of directors, thousands of charities need help and would love to hear from you.

While enhancing your professional life through your volunteer experience is a smart career move, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Of course you’ll want to choose a cause you’re passionate about that matches with your values. Also make sure there are opportunities that relate to the skill set you’d like to focus on so you’re not stuck doing something you dread. What’s more, the time you are available to volunteer must align with what the organization offers or requires.

If interested in the nonprofit world, volunteering can be a pathway to eventually working a paid gig at the organization. What better experience to have on your resume than working there already, albeit doing unpaid work? This can also be an easy “in” at sister organizations, too. With this experience, you’ll have an obvious edge over other candidates.

If you’d rather stay in the for-profit sector, it can be wise to keep track of which corporate sponsors support the organization. Because these companies have a direct connection to the nonprofit, your volunteer experience there is sure to stand out and makes for a great point of discussion during interviews.

While you’re building your skills, be sure to build your network as well. You’ll meet plenty of people both inside and outside of the organization. This includes people who work for the nonprofit, other volunteers who work elsewhere but choose to give their time for this cause, and sponsors or donors who financially support the mission. These are all contacts that enhance your personal and professional network.

Take the first step today and research opportunities. It just might be the first step toward getting the job of your dreams.

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