Ways Volunteering Can Help Your Career

More and more people are finding that one way of getting their dream job is by volunteering. Volunteers have a 27 percent higher chance of finding work than those who don’t. Certainly, there are a plethora of benefits to volunteer work. You can give back to your community, you can build new skills and you can create useful contacts. However, how do you turn that volunteer gig into a full-time, paid role?

The following tips show you how to become so integral to an organisation that it’ll be in their best interests to take you on.

Get Involved

First of all, you need to join up with a cause you believe in. Whether it’s feeding the homeless, helping children in need or rehoming animals, you can’t get noticed if you’re not in the middle of it. Find a cause near you and volunteer your time.

Find the Right Opportunity

If your career goals fall in line with a company that doesn’t have a traditional volunteering role, look for opportunities to volunteer that aren’t long-term. Many corporations will host volunteering activities, fundraising events, or grant Make-A-Wish experiences to give back to their community. Reach out and let the corporation know you admire their desire to give back and would like to join in their efforts.

Take on Responsibility

Once you’re volunteering, start trying out more involved and responsible roles. Volunteers should give their volunteering role the same attention as their full-time job. Take on work that needs doing, within reason, and show higher-ups just how you can pitch in to get the job done. Do the filing, clean out some pens, cold call – do whatever needs doing and show just how indispensable you can be.

Build Relationships

In your volunteer work you’ll meet a wide variety of people. Getting to know the right people can allow you to advance in your role. If you’re interested in fundraising, make friends with the head of fundraising for your organisation. If you want to work in outreach, volunteer for outside roles, such as collecting funds. Networking in your volunteering role can be a lot easier and more rewarding than trying to do so online or outside of work. Take advantage of the situation.

Be Consistent

It sounds like a no-brainer, but if you commit to volunteer, then volunteer. Show up when you’re scheduled to be there, and do whatever is expected of you. Many people feel that volunteering isn’t as serious as their full-time work, and treat volunteering as optional rather than another commitment. Show that you take your volunteering seriously, and you’ll go a long way.

Be Passionate About the Work

Hopefully, you’ll have joined an organisation that you feel strongly about helping. If you have, it should be easy to show your enthusiasm and ideas to others before you ever start as a full-time employee. It shows that you really are dedicated to the cause, and that you’re willing to work hard.

Take the Opportunity to Build Skills

Volunteering is the perfect time to build up some new skills. You may not be able to show some skills at work, but you can while you’re volunteering. Want to show that you’re a team leader, have good attention to detail or can work independently? This is the time. Perfect those skills and show that they can benefit the organization.

Pay Attention to the Culture

To decide whether you really want to transfer from volunteer to full-time employee, pay close attention to the culture. Are employees expected to stay late every day? Is the manager overbearing and micromanaging? Are the issues you deal with too sensitive to deal with on a daily basis? What may be OK while you’re doing a two-hour shift once a week may not be bearable when you’re there more than 40 hours a week.

Be Upfront

When you join, be honest about your intentions. Show your boss that your goal is full-time work with the company, and he’ll remember that when it’s time to hire somebody on. Once you’ve followed the above tips, you’ll be much more desirable as an employee.

Volunteering is a fantastic opportunity to join an organisation and show just how committed and invaluable you would be as an employee. Think of it as a long-term trial period, for both you and your possible employers. With some hard work and a bit of luck, your passion could become your job.

Savannah Hemmings

Savannah Hemmings is a lifestyle blogger and freelance writer based in Philadelphia, PA. When she isn't busy stringing together sentences for many of your favorite lifestyle and fashion blogs, she will undoubtedly be in her kitchen perfecting her guacamole recipe. She'll also have a pitcher of margaritas at the ready to ensure the taste testing experience is extra authentic. Check out more of her work on her blog - www.sincerelysavannah.com