Ways Volunteering Can Get You Your Next Position

Ways Volunteering Can Get You Your Next Position

It’s no surprise millennials are changing how we look at giving back for the greater good. We want to spend time and energy toward the causes we care about. We’re more likely to volunteer our time than we are to donate to the causes we’re passionate about.

Outside of the great feeling of knowing you did your part and helped make a difference, have you considered what volunteering can do for you not only personally but also professionally? Consider the following when you’re searching for your next position.

Volunteering expands your network and you’ll make connections

Let’s be honest: It’s often about who you know, and when it comes to finding a job – networking does wonders. When you volunteer, you’ll meet a variety of individuals outside your network and work environment. It’s a great way to make connections and create a positive impression. Your new connections can witness how you’re invested and committed while seeing your skills put to work. They potentially could be your next employer or recommend you to others for open positions. During my job searches, I’ve had many of my community connections offer their kind words and recommendations to potential employers while helping me secure interviews.

That organization might just hire you

Volunteering might lead to your next job. Seriously. It could, and it’s happened for me. Is there an organization with a mission that you love and potentially would like to work for? Join a committee, intern in a department or volunteer on the weekend. When their hiring manager posts an open position that’s right up your alley, you should apply. They’re likely to hire someone already familiar with the organization, and volunteering shows you’re committed to what the organization does. If you’re passionate as a volunteer, you’ll probably be more invested as an employee. I’ve received numerous interviews based on my previous involvement and accepted a position with an organization after interning in their development department.

You can learn a specialty for your next position

As young professionals, many of us are still growing and developing skills in our career. Volunteering is a perfect way to grow in an area you’re eager to learn. Organizations are always looking for individuals passionate about their mission and who want to get their hands dirty. Have you been wanting to learn grant writing, event planning or gain experience with social media planning? It’s likely there’s a nonprofit or young professional organization looking for someone like you. Early on in my career, I knew I enjoyed planning events, but didn’t have any professional experience. I joined several young professional groups looking for event committee membership. I had the opportunity to plan and implement a variety of social and networking events. My experience helped me secure many of my past positions that looked for individuals with an events background, including my current job.

It fills that gap on your resume

You’re right out of college or maybe you unexpectedly lost your job. As young professionals, a lapse in work happens to the best of us. Volunteering is a great way to fill your time and your resume. It shows you take initiative, you’re motivated and you aren’t waiting around for your next position.  

It showcases your ambition

Hiring managers receive hundreds of applications in their employee search. Volunteering can help your resume stand out. Volunteering shows your potential employer you’re passionate and you’re invested in your local community. Did you plan a fundraiser or create a marketing campaign for a local nonprofit? Don’t forget to put it on your resume. In addition to showcasing your commitment, it can highlight your leadership qualities and how you took charge in your volunteer role. These are qualities organizations are looking for in their candidates

I hope you'll consider the many ways volunteering can add to your career no matter your industry or organization. As someone who manages volunteers daily and volunteers in my free time, volunteering has been rewarding personally, helped me grow into my career and has added valuable skills that I apply to my day-to-day work in the nonprofit world.

Katelyn Gainer is the marketing, events and development manager for Engage! Cleveland, a nonprofit whose mission is to attract, engage and retain young, diverse talent to the Greater Cleveland area.

* This post was originally published on Crain's Cleveland Business:http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20171020/blogs05/139576/ways-volunteering-can-get-you-your-next-position