I always knew that volunteering was good for the job search – it’s a great way to learn new skills, network, and explore other career options. Still, when interviewing association employees for the book, “I Want a Job in an Association – Now What??: A Guide to Getting a Job in a Professional Association, Membership Organization, or Society,” even I was struck by how much volunteering had made an impact on people’s career paths.
One of the most unique stories involved a woman who started volunteering for the company she now works for – at 14 years old! Passionate about the mission, she stayed with them throughout high school, and then served as an intern in college. This was just one of her positive volunteering experiences. At her most recent job, she went in looking to volunteer, and came out with a job!
There are several different ways you can use volunteering to help you in your career including:
1) Testing out options: This is the ideal place to try out a new “profession.” If you want to get out of finance, join the marketing committee to see if you like it.
2) Networking: Whether you volunteer for an association based on your passion (ex. the environment), function (ex. marketing), or level (ex. executive), you’ll naturally make valuable industry contacts.
3) Learning: Volunteering gives you the opportunity to acquire skills that you may not be able to pick up in your current position.
To get started, check out volunteermatch.com or directly contact associations to get more information on volunteering with them.