To provide you with the best strategies on how to use volunteering as a job search tool, we’ve gathered insights from seven professionals, including HR Managers and CEOs. From leveraging remote volunteering for a resume boost to establishing a personal brand through speaking engagements, these experts share their top strategies. Dive in to discover how volunteering can be a game-changer in your job search journey.
- Leverage Remote Volunteering for a Resume Boost
- Volunteer in Care Roles for Medical Careers
- Try Mentorship for Networking and Updates
- Fill Skills Gap and Build Relationships
- Use Volunteering for Efficient Networking
- Explore Roles through the Short-Term
- Establish Personal Brand through Speaking Engagements
Leverage Remote Volunteering for a Resume Boost
During the pandemic/lockdown, volunteering options were harder to find. I discovered a website, Catchafire.org, that makes it easy to not only find remote volunteer opportunities but also allows you to sort by area of expertise. I found several opportunities that allowed me to leverage my HR skills and, at the end of the day, helped two organizations that aligned with my personal passions.
I gained experience worthy of adding to my HR resume—creating policy, an employee handbook, developing a recruiting process, and applicable forms/templates, and more. This not only benefited my actual resume but also boosted my confidence in creating these processes from scratch, with no budget, and a quick timeline—no doubt adding value and skill.
Volunteer in Care Roles for Medical Careers
Job seekers wishing to start a job as a doctor, or a profession allied to medicine, are actively encouraged to volunteer for care roles in the community. This can range from early-life nursery positions to end-of-life care homes. Doing so helps individuals understand the “human” behind the patient, typically leading to more compassionate care.
Moreover, volunteering for end-of-life care helps potential medics appreciate that we can’t solve every medical problem. At the end of these volunteering roles, many medics go on to deliver an even better quality of service, which benefits us all.
Try Mentorship for Networking and Updates
While seeking employment, I decided to volunteer for mentorship programs within my industry. By mentoring newcomers, I not only gave back but also stayed updated with the latest challenges and perspectives in the field. This involvement led to interactions with other mentors, many of whom were in influential positions.
Their recognition of my dedication and expertise often translated into job recommendations and introductions to hiring managers. Through mentorship, I inadvertently built a network that actively supported my job search.
Gil Clark Jr., CEO, GH Clark
Fill Skills Gap and Build Relationships
While volunteering can be rewarding and bring meaning to your life, it can also support and speed up your job search. For instance, if you’re looking to fill a skills gap, you might volunteer your time and talent to a nonprofit organization. Importantly, you’ll want to add the experience to your resume and LinkedIn profile, and then highlight the transferable skills you gained through volunteering.
Another benefit of volunteering is that you can broaden your network, which can be particularly valuable if you’re targeting jobs in your local community. Depending on the organization, volunteer roles can even turn into paid employment opportunities, so be sure to build relationships with both fellow volunteers and employees.
Use Volunteering for Efficient Networking
Volunteering is one of the best strategies to put your foot in the door and enter the career path you plan to pursue. If you use this opportunity to do efficient networking, your chances of getting a job in the field increase dramatically.
Attending sector events and getting to know other professionals firsthand is an excellent networking tactic for a novice, as it can help you make critical connections in less formal circumstances. Remember to follow up after the meeting once you exchange contact information with valuable entrepreneurs or entities. Do not omit this step; it is an excellent, yet easy, method to make yourself remembered and distinguish yourself from the rest of the aspiring professionals.
Commitment and a professional attitude are the first and most crucial steps to effective networking. Be professional and reliable in your endeavors, and the word about your dedication will spread.
Explore Roles through the Short-Term
Volunteering is one of the best ways to gain an understanding of whether you want to explore a role further, and it’s typically done on a short-term basis. This means you’re not “stuck” within an actual role or industry that you do not want to be a part of and may struggle to leave due to it actually being your career.
Establish Personal Brand through Speaking Engagements
One effective way to use volunteering for job search is by volunteering as a guest speaker or panelist at industry-related webinars or events. This positions you as an authority in your field and helps you establish a strong personal brand.
Attendees and fellow speakers may include potential employers or network contacts who can lead you to job opportunities or provide valuable insights for your job search. It’s a proactive strategy that combines your expertise with networking in a virtual setting, enhancing your chances of finding the right job.