Volunteering your Way to Success!
It’s the age old tale that volunteer experience is a huge asset to finding a job. No matter which industry you’re in, it’s extremely valuable. It’s a sign of good character, that you’re willing to work hard, and showcases different experience that will relate to the job force. Especially, when it comes to transferable skills.
I do believe volunteering in any capacity is valuable. Experience is experience after all, especially if you’re gaining skills like customer service, administration, leading others, phone and email etiquette, etc. You just need to learn what you can take from each experience and how it can apply to your future. For example, if you want to be a Social Media Manager one day but you have volunteer experience serving beer at a festival. What skills can you take from that? To name a few; customer service, problem-solving, and acting fast on your feet. All of those can be used in a way to get you where you want to be. What’s even better than that, is volunteering in your desired field! It’s basically the easiest way to start gaining experience in your industry. Yes, it is not as ideal as actually being paid and working full-time in your industry. But, it’ll definitely help get you there and it’s a lot easier to get accepted for those types of positions. You are volunteering your time, after all.
The media industry is especially prominent in the world of volunteering. There are a ton of opportunities to volunteer in the industry, all you have to do is be aware of them and be on the look for them. Any local festivals that happen in your city? Chances are they need volunteers to manage the media, take photos and videos, do social media, etc. And that of course does not only apply to festivals but any events, charities, conferences, and wherever else you can think of. Can’t find a posting? Look up contact information for the event and introduce yourself while offering up your services. It may not lead to anything immediately, but it can create a contact for you and lead to future opportunities. I always like to say “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”.
Another great source for finding volunteer opportunities is on job boards. I have personally found a lot of calls for volunteers on different job searching sites. It can be a bit tedious, as job boards generally are for paid positions but the search function can be your best friend when it comes to snagging those opportunities.
Success comes to those who work for it! We’re not all going to graduate school and instantly fall into the career of our dreams. Volunteering is a great way to kind of “cheat the system”. You’re gaining fast and efficient experience in a new and different setting. The great thing about volunteering too, is that it’s usually a smaller period of time so the amount of positions you can gain in say, a year’s time is much more vast than working in the same position in a less desirable job.
So, get out there and find those opportunities. Volunteering is a huge benefit to gaining valuable skills while searching for your next dream job. Especially all of the industry connections it can gain you. Who knows, maybe your next volunteer experience will turn into your dream job. You’ll never know if you don’t try…!
Zachary Rees-Sirotich Pepper Prep Contributor