Volunteering can do way more than just good for the community. Unfortunately, we live in a world where all too often we look at a project or volunteer opportunity and wonder what we can get out of it. If you are the type of person who looks at volunteering in this way, think of what it can do for you when considering a career or just trying to get a job in a certain field.
Volunteering provides you with hands on experiences. Whether the project you are working on is directly related to your job field or not it provides you with opportunities that could be hard to find elsewhere. Volunteering not only helps the community, it also builds your teamwork skills and shows that you can work in a team-structured environment. This is one of the top skills that employers look for. By showing that you can work in a group environment you are making yourself more marketable. It is also important that employers know that you care and are committed to the field in which they work because then they know that you will put forth your best effort and totally commit to the job, which they are asking you to do.
If you do not have experience in your field such as a previous job or internship, volunteering is a great way to get the experience that you need to land that job. This type of experience is very valuable and you can’t get it anywhere else. Since you are likely working closely with someone, they are an excellent resource when you are looking for references. They can give you a reference that relates directly to the job you are trying to secure.
Are you unsure of a career pathway? Volunteer in the field you’re thinking about pursuing. By volunteering in that field you can see all of the ins and outs of day-to-day work. You can really get a feel of the work environment and the type of work you would be doing. The best part, if you don’t like it you don’t have to keep doing it! You can change your mind and really make an informed decision on what field you would be happy working in. If you are happy doing the job for no pay, think of how happy you will be when you are doing something you love and actually getting paid for it!
Who knows, maybe one day you will be able to get a job at the place you are volunteering at! While you are volunteering there if a job is posted, you would likely be the first to know. You can also make a connection and ask them to give you a call if anything opens up. Since you have already volunteered there you would know how their system works and they would likely have to spend a little less time training you. They can also provide great resources for jobs that are open not only in their business or cooperation but also in other locations or businesses that work with the same types of people or areas.
Want to get involved but don’t know where to start? Check out the Students Engaged in Rewarding Volunteer Experiences (SERVE) organization on campus, located in the Multicultural Center. They help with all things related to volunteering in the Duluth community.
“No one cares what you know, unless they know that you care.” – Unknown