By Avery Baxter
Volunteer work could open the door to a new paying job. There is no shortage of volunteer opportunities that you could step into. In fact, the National Center for Charitable Statistics reports that there are more than 1.5 million registered non-profit organizations in the United States.
Volunteer work that leads to full-time jobs
Forget getting bored. Jobs that you could perform while volunteering range from English teacher, counselor, grant writer and youth ambassador to marketing manager, fund raiser, tutor, consultant, legal advisor, tax agent or web developer. These jobs rely on your existing work experience.
But, there could be a chance to stretch the jobs and grow your skill set. As an example, volunteering as a counselor could lead to a paying job as a learning and development trainer at a corporation. You could also volunteer as a counselor, deepen your development and coaching skills and use the experience to start your own consulting firm.
Similar to how it’s important to be assertive during an internship, to get the most out of volunteer work, take on projects. If you see needs at the organization where you perform volunteer work, ask how you could help to fill the need. Be prepared to discuss in what specific ways you could use your skills to fill the needs.
Exposure counts with volunteer work
By attending networking, team building and other social events that are sponsored by the organization where you perform volunteer work, you could gain exposure. Other ways to gain exposure include asking questions at the end of webinars and conference calls. You could also lead group discussions. You may be surprised at how open managers are to having someone lead a meeting or a project discussion.
Great organizations are not intimidated by people who want to continue to develop and grow their career. They welcome vision and assertiveness. You may even find a mentor where you volunteer work, someone who could advise and support you, telling you about opportunities that you may not otherwise have become aware of.
Places to find volunteer work
If you want to get started with volunteer work, connecting with large organizations like Volunteer.gov and Volunteer Match may be a good start. Local volunteer directories also list opportunities that you could take advantage of. Your current employer may also have a list of volunteer or non-profit organizations that you could learn more about.
Make sure that you add your volunteer work to your professional resume. Doing so, could lead to a paying job. But, you could also get hired by the nonprofit organization that you perform volunteer work for. Don’t overlook that opportunity if you love the work that you do at a non-profit.