Volunteerism as Professional Development

Volunteering for your favorite charity or nonprofit can help you move forward in your career. Three very basic ways that volunteering can help you are developing proficiencies outside your usual skill set, implementing knowledge, and building your network.

Learn new skills

Volunteer experience can help you learn skills that transfer to your future career path. Transferable skills are such marketable skills as communication, customer service, and training others. However, volunteering can also provide a platform for learning specific skills necessary for a promotion in your current position or for a move to a new field.

Gain Experience

Many job descriptions are written in a way that relevant experience can substitute for a level of education required. Volunteering within a nonprofit can provide extensive experience in event planning, fundraising, communication, problem solving, and business operations.

Every charity or nonprofit has a budget, short-term and long-term goals, and processes or procedures that mimic a for-profit organization. Learning to do more with less – whether it is less money or less time, provides valid experience that transfers to any position.

Build a Network

Opportunities to meet others and build a network are extensive in volunteer efforts. Choose a nonprofit or charity based on your own commitments and interests and then take every chance to meet others and work with them on projects. Employers who have a solid knowledge of what you can do because they have seen you perform at the top of your game in a volunteer position are much more likely to approach you with career opportunities and job prospects.

The skills you learn, the experience you gain, and the contacts you make will deepen and broaden the marketable competencies you bring to your employer.

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