One of the most frustrating aspects of trying to enter a new career is simply getting your foot in the door. I know I was beyond frustrated trying to break into a professional setting after completing my undergrad. Time and again my resume just wasn’t enough.
If, for one reason or another, you’re having trouble entering your chosen field, volunteering within the industry may be just the thing you need. How, you ask?… Here are four ways volunteering can help your career:
- Networking – Meeting people who work within the industry in which you wish to enter is one of the most strategic moves you can make early in your career. Whether we’re willing to admit it or not, we like hiring and/or recommending people we already know. Volunteering also allows you to meet others with similar interests, who can help you network your way to the position you desire.
- Experience – Are you sick of finding job openings that require “X” years experience? Volunteering is the perfect way to acquire experience within an industry, so you can meet hiring requirements. It’s not ideal to work for free, especially when you have bills to pay, but it’s a surefire way to finally stop being ignored by hiring managers.
- Portfolio Boost – If you have the experience required for the jobs you want, but are still getting overlooked, volunteering can help you add new projects to your career portfolio. Having varied experience and new content to show prospective employers will keep you top-of-mind throughout the hiring process.
- Build New Skills – Finally, volunteering will help you build new skills that will help differentiate you from other candidates. Sometimes, hiring managers are looked for candidates with skills outside of their area of expertise. Volunteering allows you to acquire those skills without having to pay for formal education or training.