Volunteering: Not Just a Cheap Self-Esteem Boost!

by SixFigureStart | June 04, 2009

  • My Vault

I wanted to follow up briefly on the idea of volunteering as a way to productively spend all of that newfound free time you used to spend at work. In her post yesterday, Sophie noted the variety of organizations available to volunteer for, the many skills they might be seeking from new volunteers, and suggested a jumping off point for your search. However, I read something earlier that underscores an important point that our lovely intern missed yesterday, namely that while volunteering is a nice way to eat up some of those free hours and stay feeling good about yourself while unemployed, it can also be a powerful job search tool when done strategically.

Over at The Monster Blog, Jane Allerton describes a recent experience where she was able to seize a volunteering opportunity that matched her skills perfectly and take it a step further by using it as a platform to maximize her impact and differentiate herself to a potentially powerful network.

I shared several marketing communications with the speakers that they could easily use for their targeted audiences. Their conference presence and speaking engagement was also a useful tool for building their brands and reputations for their firms within the larger Green Supply Chain communities. Showcasing my marketing skills in enabling others to be even more successful is a key strength in my professional arsenal. So volunteering my marketing skills in this area was second nature to me, but not to others -- I strategically identified a gap and exploited my capabilities to maximize the impact of my volunteer work.

It's important to remember that networking isn't a switch that you turn on and off, but a mindset that you should be practicing and honing at all times. As Allerton says in her post (and countless others have before her), "You never know who knows who." How have you used non-traditional networking situations like volunteer work to maximize your job search? As always, we welcome your stories, comments and suggestions!

How To Strategically Work For Free While Unemployed and Why [The Monster Blog]

 

--Posted by Steven Schiff, Asst. Producer Vault.com

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