How giving back can help you get ahead

volunteer

If you are just now entering the workforce and are interested in pursuing a public service career , a great way to prepare for that career is through volunteering. Whether you volunteer for a non-profit, a charity or the government, the benefits you'll get from volunteering could have several positive effects on your future. Here are five positive results from volunteering that you could aid you on your journey to a successful career:
1. Volunteering is a good way to learn time management.
When you volunteer, you must learn to set aside a certain amount of time each week in order to help the organization where you are volunteering. If you are volunteering while also working, your free time can become scarce. It is important that you become aware of all your commitments and set aside time for each of them in order to accomplish your goals. Many organizations you’ll volunteer at will also require a good deal of time management while you are there, as there is usually quite a bit to be done within a short amount of time.
2. Volunteering can build your resume.
If you haven’t worked in the field that you are hoping to enter professionally, consider listing your different volunteering roles in lieu of paid work on your resume. Employers will often look to volunteer work to "fill in the gaps” when hiring employees without a lot of work experience. Not only is volunteer work respected, but employers are aware that there is a lot to be learned while volunteering — much like any paid job.
3. Volunteering is a great way to network and get recommendations for future employment.
If you know that you would like to have a career in a certain field but haven’t worked in it yet, volunteering at an organization that is similar to one you would like to work for is a great way to get an insider's recommendation for a job. Because resources are often limited, many of the organizations that work in the same area of public service are not only familiar with each other, but often times work together in order to accomplish similar goals. A recommendation from an organization that does the same type of work as the one you hope to be employed by is a great way to set yourself apart during the application process.
4. Volunteering will promote valuable talents and skills that will help you in your chosen career.
Graduates just entering the workforce usually don't have a lot of applicable work experience, but volunteering can help you develop the skill set you need to excel in the career of your choice. Say that you are interested in becoming a nurse; volunteering at a hospital will not only allow you to see if you’re interested in working in a hospital long term, but also allow you to gain hands-on experience and skills.
5. Volunteering will foster leadership skills that will aid you later.
Because there is often a great need for volunteers in any given organization, there is often more responsibility bestowed on the few who are working. This is a great opportunity to not only take initiative, but to volunteer to take on the leadership role for a particular project. Often, a staff member at the organization where you volunteer will be glad to hand some responsibility off to a volunteer. Be on the lookout for what needs to be done, and rather than wait for instruction, go ahead and do it, pulling other volunteers into the project along with you. You’ll not only develop important leadership skills; you’ll make a great impression on the organization itself.
No matter how you look at it, there is no downside to volunteering. When you are finished, you’ll look back at the skills you’ve developed and the experiences you’ve had as instrumental in developing your own career in public service. Now get out there!
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Logan Harper is the community manager for MPA@UNC, a top Masters of Public Administration online  program offered through University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as well as a contributor to Online MPA Degrees . In addition to higher education, he is also passionate about travel, cooking, and international politics.
If you are just now entering the workforce and are interested in pursuing a public service career , a great way to prepare for that career is through volunteering. Whether you volunteer for a non-profit, a charity or the government, the benefits you'll get from volunteering could have several positive effects on your future. Here are five positive results from volunteering that you could aid you on your journey to a successful career:

1. Volunteering is a good way to learn time management.
When you volunteer, you must learn to set aside a certain amount of time each week in order to help the organization where you are volunteering. If you are volunteering while also working, your free time can become scarce. It is important that you become aware of all your commitments and set aside time for each of them in order to accomplish your goals. Many organizations you’ll volunteer at will also require a good deal of time management while you are there, as there is usually quite a bit to be done within a short amount of time.

2. Volunteering can build your resume.
If you haven’t worked in the field that you are hoping to enter professionally, consider listing your different volunteering roles in lieu of paid work on your resume. Employers will often look to volunteer work to "fill in the gaps” when hiring employees without a lot of work experience. Not only is volunteer work respected, but employers are aware that there is a lot to be learned while volunteering — much like any paid job.

3. Volunteering is a great way to network and get recommendations for future employment.
If you know that you would like to have a career in a certain field but haven’t worked in it yet, volunteering at an organization that is similar to one you would like to work for is a great way to get an insider's recommendation for a job. Because resources are often limited, many of the organizations that work in the same area of public service are not only familiar with each other, but often times work together in order to accomplish similar goals. A recommendation from an organization that does the same type of work as the one you hope to be employed by is a great way to set yourself apart during the application process.

4. Volunteering will promote valuable talents and skills that will help you in your chosen career.
Graduates just entering the workforce usually don't have a lot of applicable work experience, but volunteering can help you develop the skill set you need to excel in the career of your choice. Say that you are interested in becoming a nurse; volunteering at a hospital will not only allow you to see if you’re interested in working in a hospital long term, but also allow you to gain hands-on experience and skills.

5. Volunteering will foster leadership skills that will aid you later.
Because there is often a great need for volunteers in any given organization, there is often more responsibility bestowed on the few who are working. This is a great opportunity to not only take initiative, but to volunteer to take on the leadership role for a particular project. Often, a staff member at the organization where you volunteer will be glad to hand some responsibility off to a volunteer. Be on the lookout for what needs to be done, and rather than wait for instruction, go ahead and do it, pulling other volunteers into the project along with you. You’ll not only develop important leadership skills; you’ll make a great impression on the organization itself.

No matter how you look at it, there is no downside to volunteering. When you are finished, you’ll look back at the skills you’ve developed and the experiences you’ve had as instrumental in developing your own career in public service. Now get out there!
--
Logan Harper is the community manager for MPA@UNC, a top Masters of Public Administration online  program offered through University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as well as a contributor to Online MPA Degrees . In addition to higher education, he is also passionate about travel, cooking, and international politics.

 

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