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Volunteer Your Way to Your Next Job


If you are considering a career change, or if you’re just curious about non-profit work, volunteering is a way to check it out without making a long-term commitment.  Plus, you gain experience, establish contacts, and get to contribute to a valuable cause.

For military spouses, volunteering is a great way to connect with people in a new community and check out the potential for a new career at the same time. For example, if you have always wanted to go to grad school for nursing, volunteer at a hospital or clinic. Your experience gives you the insight you might need to decide if a career path is right for you.

Plus, after you’ve volunteered for a little while, you become better positioned to learn about industry trends, job opportunities at similar organizations, and even job openings in the organization you are volunteering with.

But be careful. Although one of the perks of volunteering is the chance to grow your network and build your resume, professionals within those organizations can smell a serial networker right away.

It’s important to choose an organization because you believe in its mission – not because you desire the social clout of its employees or other volunteers. Choose an organization that supports a cause that you have a heart for, one that you can believe in and be passionate about. When you have a sincere passion for your work, it shows. The powerful combination of passion and skills is what will bring opportunities — not your ability to namedrop.

Remember like virtually everyplace else in America, budgets are tight for nonprofits. Don’t be discouraged if you fall in love with a group but they simply aren’t hiring. Even if you don’t get a job offer, you can still get a recommendation letter, learn new things, and meet new people while you do something worthwhile.

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