It couldn’t be any harder to find a job right now especially in the field that you probably really want to work in. The unemployment rate is causing a lot of students to stay in school, get post-graduate degrees and wait for the jobs to start multiplying again. But there could be more advantages to sticking to the books for an extra two years or so. Volunteering is a great way to get a foot in the door in your field, it’s also a good way to help get more grants and scholarships. With the lack of paying jobs available, volunteering is all some businesses can offer students in college, but they never said an unpaid job couldn’t help you on a resume or job application. Here are a few additional ways volunteering can help you find a job after college.
1. Volunteer in an area you’re passionate about. For instance, if you are planning on going to veterinary school, volunteering at an animal shelter would be in your best interest to help you gain experience. By doing this, students are more likely to take risks and push themselves to excel as well as learn the business they want to go in. Students wishing to volunteer need to research and find volunteer opportunities that coincide with their field of study, not to mention they can acquire mentors and research topics to help them continually educate themselves.
2. Realize that your time is valuable. Volunteering can be extremely helpful in students’ efforts to find a job after graduation, but to make the most of the volunteer experience it’s important to find an area that you’re interested in. Simply volunteering will be more of a waste of time as you won’t be gaining valuable experience nor being paid.
3. It’s all about relationships. Do your research and find out if you will have access to celebrities or executives. These would be great candidates for letters of recommendation or references to help you further your career. Networking is a major part of business and climbing the corporate ladder, so make sure you build positive and productive relatioships in your volunteering opportunities. People you interact with in your position may also know people that could give you some inside information about job openings in your field.
4. Prepare for your interview. Treat your interview with your volunteer organization as if it were a job interview. Practice makes perfect, especially in unfamiliar situations like interviewing. Do your research and learn as much as you can about your company prior to meeting for an interview. Don’t wait for the organization to suggest an idea, be proactive and have an idea about how you can contribute to the company. This makes your volunteer experience a powerful asset on your future resume, possibly even a potential job if there is an opening during your time there.
5. Maintain a balance. The best resumes will have a balance between volunteer experience, internships and paid work experience. Don’t go dedicating all your time to volunteering, but work to have a comprehensive and well rounded resume full of a variety of opportunities. Depending on the industry, volunteering might restrict your work access so find out if there are internships or paid opportunities at neighboring businesses.