How To Find A Volunteer Job Opportunity
One of the easiest ways to improve or advance in your career is through volunteering. Regardless of the industry that you are in, there are several opportunities where you can use your skills to promote the growth of your local community and the world at large.
Who Is A Volunteer?
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary 8th edition defines a volunteer as a person who does a job without being paid for it.
A volunteer is someone who out of no compulsion sacrifices their time and resources to perform a task. They do not do it to receive praises, awards, or remuneration, they do it to give back to society without expecting anything in return.
Volunteering is a wide field with diverse opportunities to suit all skill-sets. Volunteers can be found in several industries like the zoo, hospitals, law firms, universities, government parastatals, etc. If you want to add value to your CV or you’re interested in working abroad, volunteering might just be the best option for you.
How to Find A Volunteer Job Opportunity
In other to function effectively as a volunteer, it’s important that you find a position that suits your personality.
The following will guide you on how to find volunteering job opportunities.
- Research: Carrying out in-depth research is one of the best ways to find out about an available volunteering opportunity. As an individual looking for a volunteering job, you need to carry out research on the company that you will like to volunteer for and find out if they have an opportunity for volunteers in their organization. Oftentimes, companies put out volunteering opportunities to reduce costs and improve the existing manpower. You can go through the company’s websites or follow their updates via social media to get updates on volunteering opportunities.
- Passion: The nature of a volunteering job is not one that an individual should walk blindly into. It’s not advisable to jump at any volunteering vacancy because you want to bear the tag of a volunteer. Before you volunteer for any cause, ask yourself if you are passionate about it. This is not a paid job that if you have little or no passion for the job, you will still stay at it because of the payment attached to it which is not the case in volunteering.
Volunteering requires your time, effort, and resources. The need to invest in the cause you are passionate about is not negotiable. If you’re not passionate about a volunteering cause, you’ll lose interest easily and you won’t derive fulfillment.
- Know your why: Volunteering requires a lot from the volunteer. Before you consider volunteering for a cause, ask yourself ‘why’ you’re volunteering.
- Are you volunteering because you’re looking for an avenue to connect with like minds?
- Are you volunteering to build more confidence in your career?
- Are you volunteering because you’re passionate about it?
- Are you volunteering because you have enough time to spare?
Knowing your ‘why’ gives you a sense of direction and clarity and it helps you to define why you want to volunteer.
- Values: Every organization has its values. As a volunteer, you need to know if the values that you uphold align with that of the company/organization that you want to volunteer for.
- Put in the work: Despite the fact that volunteering is different from a paid position, it is still a competitive field. It’s important that you put the same effort you put in while searching or applying for a job.
- Know your skills: Knowing your skills is a great way to decide what volunteering vacancies/offers you can apply for. The ability to identify your skills shows you how your skills will be relevant to the organization that you want to volunteer for. It is important to choose an opportunity that will allow you to showcase your skills.
- Get in touch: There are organizations that may not advertise voluntary programs. It is very important to get in touch with someone that is working in the organization and can give you information about any volunteer job vacancy. If the position that you’re interested in is being advertised, you should still get in touch to find out more.
- Ask the right questions: Do not jump into a volunteering offer without thinking about it thoroughly. You need to find out more about the voluntary position to know if it’s something you can do or cannot do. You can ask the company that you want to volunteer for the following questions.
- How long will l volunteer?
- Is your company going to cover some of my expenses?
- How will volunteering for this cause be of benefit to me?
If you are seeking to gain clarity, always ask.
- Time: Time is a very important factor to consider before volunteering for a cause. Individuals volunteer for different reasons. Some people do not volunteer because they want to gain experience for better job placement in the future. They do it because they want to give back to society.
Whatever reason you have, before you send that application to volunteer, ensure that you must have calculated the amount of time that you have to spare. There are long-term and short-term volunteer vacancies, you need to decide on the one that will be favorable to you. This will help you to create a balance even if your time is limited.
- Social media: Social media is a great place to search for volunteering job opportunities. Companies put up volunteering positions via social media. Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn are great places to look for volunteering job opportunities.
- Prepare your curriculum vitae (CV): As an individual looking forward to volunteering, always make sure that you have written your CV. Companies or organizations ask volunteers to submit their CVs before they will be given an opportunity to volunteer.
Why You Should Volunteer
There are different benefits attached to volunteering. Volunteering is a gateway to bigger opportunities.
The following are reasons why you should volunteer.
- Experience: Hiring managers prefer to hire a prospective employee that has previous work experience in the field rather than employing a newbie or a rookie. Volunteering gives you an opportunity to gain experience that may open bigger doors in the future. You may consider volunteering as a way to gain experience to have access to a paid job.
- Building a network: The easiest and fastest way to build your network is through volunteering. Aside from the fun and the experience, volunteering gives you an opportunity to network with individuals that you may not have had access to if you were not volunteering.
Volunteering helps you to connect with like minds that might be influential to your growth.
- Confidence: Over time, volunteering has proven to be a confidence booster. You may apply to work for an organization and the prior knowledge you had on the job via volunteering will build the confidence that you need to carry out your job roles effectively. If you’re seeking to build your confidence in a field, you should consider volunteering.
- Competence: Volunteering helps you to build competence in a particular field.
- Learning more about yourself: Through volunteering, you can learn more about yourself. Volunteering most times takes you out of your comfort zone. While learning a new skill through volunteering, you will discover that apart from the skills you possess, there are other skills that were innate which volunteering for a cause brought to your realization.
Learning something new about yourself leads to growth advancement. Truth is, volunteering opens you up to a new world of possibilities.
- Securing a job: One of the convenient ways to secure a job in a company is through volunteering. Being a volunteer gives you an edge over any job applicant that applied for a job vacancy in the company that you are volunteering for. When there is a new job opportunity in the organization that you are volunteering for, you will be the first person that the hiring manager may consider giving the job to because you have already acquainted yourself with the company’s values and culture.
- Improve existing skills/gain new skills: If you’re looking for an opportunity to improve your skills and gain new skills, you should consider volunteering. Volunteering gives you room to gain mastery over your existing skills alongside learning new skills.
- Recommendation: Hiring managers request a recommendation letter from an employee before hiring him/her. The recommendation letter gives the employer an insight into the person that they are about to hire. No hiring manager will like to hire an employee that will ruin the company’s reputation. The easiest way to get a recommendation letter is through volunteering. You can ask the company that you’re volunteering with to write a recommendation letter for you.
Finally, when applying for a volunteer job opportunity, always make an effort to lay emphasis on the eagerness and zeal to help your chosen cause and make a positive impact. After you have found the right volunteering position, make sure that you enjoy the experience, network with great individuals, and most importantly learn.
Regardless of the skills that you have, remember that all voluntary roles require commitment, determination, and hard work. So if you know you are not ready to commit to a cause, do not try volunteering.