Are you early in your career or starting a new one? Looking for ways to build and demonstrate new skills? If you said yes, volunteering is a great opportunity for you!

Before volunteeringPam (The Office) says

After volunteering

Spongebob holding a list, which unfurls around his house.

Choose Your Target Skills

Identify the skills you want to work on before you choose a volunteer opportunity. What do you need to practice to help your career?

  • List soft and hard skills you would like to develop.

  • Look for the skills you want to practice in volunteer opportunity listings.

  • In your interview, identify the skills that are most important to you and ask how often you will be able to use them.

  • If listed volunteer positions aren't a close match to your target skills, propose a new role.

Animated checklist

Quiz

Isabel is an aspiring graphic designer. She is happy with her portfolio, but wants to work on her communication skills. Which of these potential volunteer opportunities would be the best choice?

Dog walking for an animal rescue

Organizing toys for a toy drive

Selling concessions for a fundraiser

Tutoring for a community center

Build Relationships

Volunteering is a great opportunity to meet people with similar interests. The people you volunteer with will have a chance to see your work firsthand and can be excellent references.

To get the most out of these connections:

  • Discuss your career goals.

  • Stay in touch when you move on from your volunteer position.

Two people work together to plant a green wall

Try A Career Path

Are you considering a new career? Volunteering can allow you to try a job before you make a career change.

In addition to helping you decide if a career is right for you, your experience will build confidence that will help you take the first steps in your new career.

Two paths branching

Keep Notes

Start a volunteering journal to help you track your growth and cement your learning.

Make a habit of writing in it each time you volunteer. When applying to jobs, look to your journal for evidence of your success to include in your resume, cover letter, and interviews.

A person writing in a journal

Take Action

A woman making a check symbol with her hands

Use this checklist to start getting the most from volunteering!

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This Byte has been authored by

AG

Abby Goodlaxson

Teacher, High School Technology