Volunteering: A Great Way to Build Your Network
You work 40 hours a week, pick up the kids and sometimes take them to their after-school activities, make dinner and do the dishes, shower, and the next thing you know, it's time to go to bed. Who has time to volunteer? All too often, we are so busy with work and our personal lives that volunteering isn't even on our radar. However, volunteering is a great way to support your community or an organization, share your current skills and develop new ones. It's also a great way to build your network.
Where to Start
Getting started is easy—think about the causes you care about and search for ways to help in your community. Visit the websites of the organizations you are interested in to see what opportunities are available. If any of those are a good match with your skills and interests, talk to someone with the organization to see what training you might need, if any, and when you can start.
At first you won't want to bite off more than you can chew, so start small by volunteering just an hour or two a week, or maybe once a month. Whatever you feel you can fit into your schedule will be appreciated. If possible, get your kids involved—it sets a great example and helps them realize the importance of helping others.
Volunteering & Networking
Besides being a great thing to do for your community, volunteering is a great way to build your network. Networking can teach you more about other companies in your community and meet people you may not have met otherwise. This can be helpful if you are between jobs, because volunteering gives you the opportunity to show off your professional skills or at the very least, keep them sharp. You might even learn about new ways you can apply your skills that lead to new career paths.
Besides feeling good about helping, volunteering looks great on a resume. And yes, it's okay to include that on your resume. Many companies volunteer and look for employees who are civic-minded as well. If you are already employed, you may be approached about a new opportunity, even if you aren't looking for one. At the very least, you might make a few new friends.