“Networking” is that fragile web of connections you have with other people and volunteering can strengthen that web in several ways. Here are some of the advantages a voluntary approach to networking can add to your career:
- Maintaining activity through volunteer work in your field keeps you in contact with potential employers and co-workers. When an opening comes up, they remember meeting you at several events. They also remember what you were like to work with! Staying active is good for you too, because it keeps you in the habit of productivity.
- Voluntary experience is still experience on a resume. The experience problem has a solution, and that solution is gaining experience by doing productive activity in your field or in areas that can translate to a potential position. Organizing a fund raiser for the SPCA shows leadership skills, administrative ability, and community awareness: it doesn’t only apply to animal rescue.
- Working as a volunteer often leads to working for a paycheck. More than one position has been created because the organization realized a volunteer who was going to leave as soon as they found a job somewhere else was a worker they wanted to keep. It’s also a good way to be in on job openings before they are posted publicly.
Volunteering does not have to be a full-time position. In fact, it’s generally not a good idea to fill your unemployed days with overwhelming voluntary activities when you should be working on your job search. But it definitely has a place in your career path and investing in carefully chosen volunteer work will enhance your networking in ways that will benefit you.