Editor’s Note: This blog entry was written by Ashley Lipman, a marketing specialist for “The Blog Frog”.
Volunteering is the best way to try a career before you commit. In this day and age, it’s hard to decide on just one career path, especially when things are changing so rapidly. Not only does volunteering give you an opportunity to try new things, but you can also gain valuable career experience to boost your application.
Whether you’re in school or looking to change careers, volunteering empowers you with the skills and network you need to make the best decision. Keep reading to explore how volunteering can change your career path for the better.
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Gain Experience and Skills
When you’re in school, you have the opportunity to learn a lot about several career fields. That being said, it’s harder to learn hands-on skills inside a classroom. When you work in the real-world through a volunteer experience, you get to put the things you learned in the classroom to good use while learning even more.
By working with others in your field, you gather valuable experience from their experience. Future employers want to see examples of you working well with a team. As a volunteer, you’re expected to work well under supervisors and with your fellow volunteers. Depending on your chosen volunteer experience, you might work directly with members of the public as well.
It’s hard to gain confidence in yourself and your skills if you have no experience or real-world skills. As a volunteer, you add so much more to your education than you ever can inside a classroom or library.
Try a New Career
The best part about volunteering is learning about a new career without having to commit to the structure of an actual job. Because more volunteer opportunities are for a limited amount of time, you’re able to experience what a career is really like without having to dedicate your career to a new role.
By trying a new career, you gain confidence in your career path. You can spend your entire life thinking a single career path is right for you only to realize as a volunteer that it was never [a right fit]. Maybe it wasn’t what you were thinking, or the role doesn’t align with your goals. You’ll never know until you try.
If you’re on the fence about a different career path, try volunteering. Give yourself a chance to experience something new and decide if it’s right for you. This is the best time to explore.
Make a Difference
Few things are as satisfying as really making a difference in your community and beyond. Not only will you gain experience, but you’ll be helping in an area that needs it. Finding volunteer opportunities today that matter is easier than ever. Whether you’re looking for sustainable scientist volunteer opportunities or hospital jobs, there’s a position waiting for you.
In this day and age, there’s a never-ending need for sustainability. On Sustainable Scientists, we highlight ways to help your community through research, hosting educational events, or supporting members of a sustainable organization.
We all stand to learn something from making a difference in the world. This also reflects powerfully on our career search later. Having volunteer experience that shows your commitment to making the world a better place goes a long way towards proving your passion and excitement for helping others.
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Lead with Confidence
Having confidence in your career doesn’t happen overnight. You need experience to back up your feelings, whether you’re charging into a well-known field or uncharted territory. By volunteering with a worthy organization, you gain confidence in yourself and your new skills.
Volunteering isn’t always easy. You’re pushed from your comfort zone and told to try new things. Handling these new tasks and obstacles successfully will let you know you’re ready to take on anything. Fight discouragement in your career path with your own confidence.
When you help others and your community, you feel useful. You’re productive, and you’re active in ways you haven’t been before. That leads to a feeling of belonging that won’t fade away anytime soon.
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Are you ready to make a difference? Now is the best time to experiment with your career. The world needs enthusiastic volunteers, and you are always in a position to grow your skills. By helping others, you help yourself and your job. This is a win-win we can all get behind.
You can look in your local community for places to volunteer as well as through your university if you’re enrolled in a program. Consider fields you’re already interested in, but don’t be afraid to try something new and unexpected. You never know what you might find when you open your mind.