Volunteering is an admirable activity. You are dedicating your time and energy to a worthy cause for an organization that you presumably respect.
What if you decide that you would eventually like to work there? There are many things you can do to help yourself transition from volunteer to employee, which can be particularly useful for cancer survivors who took time off from work but volunteered during/after treatment.
The website Idealist offers some suggestions on how to turn your volunteer gig into a permanent job:
- Be committed. Consistency and communication are extremely important. Showing up to volunteer when you are scheduled to do so illustrates that you are dedicated and responsible. If you can’t make it to your volunteer gig, be sure to communicate that to the volunteer department. The organization will notice if you’re a no-show, and that won’t bode well for any potential jobs with them in the future.
- Build relationships. As a volunteer, you are in a great position to network with different employees throughout the organization. Take advantage of your volunteer status by setting up face-to-face time with people in departments in which you might be interested in working. Get to know staffers and let them get to know you, so that your resume is not just another submission in the pile of anonymous CVs.
- Stay connected. Even if you leave your volunteer position, stay in touch! Send occasional emails or holidays cards to the employees you connected with at the organization. Maintaining communication will help to ensure that the relationships you developed as a volunteer remain current.
- Learn about the organization. Volunteering allows you to learn about the organization from the inside out. Knowing a lot about the mission, vision and values of the organization can be advantageous for your job application and during interviews. There is a significant difference between being a volunteer and being an employee, so starting to take note of how the organization operates can help you determine whether having a staff job there would be a good fit.
- Be passionate about the cause. If you’re already volunteering at an organization, it’s probably safe to assume that you feel connected to its mission. Being able to outwardly demonstrate that connection and dedication is equally important. Current employees should be able to see your passion as well as your ability to work hard and get the job done, before you land an official staff position.
- Think about the skills you can demonstrate. Volunteering in any position gives you the opportunity to highlight skills such as leadership, attention to detail, being a team player and taking initiative. Regardless of the department you volunteer in, it’s important to always think about how you can exhibit skills that are less tangible.
If you are thinking of returning to work and/or changing careers, check out some of these helpful CAC resources: