Career Boost through Volunteering!

Does your job offer formal on-the-job training?  What about continuing education opportunities?  How about career advancement?

Many firms are small and don’t have budgets for training even when times are good.

So…what do you do?

For myself, volunteering with non-profits has been a great opportunity to build career and networking skills not available in the work environment.  If your work load has been a little light (ie. maybe you are under-employed), it also gives you a little something to do while learning these new skills.

So what are some skills you can learn while volunteering with an organization?

Networking:

“Networking is not enough in today’s competitive market – you also have to nurture and maintain your connects.” – Marja Harmer

There are many opportunities to network in your club, at Toastmasters Leadership Institutes (which are free to members), outside training sessions, visiting other clubs, and even speaking at other non-profit groups.  Toastmasters is an international organization so the opportunities to network and develop new relationships are only limited by your personal goals or initiative.

Teamwork:

“The ability to work with diverse people is one’s passport to success.” – Thomas Halasz

Working with other people in a volunteer group to put on a meeting, develop a training session, develop a public relations campaign, put out a newsletter or blog teaches many valuable skills necessary in a successful operation.  Let me just say, the skills you learn leading a volunteer Team is extremely valuable.  I find the evaluations/constructive feedback helpful also.

Initiative:

Some employers may pay for your Toastmasters membership dues, but there are activities that you will work on outside of the meetings that require that internal initiative.  Preparing your speeches, preparing for your leadership roles as Toastmasters, Table Topics Masters, etc. are on your own time.  How many employers do you know looking for “self-starters”?

For an excellent article with more tips, see the article Career Boost by Jennifer L. Blanck, DTM in the January 2012 issue of Toastmasters Magazine.

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