How to Develop Job Skills Through Volunteering

Volunteering is an excellent way to gain new job skill. You will be able to add the new skill to your resume and prove you are truly passionate about your chosen field of work. The opportunity to improve on inter-personal skills such as management, communication and teamwork ability is another plus. Volunteering will also allow you to make connections with those already working in the industry. As a networking opportunity, volunteer work is as good as paid work. In addition, some industries are very hard to break into - volunteering will help give you an edge in these cases.

Preparing Your Cover Letter

Before you look for a volunteering position, you must prepare your cover letter. This includes being clear on what sort of workplace would suit you, and tailoring your resume to suit the job you are looking for. You may also wish to bring along samples of your work, or other qualifications you have gained. Prepare a cover letter which outlines briefly your intentions and major achievements.

How to Find Volunteer Work

There are a number of websites devoted to finding volunteer work, whatever your region. You may also consider going straight to the source, and contacting particular workplaces to see if they take on volunteers. If you are a tertiary student, check to see whether your school has a volunteering service. Also, a company's website will have a volunteering section. Consider going into the workplace in person, bringing in a hard copy of your work date will make a better impression than an online application, particularly where competition is high.

Timing is important when looking for volunteer work. Try not to leave your search until just before the university holidays, because you will be fighting other students for a small amount of openings. Start looking at least two months before you intend to begin.

The Interview

Before you begin volunteer work, you will be asked to an interview. The interviewer will usually be your supervisor, or manager. They will outline the requirements and hours of the job, and ask you a number of questions. You must bring a datebook and/or PDA, and a notebook with any questions you wish to ask yourself.

Questions they are likely to ask include:

  • Why are you seeking volunteer work?
  • If you study, how will your contact hours mesh with volunteer work?
  • Have you worked as a volunteer before?
  • What are your career objectives?

Think about these questions deeply, and make sure your intentions are communicated properly. Good answers are usually something like: you are taking on volunteer work in this industry because you wish to gain paid work, enhance and gain new skills, and gain a better understanding of the industry. Volunteers must spend time networking if they want to make their way into a competitive industry.

Workplace Conduct

When working as a volunteer, you must conduct yourself in professional manner. This is your chance to shine professionally. Dress appropriately, be punctual, and maintain a good relationship with your supervisor. Absorb all the information you can. A notebook is very helpful because it can help you organize everything. Write down names, titles, duties and anything else required of you. Say yes to whatever job you can and wherever you can. Be open and willing to learn.