If you’re not already volunteering (either locally or virtually) for an organization that’s meaningful to you, think about getting involved.
Savvy business leaders like you have so much to offer organizations that are a good fit for your talents, skills and sensibilities.
And guess what? Along with helping a worthwhile organization, the benefits to you can be immeasurable, whether or not you’re paid for your efforts.
5 Ways Volunteering Helps You, Your Personal Brand and Your Executive Job Search
1. Volunteering affords some terrific networking opportunities.
Serving on a Board of Directors, or in some degree of leadership, may put you elbow to elbow with industry-leading decision makers.
Or these people may be connected in some way with your target companies or industries.
Volunteering takes advantage of one of the essential and most powerful principles of networking – “give to get”.
Your generosity and good work build good will and evangelism for your personal brand.
People who see evidence of your efforts – especially if you don’t shy away from the grunt work – will likely spread the word about you.
And they’ll probably be happy to help you out when you need them.
2. Volunteering builds your credibility and reinforces you as a subject matter expert in your field.
You may already be known as the “go-to” person within your industry for your areas of expertise. Offer up those talents to your local community or in some other respect.
I always advise that my executive job seeking clients work on keeping their personal brand top-of-mind on social media . . . with their network(s) and others who can help them meet their career goals.
Volunteering may be one of the best real-life ways to stay top of mind with your personal network.
It can also connect you with people you may not otherwise ever meet. People who may provide potent job leads.
3. Volunteering – whether or not you’re paid – counts as “work”.
Meaningful volunteering makes for some powerful content to fuel your branded executive job search marketing materials — LinkedIn profile, resume, bio, online profiles, etc.
Steady volunteer work, especially if it’s relevant to the paid work you do, helps fill potential employment gaps in your LinkedIn profile and executive resume.
If you suddenly become unemployed, your volunteer work can sidestep potential red flags.
When I’m writing LinkedIn profiles, resumes, bios, etc. for my clients, I love it when they tell me they have a deep commitment to their community.
Their contributions are especially valuable and compelling in their career bios, a vibrant storytelling vehicle to evidence their “softer” skills, and further differentiate them from their peers.
4. Never underestimate what YOU get from sharing your expertise as a volunteer.
I don’t advise that you volunteer with the agenda to use it to land a job. Do it because you know it’s the right thing to do, and because you know you can help others by sharing your expertise.
That said, helping others will make you feel good. If you’ve been bogged down in job search for any amount of time, it will give you a much needed lift.
And how gratifying it will be if your volunteer work DOES help you get a job, or a solid lead or two, in return.
5. Your volunteer efforts may open you to new career directions that you had never considered before.
Are you at an impasse in your career because you’re dissatisfied with what you’ve been doing?
Or have jobs within your industry dried up?
It may be time to reinvent yourself and re-think your approach to earning a living.
Working and chatting with other volunteers can lead you to a better understanding of what meaningful paid work for you will be.
How Do You Find Good Places To Volunteer Meaningfully?
Think about the causes that you’re passionate about, and look for organizations that make a difference in these areas.
Ask civic-minded people you know what organizations they support.
Schools and hospitals offer many ways to volunteer.
A non-profit Board of Directors may be right up your alley.
Fill a need within your community by starting a new grass roots organization.
Get behind an organization that will benefit from your various areas of expertise and leadership skills.
Keep your eye on doing your part to make it successful. You may soon experience personal and professional dividends. You never know what opportunities may emerge from right in your own backyard.