Saturday, August 7, 2010


How Volunteering Can Boost Your Creative Career
Tai Goodwin

Income…$0. Value…Priceless.

It’s always a good thing to give back. Whether it is doing hands on service with a group like Habitat for Humanity, or assisting in the back office of a local non-profit, there are benefits beyond money that come from volunteering. Apart from just the positive feeling of sowing good actions into a cause you believe in and the impact on the lives of the recipients, volunteering can also help your career. Here are six ways volunteering can help your creative career:

1. It can fuel your passion. If your current job is not your ideal work, volunteering at something you enjoy is an alternative source of the passion you can’t get from your job right now.

2. You can practice new skills. No opportunity in your current job to stretch or learn something new? Find a volunteer opportunity that allows you to explore new roles and skills you’d like to develop. You can add this experience to your resume.

3. Volunteer your way into a potential job. Maybe you don’t have the experience to earn the paid position yet. Signing on as a volunteer gives you a chance to learn the organization, build relationships there, and show you have what it takes to do job.

4. Volunteering is an opportunity to expand your network. Not only will you meet people who support the same cause, you will find people that have personal and professional connections that can help you – especially if you are looking for a job.

5. Exposure to new ways of doing things. Seeing how another organization runs things, and being exposed to different ways of managing, brainstorming, solving problems, can provide a fresh way to look at the challenges you face in your paid position.

6. You can use it as a team building experience. This one goes beyond just you. Do you lead or work with a team? Finding a group volunteering opportunity can be a low-cost way to do good and re-establish positive connections with your team.

Looking for volunteer opportunities? Here’s a few links to jump-start your search:
Network for Good

Volunteer Match Powered by Network for Good has additional volunteering info on main site
Global Volunteer Network: Volunteer abroad
BoardNet: Serve on a non-profit board

Tai Goodwin, “The Career Makeover Coach”, is a life and career coach who works with professionals who need a professional reinvention. She is the Career Coach Examiner for St. Paul, MN and host of Career Makeover Strategies on TalkShoe Radio. You can find more articles tips and resources on her blog:
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