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How Being a Volunteer Helps You Land Your First Job


It can be difficult to get your foot in the door if you don't have working experience. Many entry-level positions have requirements for 1-2 years of experience (which is weird considering the position is an entry-level position). Which begs the question: how are you supposed to get an entry-level job if you can't get any work experience first?

Volunteering your services early on is a great way of getting professional experience without the stringent requirements of a full-time position. By offering up your services on a volunteer basis, you can get valuable experience working on the things you want, create a portfolio full of work that you contributed to during your time at the company, and participate in an office setting.

Gain skills & experience

One of the main benefits of volunteering is that you'll gain applicable skills in various fields, especially if you're able to tie down volunteer opportunities that are directly related to the field you want to go into. For example, if you're interested in marketing, you can look for volunteer opportunities that request help on social media platforms or content creation. These types of experiences are great because you'll be able to dip your feet into different fields and experience the various things that might interest you.

Even if you volunteer for an opportunity that doesn't relate to the industry you're trying to enter, there are a lot of transferable skills that you can use in future jobs. Learn about project management, data creation or analysis, business development, or even something simple like supply organization. There are so many different skills that you can gain from working as a volunteer that will make you a more interesting candidate for potential recruiters. These will all serve build out your CV and provide great examples to talk about during interviews.

Create a strong portfolio

If you're someone who's looking to work with creatives, volunteer opportunities are great for fleshing out your portfolio. If you're a web developer, you can help a company or non-profit organization revamp their website or even web applications. If you do design work, you can make art assets or design pieces for these companies. If you write, you can help create web copy, blog about specific topics, or even landing page copy.

Having a portfolio to show off your work instantly makes you more attractive to recruiters in companies, as it allows them to see the quality of work you can produce. Just be sure to put in as much effort as you can, as your work that's being displayed is what you're being judged by!

Participate in an office setting

Something that can be very intimidating for new hires is how they'll adapt to an office environment. If it's the first time you've ever worked for a company, you might not be aware of office etiquette. There will be offices with different company cultures and the vibe of your workplace might differ, but it's always good to get acquainted with what you might expect when you work in a more professional setting.

Volunteering allows you to dive straight into a professional work setting. Learn more about traditional company office protocols, when to CC people into emails, or how to work with the management chain (such as who to approach first with problems or issues). These are all valuable things that you can gain by working in a volunteer capacity.

Regardless of the circumstances, having a volunteer position on your resume is a huge boon to fresh graduates looking for employment opportunities. You'll have a lot of competition when you're seeking out entry-level jobs, so make sure you have every advantage that you can get your hands on.

Chris Chu

Freelance writer, passionate about professional and personal development.

4 min read

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