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Volunteering for Your Future

Volunteering can jumpstart your career.

Roxana Hadad

April 21, 2009

Volunteering for Your Future

You're getting the most out of your education and job preparation by doing your best in class. But you can continue your education outside of class as well by volunteering. Volunteering teaches you more about yourself and your world while preparing you for the future and connecting you to your community.

Community Service for Career Building

You'll get more than just warm fuzzies from performing community service. Volunteering can help you:

    • Gain practical skills and experience. Volunteer positions can develop your problem-solving and organizational skills, your ability to multi-task and work well under pressure - which are great skills to have on the job.
    • Explore possible career tracks. Volunteering is a risk-free way to try out a field you're interested in without making a long-term commitment.
    • Build a strong networking base. The people you meet while volunteering can make great mentors, giving you career information and insight - and even reference letters and news about job openings.
    • Develop your interpersonal skills. Community service jobs involve working with a variety of people from different social, economic and cultural backgrounds. You'll learn to operate effectively in a diverse workplace.
    • Prove that you care. Apathy isn't in demand. Volunteer work demonstrates your motivation, energy and enthusiasm.

    Opportunities Near You

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    There are opportunities to make a difference all around you. But choose carefully. Look for a position that will help you feel connected to your community, but that is also conveniently located and fits your schedule. Here's where to start your search:

      • Look for postings on campus. Departmental bulletin boards, campus kiosks and university Web sites are good places to check for volunteer opportunities.
      • Check with clubs or your fraternity or sorority. Lots of campus organizations set up volunteer positions for their members. Ask club officers for more information.
      • Call your area Chamber of Commerce. Many businesses and civic organizations coordinate volunteer efforts. In addition to helping you find volunteer opportunities, working with business leaders can give you connections that may come in handy when you're looking for a job.
      • Contact campus organizations that interest you. Many community service organizations operate active chapters on college campuses.

      Thousands of organizations are looking for motivated students just like you. You might not get a hefty paycheck, but what you do get in return will be invaluable.

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