How to Find a Great Volunteer Position


Volunteering can be an effective way to progress in your career, but not all volunteer opportunities are created equal.  Since you are going to be investing your time, it is important to carefully select a volunteer opportunity that will support your career goals:

Find the right cause.  You will be a lot more committed to your volunteer work if it is a cause that you are passionate about.  However, if you are planning to include your volunteer position on your resume, don’t choose an organization that will give away your religious beliefs, political affiliations, or any other sensitive information.  You may want to choose a cause that has some relation to your career.

Pay attention to the tasks you will be doing.  The tasks that you do when volunteering can range from creating marketing plans, to preparing financial statements, to sorting canned food.  Often smaller organizations will give you more interesting volunteer opportunities.  Make sure that the tasks that you are doing will add value to your resume.

Think about networking opportunities.  The number of opportunities that you get to expand your network will again depend a lot on where you are volunteering and what you are doing.  If you are volunteering where you would like to work, then you just have to connect with as many people as possible.  Consider the volunteer position and try to determine how many people you will have the opportunity to connect with.  Volunteer positions on committees or a boards of directors are both great opportunities to make connections.

Be aware of the time commitment.  Before you commit to being a volunteer, make sure that you understand how much time will be involved.  Keeping in mind that the work is not paid, you need to leave enough time to do paid work or to continue your job search strategy.

Regularly evaluate the value of this position.  Sometimes positions that were initially very promising don’t offer the opportunities that you had hoped for.  Remember that your time is valuable so if a particular position isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to move on.

(Written by Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at























































































































































(Written by Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at


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