Four Ways to Make a Difference While Advancing Your Career

Make a difference

Can you make a difference and still advance your career? Will volunteering boost your career opportunities? Let’s take a look…..

It’s quite noble to want to give back to your community, but volunteering doesn’t often advance your career or put food on the table. However, it is very possible to simultaneously advance your career while becoming a leader in the community. Consider these four methods of making a difference while boosting your chances of landing a better-paying career—and one that you love.

1. Focus on Education

Maybe you don’t have as much time to volunteer as you would like. Instead, focus the free evening and weekend hours you do have on working toward a communications degree, which will increase your hireability. Once you earn your degree, aim your career search at the particular organizations that give back to the community. Even nonprofits need qualified workers for positions such as personnel recruiter, public information officer and promotion specialist, all of which require graduates with a degree, as well as experience, in communication.

However, you’re not limited to communications. Additional specialties can include the following areas:

  • Leadership
  • Social work
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Education

Any degree, though, can qualify you for a position that allows you to give back to the community. If you already have an undergraduate degree, go instead with a more community-oriented specialization when you work towards your graduate degree ultimately. Study what you love and earn a degree to expand your career opportunities for the future.

2. Volunteer to Network

Networking is an essential part of advancing your career, and there is absolutely no better place to network than a volunteer organization or event. When you prove to your peers that you’re hard-working, generous and willing to give your time for others, you’re already demonstrating the qualities that most employers find desirable. If community organizers and fellow volunteers see these qualities in you, they may consider you to fill positions that would adequately fit your strengths.

Also, let those with whom you volunteer know you’re looking to move ahead in your career. Focus on the volunteer work and you won’t have to remind others of your interest. Rather, it will be evident.

3. Boost Your Resume with Service Experience

Volunteering on a regular basis is a great way to network and potentially advance your career; however, even if the group thinks highly of you, don’t be discouraged if they are unable to offer you a job opportunity. In that case, you should continue to volunteer and send out resumes for future consideration elsewhere. Frequent volunteer work looks great on any resume and shows leadership skills. Volunteer experience is certainly an excellent quality to present in a job interview. If an interviewer asks you to describe a time you demonstrated leadership, you can explain your volunteer experiences, which will impress the interviewer as well as exhibit your leadership skills, as well as your desire to serve. If you need references, you can turn to your fellow volunteers and community organizers who have seen you at work.

4. Start with Non-Paying Positions

Find a community organization with salaried employees, such as a nonprofit, and see what volunteer opportunities they have. They may not have open paying positions at the time, but chances are they’re always looking for volunteers to help with their missions. Following the other tips in addition to having an advanced degree, such as a masters in leadership, offers you an even greater shot at paying jobs in the future.

When paying jobs become available, employers are more likely to offer you the job if they already know your commitment to serving the organization’s goals. There’s no need for the potential employer to call around and see how well you’d fit in—you already do!


This has been a Guukle guest post

Author Bio: Nathan Schumaker is a contributing writer and human resources coordinator for a non-profit organization. He contributes to many blogs with advice about volunteer and education. He’s also working on earning his master’s degree at the moment.