Looking for a career can easily become a full-time job in itself. Sometimes the job search can take over other aspects of your life, which can then negatively affect how your search progresses. If you take the time to find out how volunteer work augments your qualifications, you may find that taking a little extra time for volunteer work each week could help you find the career that you have been dreaming of, and take you in a positive directionThere are a few guaranteed ways to use volunteer work to help improve your chances of getting the job you want.

Find organizations that will directly relate to your preferred field: When you are deciding where to volunteer your time, try to find an organization that is somehow related to the field you want to enter. Even if the organization you are volunteering for doesn't seem connected to a certain field, aspects of the job could be. If you hope to work on social media pages for businesses, you could find an animal shelter whose social media presence is practically nonexistent and then offer to work on their pages.

Use your volunteer work to gain helpful skills: By using a volunteer position to gain knowledge that you wouldn't otherwise have, you are taking time that would otherwise be consumed by applying for jobs and making yourself more qualified for those jobs. Continuing with the previous example, if you need to know more about business pages on social media, you could volunteer for a business that does a lot of work on social media and learn from them.

Outline your experience on your resume: All of your volunteer work will be worth nothing if you cannot let your potential employers know exactly how that experience relates to the position you are applying for. When you are working on your resume, don't just say that you volunteered for a certain organization. Explain how that experience will make you a better employee for them. By describing your contributions, employers are able to see how your volunteer work augments your skills and expertise.

By taking just a few hours a week to volunteer, you can help others and gain experience. Be willing to work in a place that you normally wouldn't feel comfortable so that you can distinguish yourself from others in the interview process. Companies will appreciate the time you spent doing work with no monetary reward and will know that you will be a loyal employee with the skills that they are looking for.

Akraya, Inc. supports Code for Fun. If you’re a Bay Area engineering professional, we highly encourage you to volunteer your time today.

Code for Fun is a non-profit organization committed to exposing all students, especially girls, to computer programming at an early age, to help grow the next generation of engineers.

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