How to volunteer to advance your career

Top Ways Volunteering Will Help You Advance Your Job – The tremendous advantages of volunteering include the opportunity of full development like a productive person in society. Whenever your normal work isn’t supplying as numerous career possibilities as you would like, you may consider volunteering.

There’s an array of volunteer possibilities available. Non-profit organizations may be artistic, sports, educational, ecological, religious or crowdfunding anyway. The Internet has empowered individuals from all walks of existence to take a position time, money and into causes they are concerned about.

  • Many Volunteer Opportunities are Available
  • Learn New Skills
  • Improve and Refine Your Skills

Video advice: Volunteer to Advance Your Career

3 Ways Volunteer Work Value-Adds to Your Career – Beyond the obvious benefits of helping out in the community and impacting lives, volunteering can also help you further your career.

Also, given that volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a robust support system, it can prevent against or mitigate depression. Volunteer work can even counter burnout from your day-to-day job, which is often associated with detrimental health effects like anxiety and insomnia.

  1. Finetunes networking skills & expands your professional circle
  2. Helps you to pick up new & valuable skills
  3. Improves mental health & boosts confidence
  4. Always pick a cause you feel strongly for

volunteering isn’t just socially responsible, it’s good for your career

We all know how good it feels to be generous. Doing unto others is an important part of most religious doctrines and guides how most of us share this planet and lead lives that have meaning and purpose.That sentiment especially true as the holiday season approaches, a not-too-subtle reminder that t.

That sentiment especially true as the holiday season approaches, a not-too-subtle reminder that there’s time to flex our giving muscles. At the risk of sounding less than altruistic, giving back is beneficial on both sides. As a volunteer, you’re doing something great for your community, but you stand to benefit too. It’s hard to think of a better example of a win-win situation.

  • try out a different field of study or a new career.
  • build out your resume or gain on-the-job experience.
  • hone existing skills or learn new ones.
  • create or expand your network.
  • impress hiring managers.
  • gain ‘real world’ experience.
  • avoid idle time or boredom.
  • move ahead in your organization.
  • feel productive, and good about your contributions.
  • stay active in retirement.
  • looking for a change of pace in your career?
  • find what you’re passionate about.

career-boosting benefits of volunteering

If you’re a new grad or just getting acquainted with a new field, you may not have had hands-on learning opportunities to put your new skills to use. Book-learning is great, but sometimes recruiters are looking for a little more. Volunteering is an ideal way to pick up on-the-job experience, particularly when you’re having trouble locating paid jobs. Willingness to commit and a desire to contribute are pretty much all you need to find meaningful volunteer opportunities.

Video advice: Volunteer to Advance Your Career

Helping Build Job Skills and Networks While Promoting Social Change, Volunteerism Can Accelerate Your Career

Work experience is critical to moving forward in your career. But did you know that you can also gain many valuable job skills through volunteering? As an agent for social change, volunteering allows you to impact communities while also accelerating your career. Strategic volunteering enables you to learn more about what activities and fields you enjoy, identify your strengths, build connections, and gain important skills and experiences.

According to a report by the Corporation for National and Community Service, candidates with volunteer experience have a 27% better chance of finding employment than non-volunteer counterparts. 1 Furthermore, in a Deloitte survey of human resources executives, 81% felt skilled volunteering should be considered in a hiring decision and 76% felt volunteering made a candidate more desirable—with the desirability factor even higher for volunteer experience among college graduates. 2

How to volunteer to advance your career

What makes volunteering strategic? Denise Pranke, a senior career advisor at Walden University, says strategic volunteering empowers job candidates “to develop stories of accomplishments and achievements that you can share.” She recommends that volunteers promote their relevant experiences through résumés, CVs, cover letters, portfolios, LinkedIn profiles, and interviews, all of which help candidates exhibit their qualifications. 3

Some skills you might gain during strategic volunteering include: 3

  • Public speaking
  • Presentation skills
  • Technology skills
  • Communications
  • Social media
  • Project management
  • Training
  • Leadership

These skills aren’t just worthwhile for volunteering: They prepare you to excel in your career. Leadership, public speaking, presentation, project management, technology, and communications skills help you become a better employee in any profession. The skills, experience, and education gained impress socially conscious companies long after your volunteer period.

Volunteering also allows you to experience many aspects or parts of an organization with which you wouldn’t necessarily interact. Perhaps you’ll learn that you have a proficiency for accounting when volunteering for a food bank, or global health while volunteering for a free health clinic. Maybe you’ll discover you’re especially adept at grassroots messaging or social media while volunteering for a community arts program. These are just some examples of social change that could impact both you and the lives of those you serve for the better.

When you’re already working, volunteering can also advance your career. It can help you reinforce skills you’re already learning at work, develop new skills and possibilities, and give you another venue to build leadership skills. All of these opportunities make you a more qualified and desirable candidate for your next job.

In addition to introducing new skills, strategic volunteering can provide you with valuable networking prospects. With so many socially conscious individuals working toward greater goals, volunteering provides ample opportunities to connect with like-minded people.

With a warm attitude and engaging interaction with your volunteer network, you never know when the connections you cultivate might lead to future career or growth opportunities. Perhaps it could lead to connecting with a social entrepreneur on a future project. Maybe you’ll interview for and gain employment in your ideal role at a company with strong corporate social responsibility principles. Your volunteer network might also lead to other activities as well, like the opportunity to give presentations or speak on a panel.

Volunteerism unites people from differing industries and backgrounds for a common goal. This creates a unique network for volunteers, and one completely unlike those they might develop in their job fields. Not only does volunteering provide uncommon connections, it may also initiate rare opportunities. Make it a priority to meet lots of people while volunteering—you never know who might be plugged in to greater prospects. All networking is useful.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs online in business, communication, social work, nursing, education, psychology, criminal justice, and more. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

Whether looking for information on programs, admissions, or financial aid, we’re here to help.

Fill out the form and we will contact you to provide information about furthering your education.

There are many intriguing ways for you to advance your career. Unfortunately, many jobs in Edmonton might require you to fulfill so many mundane day-to-day tasks that you are not able to develop any new skills. How can you advance your career in such circumstances?

The tremendous benefits of volunteering include the potential for full development as a productive member of society. When your regular job is not providing as many career opportunities as you want, you might consider volunteering.

Learn the top ways volunteering can help you advance your career.

How to volunteer to advance your careerVolunteering can help your career by gaining additional work experience or refining your skills. You can also make a difference in the world by donating your time to help others.

Volunteering Creates Amazing Benefits

A successful business provides products and services that the public needs. What do Edmonton citizens need? When you get out of your office cubicle, you can mingle with the public to learn about their primary concerns.

Life does not always go the way that people want. Charitable organizations can fill in the gaps. They might provide a bridge from a difficult predicament to a better life.

Struggling individuals cannot be productive members of society until they get back on their feet. Often, charities and volunteers provide a safety net to help the most unfortunate.

Who Might Benefit Most from Volunteering?

Who might benefit the most from volunteering? The college graduate, unemployed and those going through a career change might benefit the most from volunteer work.

Employers don’t like to see gaps in your work history. You can fill these in with volunteer activities. Remain productive and active to get the best jobs in Edmonton.

Many Volunteer Opportunities are Available

There is a myriad of volunteer opportunities available. Non-profit organizations might be artistic, athletic, educational, environmental, religious or crowdfunding in nature. The World Wide Web has empowered people from all walks of life to invest their time, money and energy into causes they care about.

Crowdfunding is a prime example.

Crowdfunding Platforms

Crowdfunding platforms allow regular individuals to invest in what they care about. It might be a special Indie film. Someone had a great idea for a movie, but Hollywood was not interested.

Charitable crowdfunding allows people to invest their time volunteering in the development of products and services. Banks might not have believed that there was a profitable market for certain activities. You can volunteer and promote your interests.

And, some of the volunteer crowdfunding opportunities straddle the line of profit and non-profit. So, who knows – benefits of volunteering might include you being part of the next big thing.

Networking – Who You Know Matters

Work with powerful people and collect their business cards at a charitable event. You might normally have limited access to the rich and famous. With volunteer work, you can meet influential people.

Those who want to advance their careers through networking should create their own business cards. You can hand these out to grow your brand.

Develop contacts, connections and networks of people whom you meet. Career opportunities might open up out of the blue. As volunteers, you share something in common.

Networking can open doors. It can catapult you over competitors.

Develop New Skills

Sometimes, your job keeps you so busy with day-to-day skills that you never learn anything new. One of the benefits of volunteering is the ability to learn new skills.

Learn New Skills

You can add new computers skills by using new software and hardware at volunteer organizations. You don’t need certification with charities, just fix the broken equipment and everyone will be happy.

Improve and Refine Your Skills

You might have time management and problem-solving skills but were not given the opportunity to show them off. Volunteer groups give you the opportunity to shine.

You can improve your social and communication skills by interacting with the public during a charitable event. You can develop useful leadership and management skills through volunteer work. Supervise people while volunteering – run things and prove your worth.

The development of managerial skills through volunteering can result in career advancement. Moreover, temporary work can increase skills development. Try something new.

Get Some Experience

If you want to get your first job, you can volunteer to get experience. Non-profit organizations might allow you to handle more responsibilities than your normal job would. There is less risk.

Employers are taking a risk hiring you. They want to hire someone whom they feel has the education, skills and experience to deliver. If you have no work experience, then you need to acquire volunteer experience. It is better than nothing.

Un-Paid Internships

Sports, entertainment, radio and television companies might offer unpaid internships. The jobs are so lucrative that the companies can find many volunteers. The volunteer work allows you to try out a new industry to see if it is a good fit for you.

Some of these interns are the first ones hired when jobs open for full-time positions. The volunteer work is like a test run to see who has the skills and personality to fit in with the corporate culture.

Self-Direction, Self-Esteem & Self-Motivation

Volunteer opportunities show that you can handle your business. Take the initiative and show you are willing to take chances.

Gain self-esteem through volunteer opportunities. Demonstrate that you are self-motivated and can complete tasks through self-direction. Improve yourself to advance your career.

You can build up your confidence by volunteering. Show that you are caring, altruistic and giving. People like to work with good people.

Charitable Good Will

Each of the famous athletes, celebrities and politicians have a favourite charity. Shouldn’t the privileged provide free community service as a way to give back?

Noblesse Oblige was the duty of aristocrats to give back.

The legal profession has something called pro bono, which is free legal service.

Volunteering makes for a Well-Rounded Professional

Volunteer benefits can include learning new skills, increasing your network connections and feeling good about making the world a better place. Have some fun volunteering.

Interested in learning more on this topic? We partnered with Volunteer Canada for a free webinar – watch the recording here!

New graduates moving on from the security of student life understand all too well the pressure of a job search, and many are overcome with a sinking feeling as they sift through job postings that call for multiple years of work experience. Making such a transition can be daunting and isn’t unique just to new graduates. Many people with established careers have a desire to make a transition (be it from the private to the nonprofit sector or simply within their sector) or propel their career forward, but do not feel they have the skills or experience necessary to make the jump. How can these individuals gain transferable skills and develop their talents in order to get a job or get ahead in their current career? A great way to do this is through skills-based volunteering.

Skills-based volunteering entails providing service to nonprofit organizations that capitalizes on personal talents or core business or professional skills, experience or education. In other words, it involves the intentional transfer of skills, either by contributing skills or developing someone else’s skills.

This type of volunteer engagement can be beneficial to all of the aforementioned groups: recent graduates looking to leverage their degree, those in the private sector wishing to transfer their skills to nto the nonprofit sector, as well as those currently working within the nonprofit sector looking to advance their career. Most SBV opportunities help volunteers develop their interpersonal communication skills, leadership skills, organizational abilities, fundraising or financial skills, technical or office skills, or increase knowledge in a certain subject area.

Skills-based volunteering is ideal for recent graduates as it allows them to directly apply their degree to the needs of an organization while developing valuable hands-on experience and knowledge the meantime. These volunteers, often between the ages of 20 and 30, have increased demands on their time and are often looking for a higher level of flexibility with regard to their role, and nonprofits are adapting to welcome them through skills-based volunteer projects. These volunteer positions allow new graduates to develop their resume and add to their portfolio, which can help them move to a paid position in the future.

Graduates may want to be cautious about full-time unpaid internships, instead looking for opportunities that require a few hours a week or taking on a short-term project, allowing them to focus on their job search. These opportunities can vary widely. A recent journalism graduate, for example, could lend their keen eye for proofreading and fact-checking to an organization writing research reports. This experience would not only hone the graduate’s reviewing abilities, but would also build skills in the areas of written communication, community awareness and self-motivation. A recent marketing graduate could design the logo or brand for an organization and cultivate media contacts for a nonprofit, thus giving them practical experience of taking on a marketing project while developing their skills in interpersonal communication, brand development and problem-solving.

While individuals with professional experience have generally already acquired practical skills and expertise, skills-based volunteering can refresh them in a specific area, giving them a new appreciation for their career or perhaps steering them towards a more rewarding line of work. For mature volunteers, it is also an effective way of honing specific skills with the aim of transitioning into a more long-term volunteer position following retirement. A leadership coach, for example, could provide one-on-one coaching to an executive director of a nonprofit, honing counselling, problem-solving, active listening and supportive communication skills while learning about the ins and outs of being an executive director. These skills and new knowledge could help propel the volunteer into a management position or possibly give them fresh ideas for coaching clients from a wide variety of backgrounds more effectively. An accountant working for a private company could volunteer to help with the bookkeeping of a nonprofit organization, thus increasing the organization’s awareness of nonprofit financing and a solid accounting framework. This could set the volunteer up to transition out of the private sector into the role of a CFO of a nonprofit organization.

Overall, skills-based volunteer positions provide valuable learning opportunities and practical experience to those in a transitional period career-wise. It can be the solution to the pressure to find experience felt by most recent graduates, and gives seasoned professionals the chance develop the skills necessary to pursue their dream career.

Perhaps the most valuable aspect, however, is the fact that this type of volunteering is mutually beneficial. As James Temple from PwC Canada notes, skills-based volunteering is great way to start “learning how people’s skills and passions can be mapped to a project at the nonprofit that will have the best possible long-term impact for all involved.” In other words, highly-skilled volunteers can contribute to the efficiency, visibility, financial stability and longevity of nonprofit organizations, and this mutually beneficial relationship in turn fosters strong and connected communities built on collaboration and integrity.

For more information on Skills-Based Volunteering, feel free to check out:

  • Skills-Based Volunteering, A Discussion Paper (By Anna Maranta and Paula Speevak)
  • Skills-Plus: A tool that matches volunteer experience to core career skills

Leigha McCarroll is the Membership and Outreach Officer at Volunteer Canada, the national voice for volunteerism in Canada. Since 1977, Volunteer Canada has been committed to increasing and supporting volunteerism and civic participation. This article was written with contributions from Paula Speevak, President and CEO of Volunteer Canada.

published at 8:26 AM

How to volunteer to advance your career

With the pressures of working for a prestigious company and staying competitive in Singapore’s fast-paced economy, giving away your time for free can seem like a luxury you can’t afford.

However, the truth is that volunteerism is an oft-overlooked career advancement strategy. Here’s how volunteering can be a significant boost to your career.

FINE-TUNES NETWORKING SKILLS & EXPANDS YOUR PROFESSIONAL CIRCLE

Studies show that building and nurturing professional relationships can lead to more career opportunities, broader knowledge, and faster job advancement. Therefore, to enhance your career, fine-tuning your networking skills should be a priority.

This is where volunteering comes in-it gives you the perfect opportunity to practice and develop your skills. Given that most volunteering opportunities take place in a friendly, non-intimidating environment, it’s typically less stressful if you happen to make a mistake. As with most skills, the more you practice, the better you get.

How to volunteer to advance your career

Perhaps more crucially, volunteering is a natural way to meet new people. It shows you that professional networking doesn’t need to be forced or awkward. With volunteering, you get direct access to new contacts and can work on a real-life project, side-by-side.

These individuals often become more than just someone you met. They can become mentors, and in some cases, offer leads to new careers. Also, unlike traditional networking, volunteering provides you with the chance to be exposed to industries and individuals you’d otherwise never have access to.

This unique benefit can be influential in assisting you in your personal business goals-especially if you’re branching out from your current profession.

HELPS YOU TO PICK UP NEW & VALUABLE SKILLS

If you’ve been eyeing a new position but don’t have the needed skills, you could pick them up through volunteering. Typically, nonprofits run very much like corporate entities, except for the funding component.

There are similar operational departments such as human resources, finance, and marketing & communications that offer opportunities for you to learn new and valuable skills. With many nonprofits short-staffed and lacking resources, they’d be happy to welcome you on board.

You won’t be paid for your work, but the new skills you pick up will be yours to keep. Most importantly, you’ll get hands-on experience which makes it easy to learn even faster.

Ultimately, volunteering can help your case when you’re asking for more job responsibilities-especially if you can quantify the impact you made through volunteering.

IMPROVES YOUR MENTAL HEALTH & BOOSTS CONFIDENCE

Through volunteering, you’re also doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can give a sense of pride, identity, and purpose.

Also, given that volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a robust support system, it can prevent against or mitigate depression. Volunteer work can even counter burnout from your day-to-day job, which is often associated with detrimental health effects like anxiety and insomnia.

Given that volunteering can help you expand your network, increase knowledge, and improve skills, it can also boost your confidence. Interestingly, research finds that self-confidence is a crucial determinant of workplace success.

People who are more confident tend to be more assertive, try new things, and even communicate more effectively-all trademarks of a productive, valuable employee.

ALWAYS PICK A CAUSE YOU FEEL STRONGLY FOR

Volunteering produces many career-development benefits. However, these benefits may take some time to come to fruition.

To reap the rewards, as with all things, you need to go at it for a while. So, to ensure you don’t burn out from giving, always pick a cause you feel strongly for. There are many options available, ranging from helping the needy, to the disabled, to animals, after all.

How to volunteer to advance your career

Ultimately, volunteering offers a great opportunity to grow personally and professionally, while also learning new skillsets. Even if you choose to volunteer just to try out a new experience, you may still be able to counter the stress of workplace burnout, improving your day-to-day life.

This article was first published in ValueChampion.

How to volunteer to advance your career

In addition to presenting a great opportunity to help others, volunteering can be a great way to expand your network and develop additional skills. On Wednesday, May 26, from 12-1 p.m. (PT), join the UC Alumni Career Network for Advancing your career through volunteerism or board leadership.

From short-term volunteer opportunities to serving on a board, a panel of UC alumni will share their insights on how volunteering can help you accelerate and advance your career, including:

  • How to identify volunteer and board leadership opportunities
  • Common skills organizations look for in volunteer leaders
  • Strategies for positioning your volunteer experiences for professional growth

The information offered will be relevant for those at all career levels, from new professionals to senior-level executives.

Join us

  • What: UC Alumni Career Network: Advancing your career through volunteerism or board leadership
  • When: Wednesday, May 26, from 12-1 p.m. (PT)
  • Registration:Register here to join live or receive the recorded webinar

Presenters

  • Moderator: Charles Melton (’08, UC Davis), Senior Public Policy Manager, Turo
  • Allison Olson (’09, UC Davis), Executive Director, Down Syndrome Information Alliance
  • Cathy Rodriguez-Aguirre (’99, UC Davis), President & CEO, Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Paul Simpson (BA, UC Santa Cruz; MBA, UC Berkeley), Chief Financial Officer, LifeMoves; President, SageTel International
  • Debby Stegura (’79, UC Davis), Alumni Regent, University of California; President, Alumni Associations of the University of California (AAUC); City Council Member, Rolling Hills Estates

About the UC Alumni Career Network

The UC Alumni Career Network is a high-impact, online series designed to provide UC alumni and community members with the insights, information, and connections to launch, grow and expand your career opportunities. Each month we’ll tackle a different career topic by providing you with insider tips and advice to help you make the most of your UC network. Join us online to gain the latest information and to ask questions relevant to your own professional journey.

Sign up for the email list to receive monthly invites! For more information about the UC Alumni Career Network and links to recordings of past episodes, visit our website.

Want to Relaunch or Advance Your Career? Volunteer!

B y Hallie Smith (MBA ’98)

I’ve always been pretty leery of New Year’s resolutions, but as 2016 comes to a close, I’m reflecting on how I’ve spent my time and energy in the past year. I’m certainly eager to contribute to the greater good in 2017. Community service has been personally rewarding to me, but there are great reasons to volunteer from a professional perspective. Volunteering can make it possible to build your network, explore new functional areas, develop new skills and take on leadership roles. Working with nonprofits can also provide a path to nonprofit board positions, which can be effective resume-builders for executive roles. Volunteering, as I’ve personally experienced, can also be an effective way to re-enter the workforce.

After Darden, I spent several terrific years at Deloitte. But when child number two came along, I decided to “stay home.” I quickly found limitless opportunities to volunteer in my children’s schools and our community, but I was looking for a better way to tap into my MBA skills. That’s when I heard about Compass, an organization that assembles teams of MBAs and other business professionals to provide pro bono strategic guidance to nonprofits. Next thing I knew, I was staffed on a Compass project for Horton’s Kids and, afterwards, was asked to join the Compass Board. When I was offered a position on the Compass staff this summer, I leapt at the opportunity. Today, I manage selecting our nonprofit clients, recruiting volunteers and staffing our project teams. One of the best parts of my new job has been working with our 16 partner business school alumni clubs, and especially reengaging with the Darden community.

Through Compass, I’ve witnessed and experienced these many benefits of volunteering. Volunteers not only leverage their expertise, but also find opportunities to develop new skills that can augment their professional capabilities. They engage with nonprofit leaders and make professional connections on teams. Compass team members see the impact they have on a nonprofit’s ability to carry out its mission more effectively and efficiently, and they often build lasting relationships with clients that extend long after the projects end. Many Darden alumni have not only served on Compass projects, but also have participated in Compass’ On Board program, where professionals are matched to nonprofit boards.

Just in time for the New Year, I’m thrilled to announce Compass’ 29 new Micro Projects in Washington, D.C., which will run from late January through May. We are also launching Chicago’s first round of projects in January.

If you feel as if your for-profit efforts at work are outweighing your philanthropic efforts in life, are looking to dust off your MBA or want to get involved in more substantive volunteer work, you may find a Compass project rewarding on many levels. Please visit http://compassprobono.org/ to apply for upcoming projects in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, as well as learn more about On Board — headed up by Nalini Rogers (MBA ’86) — and our ongoing projects in the D.C. area and Philadelphia. We would love to connect with you and help more Darden alumni than ever find meaningful community engagement in 2017!

Hallie (Hastert) Smith graduated from Darden in 1998 and now serves as Director of Consulting Programs for Compass.

If you are interested in exploring how volunteer opportunities might enhance your career, reach out to Alumni Career Services, and schedule time with a coach.

Gwen Moran, Fast Company
Tue, 06/28/2022 – 11:00pm

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Giving back should come from the heart, but it can also help your career—and your health. The evidence is in, and it’s probably not surprising: Volunteering is good for you.Read Full Story

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How to volunteer to advance your career

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How to volunteer to advance your career

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  • How to volunteer to advance your career
  • How to volunteer to advance your career
  • How to volunteer to advance your career

Volunteerism can provide people with the career development skills they need to excel and standout in a busy job market.

Every year volunteers help nonprofits all around the world make a substantial difference towards the missions they fulfill. Volunteerism has also been shown to offer volunteers a plethora of health benefits including the reduction of stress, decreased anxiety, and increased physical activity. The act of volunteerism also offers participants additional benefits that can improve their lives such as career development.

Did you know that volunteerism can provide volunteers with the career development skills they need in a competitive job market? A study performed by United Health Group found that 49% of people new to volunteering said that the action helped with their career in the paid job market. The same study found that 56% of new volunteers believe that the action will help their career in the future.

Why is volunteerism a good career development move? Because the action provides several components that can help volunteers advance in the future. We will discuss several of these components in more detail.

How to volunteer to advance your career

One of the most clear-cut career development benefits of volunteerism is the ability to create new skills and sharpen existing ones for participants. Volunteers are given the opportunity to practice skills, learn new techniques, and observe others who may be more adept in a specific role or opportunity. Volunteerism takes training out of the classroom and gives individuals hands-on experience. Volunteerism also creates the opportunity to sharpen existing skills and learn best practices.

Skill-based opportunities are on the rise and most nonprofits are looking for volunteers who have specific skill sets. 92% of nonprofits say they need more skill-based pro bono support. Volunteers can use skill-based volunteer opportunities to strengthen their abilities to new levels and increase employability.

How to volunteer to advance your career

How to volunteer to advance your career

Another career development benefit of volunteerism is the actions networking potential. Filling volunteer opportunities introduces a volunteer to new groups of people who may work or know others in a volunteer’s desired industry. Face-to-face networking is still one of the most important actions that a person can take. According to a study, by The Virgin Group, 85% of employment opportunities are filled via networking.

Still not convinced about the importance of networking? Another study found that 28% of professionals have found or been referred to a new role through a network connection. Volunteerism is a great way for people to network and do good at the same time.

How to volunteer to advance your career

One of the most beneficial career development benefits for volunteers is the ability to add volunteerism experience to their resume and cover-letter credentials. Employers, across the world, value philanthropy as an activity that goes above and beyond. Volunteerism can separate a job seeker from other applicants and demonstrate leadership to potential employers. Volunteerism also demonstrates that a candidate is passionate about giving back to the community.

Hiring managers definitely see the value of volunteerism in 2018. According to a study by Deloitte, 82% of hiring managers prefer applicants that have volunteer experience on their resume vs candidates that do not volunteer. The same study found that 92% of hiring managers agree that volunteerism improves an employee’s broader professional skillset.

Including volunteerism on a professional resume can be an especially helpful tactic if:

  1. A volunteer is a new graduate and has limited professional experience.
  2. A volunteer has experienced a layoff or period of unemployment and needs to fill that time with opportunities.
  3. A volunteer wants to showcase strong values to a potential employer.
  4. A volunteer wants to demonstrate skills acquired from volunteer opportunities to a potential employer.

How to volunteer to advance your career

The act of volunteerism offers participants valuable opportunities to display leadership skills and make a quantifiable impact on the causes they are passionate about. 92% of Deloitte survey respondents believe volunteering is an effective way to improve leadership skills.

Here are a few ways that volunteerism can create leaders:

  1. Volunteerism empowers people to work on a team.
  2. Volunteerism can take participants out of their comfort zone and challenge them.
  3. Volunteerism can allow leaders to take risks and experiment.
  4. Volunteerism can help rejuvenate passion for giving.

Takeaways

The act of volunteerism produces many benefits for volunteers from improved health to career development skills. Volunteers can use their experiences to develop new skills, network with professionals, create a marketable resume and cover letter, and become leaders. Volunteerism is an activity that can improve the lives of the volunteers involved and everyone that their contribution touches.

Volunteering benefits communities, but it can also benefit you.

Volunteering is good. It’s good for the communities and individuals who benefit from it directly , it’s good for the people who do the work, and it’s good for society in general. It can also be good for your career .

It’s hardly news that hiring managers like seeing volunteer work on a resume, and certainly many people are motivated by both the feel-good vibes of helping people and the career boost it can offer . B ut if you’ve got career ambitions, you should be thinking about your volunteer work more strategically, because that work can offer a lot more value than just a line on your resume—it can help your grow your career in a lot of different ways.

Making your volunteering more strategic and career-oriented doesn’t lessen the good that you do, and all it requires is outlining your professional goals and looking for volunteer opportunities that match up—in other words, being thoughtful about where you devote your efforts . Depending on your goals are, t here are different ways to go about finding an ideal volunteer opportunity to benefit your career (and, you know, the world) .

To develop l eadership s kills

If you’re ready to move into a leadership role but haven’t had the chance to hold a leadership position at work , an excellent way to gain that experience is to serve on a charity board. Serving on a board requires more than just free time and extra energy—it requires a much deeper commitment to an organization . But most crucially for your career ambitions, it’s a way to exercise leadership skills similar to those required by d irector, v ice p resident, and C-s uite-l evel positions.

How to volunteer to advance your career

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BoardnetUSA and BoardStrong are matching services for charity boards and volunteers to find each other. They both work in the same way: You register and fill out a profile listing your experience and skills, and then you can browse a list of o rganizations seeking board members. Serving on a charity’s board can be a huge commitment—many boards are very hands-on—so only make this move if you’re ready to work.

To gain experience in pr oject m anagement

Project management skills are always in high demand. The difference between working on a project in a support capacity and leading the team—not to mention coordinating across several cross-functional teams—is often the difference between being considered for higher-level management positions and . not being considered for those positions.

If you lack project management opportunities at your current position, this can lead to a frustrating situation where you can’t move on in your career because you lack experience, but you can’t get experience because you can’t move on to a new job. Volunteering with an organization like Taproot or Catchafire could be your resume solution: Both groups match your skills with project teams that need them, but both can offer opportunities to gain experience leading projects as well. In order to get the most professional benefit, be prepared to speak up and assert yourself, as many of these projects can become a bit over-populated.

Make a career shift

Many people eventually discover that they made a slight miscalculation at the age of 18 and now regret the career path they’ve chosen. Sometimes this j ust requires a pivot into a related field , but sometimes a dramatic course correction is in order . Either way, shifting careers can be challenging because all of your experience is suddenly of much less value, and the skills you’ve actually learned may not transfer over perfectly.

Volunteering offers a possible path . LinkedIn’s volunteer marketplace and VolunteerMatch offer listings categorized in different ways, which allows you to identify opportunities in the specific field you’re hoping to infiltrate. Not only will you gain the necessary experience to make your resume more attractive to companies in these fields, you’ll also have the chance to network specifically within the career space you’re interested in.

Get experience mentoring and managing

If your career goal is to rise up the corporate org chart and get that proverbial corner office (even if these days the corner office is more of a concept than an actual space), you will at some point have to manage a team. Typically this starts off with a small management role with just a few direct reports, with a steady scaling up as you rise through the ranks .

But sometimes people miss their moment and find themselves stuck just below that management level. Volunteering can be a chance to gain meaningful experience managing and mentoring others —experience that hiring managers will value when considering you for a managerial role. MicroMentor is always seeking people to act as professional career coaches and mentors, and can give you real experience acting in the role of a manager. Likewise, Net Impact not only promotes social and environmental issues but engages volunteers in mentoring programs that offer the chance to show your leadership skills .

Get promoted

If you like the company you’re with but find yourself frustrated with the pace of your advancement, one of the smartest things you can do with your volunteer energy and time is to look internally. Many companies have robust volunteer support programs, ranging from specific time granted each employee for donating their time to explicit partnerships with volunteer organizations. If your company has a relationship with a charity or other organization, volunteering through your workplace can get you noticed and put your career advancement on a faster track.

You can also sleuth out where your managers and other company leaders are volunteering and do the same. Volunteering at the same organizations as the folks making hiring and advancement decisions at your organization can be a powerful form of networking.

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How to volunteer to advance your career

Volunteering is good. It’s good for the communities and individuals who benefit from it directly, it’s good for the people who do the work, and it’s good for society in general. It can also be good for your career.

It’s hardly news that hiring managers like seeing volunteer work on a resume, and certainly many people are motivated by both the feel-good vibes of helping people and the career boost it can offer. But if you’ve got career ambitions, you should be thinking about your volunteer work more strategically, because that work can offer a lot more value than just a line on your resume—it can help your grow your career in a lot of different ways.

Making your volunteering more strategic and career-oriented doesn’t lessen the good that you do, and all it requires is outlining your professional goals and looking for volunteer opportunities that match up—in other words, being thoughtful about where you devote your efforts. Depending on your goals are, there are different ways to go about finding an ideal volunteer opportunity to benefit your career (and, you know, the world).

To develop leadership skills

If you’re ready to move into a leadership role but haven’t had the chance to hold a leadership position at work, an excellent way to gain that experience is to serve on a charity board. Serving on a board requires more than just free time and extra energy—it requires a much deeper commitment to an organization. But most crucially for your career ambitions, it’s a way to exercise leadership skills similar to those required by director, vice president, and C-suite-level positions.

BoardnetUSA and BoardStrong are matching services for charity boards and volunteers to find each other. They both work in the same way: You register and fill out a profile listing your experience and skills, and then you can browse a list of organizations seeking board members. Serving on a charity’s board can be a huge commitment—many boards are very hands-on—so only make this move if you’re ready to work.

To gain experience in project management

Project management skills are always in high demand. The difference between working on a project in a support capacity and leading the team—not to mention coordinating across several cross-functional teams—is often the difference between being considered for higher-level management positions and…not being considered for those positions.

If you lack project management opportunities at your current position, this can lead to a frustrating situation where you can’t move on in your career because you lack experience, but you can’t get experience because you can’t move on to a new job. Volunteering with an organization like Taproot or Catchafire could be your resume solution: Both groups match your skills with project teams that need them, but both can offer opportunities to gain experience leading projects as well. In order to get the most professional benefit, be prepared to speak up and assert yourself, as many of these projects can become a bit over-populated.

Make a career shift

Many people eventually discover that they made a slight miscalculation at the age of 18 and now regret the career path they’ve chosen. Sometimes this just requires a pivot into a related field, but sometimes a dramatic course correction is in order. Either way, shifting careers can be challenging because all of your experience is suddenly of much less value, and the skills you’ve actually learned may not transfer over perfectly.

Volunteering offers a possible path. LinkedIn’s volunteer marketplace and VolunteerMatch offer listings categorized in different ways, which allows you to identify opportunities in the specific field you’re hoping to infiltrate. Not only will you gain the necessary experience to make your resume more attractive to companies in these fields, you’ll also have the chance to network specifically within the career space you’re interested in.

Get experience mentoring and managing

If your career goal is to rise up the corporate org chart and get that proverbial corner office (even if these days the corner office is more of a concept than an actual space), you will at some point have to manage a team. Typically this starts off with a small management role with just a few direct reports, with a steady scaling up as you rise through the ranks.

But sometimes people miss their moment and find themselves stuck just below that management level. Volunteering can be a chance to gain meaningful experience managing and mentoring others—experience that hiring managers will value when considering you for a managerial role. MicroMentor is always seeking people to act as professional career coaches and mentors, and can give you real experience acting in the role of a manager. Likewise, Net Impact not only promotes social and environmental issues but engages volunteers in mentoring programs that offer the chance to show your leadership skills.

Get promoted

If you like the company you’re with but find yourself frustrated with the pace of your advancement, one of the smartest things you can do with your volunteer energy and time is to look internally. Many companies have robust volunteer support programs, ranging from specific time granted each employee for donating their time to explicit partnerships with volunteer organizations. If your company has a relationship with a charity or other organization, volunteering through your workplace can get you noticed and put your career advancement on a faster track.

You can also sleuth out where your managers and other company leaders are volunteering and do the same. Volunteering at the same organizations as the folks making hiring and advancement decisions at your organization can be a powerful form of networking.

You’re two-and-a-half miles into your first 5K, and your legs are burning. Runners are passing you left and right. Exhausted and frustrated, you’re ready to give up. Then you remind yourself of the previous three months you’ve spent training for this race. Soon you find your center and realize you’re only in a race with yourself. Suddenly, you get your second wind, pick up speed again, and finish the race in a new all-time personal best.

Perhaps you’re volunteering at a soup kitchen, and the supervisor is called away for a few hours. Suddenly you’re left in charge at the busiest time of day with a team you hardly know. You’re intimidated, but people are depending on you. So you take a deep breath and proceed to coordinate everything as best you can. And you do well. By the time your supervisor returns, the afternoon rush ends smoothly without any incidents.

Maybe you’re considering joining the board of a non-profit professional organization and are invited to attend a retreat. Though you’re shy and reserved when meeting new people, you go anyway. By the end of the retreat, you’ve not only learned much more about the organization’s mission and vision; you’ve also made new acquaintances and solidified existing relationships. Your choice to join is an easy one, as it has the support of those you’ll be working with.

Most of us think of things we do in our downtime as relaxing, low-pressure, and nothing to do with work. But as the examples above show, sports, volunteer work, and other extracurricular activities can result in far more than just personal satisfaction. Here are seven ways your personal interests can benefit your professional life and help advance your career.

  1. You can build your network. Many sports, hobbies, and volunteer activities require you to interact with others whom you might not otherwise meet. Every person you meet is a new contact in your network; somebody who could help you or might know somebody who could help you at some point in your career.
  2. You can practice your soft skills.BBC Capital states that sports can help you hone your communications skills, time management capabilities, delegation skills, and ability to function in or lead a team. Moreover, sports require discipline and motivation; two traits that are invaluable when advancing your career. The same applies to many other extracurricular activities.
  3. You can learn new skills. Helpguide.org reminds us that oftentimes, volunteer positions require you to participate in training, and in many cases, the skills you learn are transferable to your career. For example, if you volunteer for a state park’s safety patrol, you’ll undergo safety training that you could use in a professional capacity in a sports occupation or rescue work.
  4. You can build your confidence. Whether it’s climbing a rock wall, building a deck in your back yard, or helping a lost dog find its owner, the things you achieve in your extracurricular activities can help build your confidence. Knowing you can overcome your fears or find solutions to external challenges can boost your self-assurance when faced with difficult situations at work.
  5. You can strengthen your strategic insights and drive to win. In a recreational competition, the rules and opponents are clear. By competing regularly, you’ll learn how to strategize to beat your opponents. Moreover, since you don’t want to lose all the time, you’ll become more focused on winning. By assessing how to strategically utilize your strengths in your professional life and using your drive to win, you can actively advance your career.
  6. You can learn how to handle stress. From scoring the winning goal to volunteering in a hospital, extracurricular activities often come with their fair share of stress. The repetition of functioning under pressure can prepare you for handling stressful situations at work.
  7. You can learn about new opportunities. Sometimes it’s a new acquaintance who tells you about a job opening; other times it’s being given the chance to lead a project that will provide you with the experience you need for the job you want. By interacting in a wider circle than just your professional world, you enhance the chances of learning about new opportunities.

Playing sports, enjoying a hobby, and performing volunteer work are all good ways to enrich your life. And once you understand how to apply the benefits of your extracurricular activities to your career, you can even steer your activities to support your professional development. Just remember to take enough time to relax along the way!

We all know how important volunteering is, to organizations, to us individually, and to our careers. I am also a strong advocate for volunteering, but recently discovered a very specific way to volunteer – pro bono work – as a way to help myself professionally, while serving an organization’s mission.

Pro bono work is often associated with lawyers or experts donating their time to public cases. But, did you know that any professional can donate their time and expertise? Unlike traditional volunteerism, pro bono work allows professionals to offer their skills to nonprofits who otherwise might not be able to afford them, specifically in areas like capacity building and business strategies.

Pro bono services donated by professionals are incredibly valuable to nonprofits. For example, the FiXit Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the mission to end the companion animal overpopulation crisis and reduce the number of animals euthanized in shelters, benefits immensely from pro bono service. According to Stephanie Downs, President of the Board, “FiXiT would not be able to do our work without these donated skills. From videographers to editors to project managers, we have been able to leverage people’s best skills to help further our mission.”

I began my own pro bono journey during a recent career transition. I wanted to volunteer my time but I also wanted to build my resume and portfolio, specifically utilizing very specialized skills, before launching an intensive job search as a way to get reenergized while serving a mission for which I was passionate.

After searching through a variety of volunteer websites, only to find a few one-time volunteer opportunities, I stumbled upon Catchafire, a website promoting pro bono service to civically minded professionals. I applied, interviewed, found a great pro bono opportunity with a passionate organization, and benefited personally and professionally through pro bono service. The organization also benefited from free labor that they otherwise couldn’t afford – a win-win!

Here’s how to get started in your pro bono adventure:

  • Consider what skills and expertise that you have to provide. As a pro bono professional, you are the expert, which means that you are proficient and experienced in this work. It doesn’t take decades of experience, but you should be able to provide evidence of your success and samples of your work. Consider your artistic, technical, organizational, and communication skills.
  • Take advantage of matchmakers. Explore organizations that help professionals discover and secure pro bono opportunities, like Taproot, Catchafire, or Voolla. You may also consider nonprofits that you are already familiar with. Reach out and propose your interest in serving pro bono. Provide a detailed plan and information on how you can serve their mission with your expert skills and interests.
  • Make sure the benefit is reciprocal. Remember that pro bono service can’t just benefit you; the organization you intend to service also needs to benefit. It may take time to find an organization that needs your exact skills and services during the time of contact. Be patient and search around.
  • Be clear about what you can offer. Consider how much time you are willing to provide. How many hours a week or month can you provide? How long are you willing to serve? Does your expertise allow for you to serve at one time or on an as-needed basis?
  • Talk it out. Set up some time to speak over the phone or meet in person to discuss your pro bono services with the organization’s representative. Write down questions in advance. Prepare some items that you want to share about yourself or samples of your work. Ensure that you understand the organization’s mission and current activities or programs.
  • Put it in writing. Once your pro bono experience is secured, prepare an outline of your “terms and conditions” for your service provider to review. Consider deadlines, bench marks, term of service, and how you will communicate with each other. Edit and revise the document until both you and the organization are comfortable with the conditions.
  • Stay connected! Remember that your professional service is an extension of your name and career. Communicate with your pro bono provider in a professional manner. Follow up as needed and stay engaged with your representative until your service is complete. Ask for feedback. As the expert, provide feedback. It’s important to leave a positive impact and represent yourself well.

Pro bono service is an excellent way to volunteer your time during a career transition. It allows you to enhance your resume and portfolio and make some great connections in the nonprofit sector.

There are lots of fantastic reasons to volunteer. You can help a person or cause, make a difference in your community, build lifelong friendships, and more.

Did you know, however, that volunteer work can have a significant (and positive!) impact on your career and your future? Whether you’re trying to get into college, attempting to land your first post-college job, or looking to move up in the workplace, here are five reasons volunteering is great for career development.

Volunteering Helps You Build Your Network

You’ve probably heard that the working world isn’t just about what you know, it’s about who you know. Acquaintances and friends can connect you to people in your industry, introduce you to new opportunities, give you job leads, speak to your talents, and more.

“The idea is to develop a network of friendly people who share information to help each other,” advises Career Key . “Because many jobs (some would say most) are not advertised, it is essential that you develop friendly relationships with people who can tip you off to job openings — perhaps even introduce you to the person who is doing the hiring.”

Volunteering is an easy way to expand your network. Depending on the project, you’ll meet like-minded individuals — people who you wouldn’t normally encounter at work or in your day-to-day life. These connections can be invaluable if you’re looking to land a new job or switch career paths. Even if you’re not actively looking for a job, you never know when your connections will be able to help you in the future.

It Looks Great on a Resume or Application

When you apply to college or for a job, your resume or application ends up in a stack of hundreds of applicants. With so much competition, what sets you apart?

Turns out, volunteering can give you an edge when it comes to getting the job or getting into college. Hiring managers and college admissions advisors value candidates who engage in volunteer opportunities. “Individuals committed to volunteer work are proving their worth to the community,” says Felicia Zorn from USATestprep . “These service acts demonstrate that they have the desire to improve society, understand the needs of others, and are passionate about building relationships. Colleges and business are looking for applicants who are lifelong learners and productive citizens. They want to continue molding and shaping these young men and women into tomorrow’s leaders.”

Volunteering Helps You Develop New Skills

When you participate in a community-service project, you could learn and develop important skills. For example, if you organize or a fundraiser, you can gain experience in project management. If you help to get the word out about an upcoming event, you gain real-life experience in marketing and social media strategy. These tasks translate into job-related skills and can work in your favor if you lack professional experience. They can also be helpful if you want to transition into a new role.

Even if you’re happy in your current role, you can still reap the skill-boosting benefits of volunteering. Engaging in volunteer work can help you improve your time-management skills, get better at planning and prioritizing tasks, and increase your ability to adapt to new situations and circumstances.

Volunteering Allows You to Discover New Interests and Passions

Volunteering is a great way to try new activities. A positive volunteer experience could uncover interests or passions you never knew you had. If you spend time helping out at a hospital, for example, you may discover a passion for caregiving or an interest in the healthcare field. This could lead to you to pursue a more meaningful career path. This type of self-discovery can be significant if you’re not sure what you want to do professionally, or if you feel stifled or disconnected at work.

Discovering a new passion doesn’t necessarily mean you need to switch career paths, however, it may simply help you realize what you enjoy doing or where you excel, and you can apply this knowledge to your current job or role.

Volunteering Improves Your Disposition

We’re all searching for that elusive work-life balance. Would you be surprised to hear that the activities you engage in outside of work can increase your professional performance and overall job satisfaction?

Here’s how it works: When you volunteer, you’re improving your community or making a difference in people’s lives. This can build your confidence and give you a greater sense of purpose, which resonates in both your personal and professional life.

“Self-confidence goes a long way in furthering your career, and volunteering provides the outlet to improve this valuable trait,” says Sarah Landrum , founder of Punched Clocks . “It doesn’t matter what you’re doing as long as it gives you a sense of purpose and satisfaction.”

Volunteering helps you develop personally and professionally. So whether you’re applying to college, looking for a job, switching career paths, or looking for ways to improve in your current role, search for volunteer opportunities near you.

How has volunteering helped in your professional life? Let us know in the comments below!

Guest post by Maile Proctor. Maile Proctor is a full-time blogger and content editor. She earned her Bachelor’s in Television Production from Chapman University. When she’s not writing she enjoys hiking; finding new, fun fitness activities; and officiating basketball in Southern California.

This post is by Sarah Landrum, founder of Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to sharing advice on navigating the work world.

“It’s easy to make a buck. It’s tougher to make a difference.”
– Tom Brokaw, journalist

How to volunteer to advance your career

Volunteering for a good cause changes lives and doesn’t just benefit the people you’re helping. Beyond the obvious benefits of helping out in the community and making a difference, volunteering can both further your career and improve your life. Everybody wins.

Here’s how volunteering can help boost your career and your personal branding in ways you might not have expected.

1. It’s a Chance to Network

By volunteering, you’ll meet people you otherwise never would have met. The bonds formed between volunteers are strong, and friendships quickly form. These friendships could be a big benefit by expanding your network of contacts. It’s a nice side effect of the work you’ll be doing.

2. You Could Discover Your Passion

Barbara Abbot was out of work for almost a decade when she decided to start working again. Instead of focusing on corporate management again, she volunteered at the San Francisco Food Bank. Her diligent work lead to a full-time position. She never expected that to happen.

“The first day I volunteered here, I never thought I’d end up with a full-time job,” she told Monster.com. “Looking back, though, it seems that was a sensible way to make an impression and get in.”

Abbot’s story isn’t uncommon. There are countless examples of people who have turned their volunteer experience into a satisfying job.

3. Hiring Managers Value Volunteers

Even if your volunteer work is unrelated to your desired job, hiring managers take notice. A LinkedIn survey found 41 percent of hiring managers view volunteer work as equal to a paid job. This is especially beneficial to anyone who has been unemployed but volunteered while searching for a job.

More importantly, potential employees who volunteer have a 27 percent better chance of being hired than people who don’t volunteer, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service.

There’s a disconnect between applicants and hiring managers based on how they value volunteering. Eighty-one percent of hiring managers feel volunteer experience is valuable, according to the Deloitte Volunteer Impact Survey. Despite that, only 46 percent of college students felt volunteering would help them land a job.

It turns out volunteers aren’t sharing their experience in their resumes. Another LinkedIn survey found 89 percent of people volunteered, yet only 45 percent listed it on their resume. Talk about a missed opportunity.

4. You’ll Learn New Skills

Employers also value volunteering efforts because they engage employees and help them build new skills. There are no shortages of nonprofit organizations in any city, and their missions can range from education to advocacy to animals. With many nonprofits short-staffed and lacking resources, there are a number of potential tasks out there.

You could work on the website, track donations using special products or organize large-scale events. If you’re interested in trying anything, local organizations will welcome you on board. Every new skill you pick up is a chance to improve and expand your personal branding. You won’t be paid, but you’ll receive valuable hands-on experience that you can take ownership in.

5. You’ll Grow as a Person

Volunteering makes most people happier in life and improves their mental health. A study found volunteers have a 20 percent lower risk of death than people who don’t volunteer. Being happier in life can have a huge impact in your “real” job and ensure you don’t get burned out.

Your disposition and energy levels will improve, while the risk of burnout decreases. Happiness makes the day-to-day work more enjoyable.

Self-confidence goes a long way in furthering your career, and volunteering provides the outlet to improve this valuable trait. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing as long as it gives you a sense of purpose and satisfaction.

“The reward for pro-bono work is not always just in heaven.” — Paul Rand

Why skills-based volunteering?

Design is a resource that makes products more engaging to interact with and easier to use. In 2018, when most companies must consider their digital presence, the demand for design is only growing. While technology companies may have the resources to hire a team dedicated to design and user experience, there’s still a large segment of organizations that don’t have ready access to design resources.

One group that’s especially afflicted by this scarcity is the nonprofit sector. Regrettably, organizations dedicated to tackling some of our world’s most challenging issues are often the most underserved. For many nonprofits, high-quality design work is simply unaffordable.

“The proposition is a win-win: bringing together worthy organizations and private-sector professionals opportunities to further their own skills and career via philanthropic outlets.”

Those who are fortunate enough to possess both in-demand skills and the privilege of disposable time (I’m looking at you, Silicon Valley) ought to consider volunteering your skills towards pro-bono work. The proposition is a win-win: bringing together worthy organizations and private-sector professionals looking for opportunities to further their own skills and career. While there are innumerable ways to give — donating money, volunteering your time, tutoring, recruiting, or coaching — skills-based volunteering is an especially impactful way to give back.

It’s okay to ask “What’s in it for me?”

When discussing volunteerism, there is often a focus on the impact for the beneficiaries, but also worthy of highlight is the way in which pro-bono work can benefit the volunteers themselves. So, let’s bypass the “should designers work for free” debate (the answer to that is: usually not, but sometimes it’s okay) — volunteering your time can be to your own advantage because you’re creating opportunities to further your career, developing new skills, and contributing to meaningful causes.

Three ways you can leverage skills-based volunteering

1. Add to your portfolio

Developing a solid portfolio of work can be an initial hurdle for new graduates or individuals looking to switch careers. It can feel like a catch-22 — you need a portfolio to get work, but you need work experience to put together a portfolio. While everyone loves a good passion project (see: Craigslist redesign), your potential clients want to see work that was created under real-world constraints.

The nonprofit sector has thousands of worthy projects in ranging complexity and time. There are opportunities for graphic design, product design, UX, web design, environment design, logo design, brand identity, and much more. A designer can use their own discretion to determine the level of commitment they are looking to take on and which skills they’re looking to hone.

2. Broaden your reach

Partnering with a nonprofit means that they will be showcasing your design work across all of their channels. Your work will potentially be front and center on their website, marketing materials, email newsletter, social channels, or even t-shirts.

The benefits of that exposure to your career can be far-reaching. There’s a rich tradition within the design community of individuals and agencies that done pro-bono work for a passion cause, only to have it bring in paying projects down the road. In an interview with John Cary of Fast Company, Paula Scher, a Pentagram partner said:

“I donated a complete sign system for the NYC Parks Department. It was probably the biggest donation I’ve ever made. Then, because of that relationship, after Hurricane Sandy they hired me to do a paid project designing signage for all the beaches.”

3. Expand your network

If you partner with a nonprofit organization whose cause you care about, you’re fostering relationships with a group of like-minded individuals. Someone you meet through volunteering can serve as your advocate, reference, or mentor. Volunteering puts you in the advantageous position of networking outside of the industry where you work. Further, working in a different industry makes you increasingly versatile and expands your repertoire. Gaining experience in a nonprofit can bring about new insights and perspectives, which will impact your professional trajectory in unexpected ways.

Your skills can make a big impact

Nonprofits are working with the ultimate constraint: a lack of resources. It can be difficult to assign immediate ROI to design work, so it can be challenging to justify investment into design resources. Discretionary spending is heavily scrutinized for nonprofits, which are beholden to their beneficiaries. Consider the funds that tech companies invest into their marketing tech stack, hardware, and talent — nonprofits, which tend to have smaller relative budgets, strive to gain exposure on the same digital playing field. These realities make design contributions especially valuable.

Ways to get started:

There are numerous organizations dedicated to matching volunteers with nonprofits who need their services. Nonprofit needs are categorized by time commitment, project scope, and skill set. Professionals can search for volunteer opportunities, targeting causes that they feel passionately about and organizations that need their niche skills. These websites typically vet these organizations to ensure that only bonafide nonprofits are featured. This setup does some serious heavy-lifting for both volunteers and nonprofits by streamlining the process of matchmaking.

  • Catchafire : Matches professionally-skilled volunteers with nonprofits and social enterprises.
  • Taproot + : Consolidates information and resources to help skilled volunteers engage in pro bono work.
  • VolunteerMatch : Indexes volunteer opportunities, searchable by location or by cause.

How to get the most out of your volunteering:

  • Select your causes: There are so many worthy causes out there that it can feel overwhelming. Choose a few that speak to you and build relationships there.
  • Make guidelines for yourself: What are you looking to get out of this? What types of projects do you want to look for? How will they map toward your career goals?
  • Set clear expectations: Be upfront about your availability. Ultimately, it doesn’t help anyone to stretch yourself too thin.
  • Ask for credit: Request a LinkedIn recommendation, testimonial, spotlight in a newsletter, and/or a professional reference.

Featured illustration by Ryan Putnam who graciously offered his services pro-bono in the spirit of this article.

We all learn at school that everyone has to be treated fairly, to have equal opportunities and to feel part of a community. However, we often don’t truly and fully understand the meaning of these words until we live them. Volunteer work brings students this opportunity. It helps them develop new skills, become more empathetic and think out-side-of-the-box.

How to volunteer to advance your careerRebecca Russo, one of our volunteers from Richmond Hill, is living proof of how volunteering can help you see the world from a different lens and positively impact your life. “Society makes us believe that individuals with special needs are “less than average”, but really they are just the same if not even better”, says Rebecca. “I definitely think that volunteering with The Dance Ability Movement has changed my perspective about inclusion and people of all abilities because my eyes were opened to the potential that they truly have, just like the rest of us. They really do have the ability to do anything they set their mind to!”

Rebecca’s mom, Melissa, also agrees that volunteering with the Dance Ability Movement has been a special part of Rebecca’s growth. “It’s helped her communication skills and leadership blossom. It was also a huge part of her supplemental essays in many of her university applications. As always, we are so grateful for the opportunity that our girls have had volunteering with this amazing organization.”

How to volunteer to advance your careerRecently, Rebecca has earned a scholarship from the University of Western Ontario. In her essay for Western’s National Scholarship Program, Rebecca highlighted that her experience with the Dance Ability Movement made her realize the need for more funding and financial support for people of all abilities so they can have equal opportunities to be fully included in our community.

According to Rebecca, social enterprises and simple altruism can help solve the issue of families not being able to afford the costs associated with a disability in her hometown, while empowering her local community.“ When companies support organizations like The Dance Ability Movement, these services are more accessible to families in need, as the bursary funds can be used for low-income families”, says Rebecca. “This solution is also advantageous for firms as they can differentiate from competitors by being engaged in their community”.

This is definitely not an empty speech. It is based on Rebecca’s experience as the founder of Ignite, a non-profit company that sells apparel and accessories to raise money for local charities. “In essence, I want to be able to give back to various charities and organizations in my community that need extra support and attention”.

We are so proud of you, Rebecca! You truly are an example of how dedication and hard work for a cause can positively impact your life and make dreams come true! Congratulations and best wishes for your next adventure!

How to volunteer to advance your career

A collection of articles about jobs and careers in open source.

When I look back at my years working in open source, I realize how much conferences have helped my career. Back when I was an editor at Linux Pro Magazine, I met dozens of writers in person at conferences, which almost always improved our working relationships, and I recruited countless new and first-time authors. Watching other speakers and then meeting them after their sessions helped inspire me to get past my stage fright (with a dash of imposter syndrome) and start speaking at events. I’ve also forged friendships at conferences that are now almost as old as my career. And I’ve met more than one person who ended up being a future employer.

Within the next few weeks, I will attend FOSDEM and DevConf.cz for the first time, and I’ll attend the Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 13x for the eighth time. (I got snowed in and missed SCALE 11x, otherwise this would be the ninth.) I can’t be at every event I’d like to attend each year, but SCALE consistently stays in my “must attend” column, not only because of its stellar lineup of sessions and speakers. The event is affordable, fun, and provides a great way for me to see a bunch of friends in one location.

SCALE is put on by volunteers, which is especially impressive when it all comes together at the last moment. At the end of the weekend, attendees leave saying, “This was the best SCALE ever,” a sentiment we feel every year. If you want to be a part of SCALE 13x, and volunteering sounds intriguing, check out their recent call for volunteers. You don’t have to be an open source expert, or have any open source experience at all for that matter, because the event organizers have a range of jobs just waiting for volunteers to fill them.

Get experience

“One of the most wonderful aspects of open source is that it breaks the paradox many people face in not having enough experience to get the job they want, but not getting the opportunity to gain that experience,” says Jono Bacon, Senior Director of Community for XPRIZE, former Ubuntu community manager, and one of the many people I met at my first SCALE conference. “Open source provides a rich volunteer environment where people can demonstrate skills, make connections, all on a fabric that shows initiative and forethought. The open source community is teeming with these volunteer opportunities, so there are plenty of places to get started.”

Jono knows many people who have participated in event work as part of a wider volunteer effort, which then led to hobbies that turned into careers. He says that most tech events need volunteers, especially community-oriented events, such as, SCALE, Ohio LinuxFest, Texas Linux Fest, and SouthEast LinuxFest. He says that volunteers are also needed for the Community Leadership Summit in Portland. (If you’re feeling especially ambitious, consider running a regional CLSx event or XPRIZE Think Tank.)

Get a gig

“In general, every volunteer opportunity has taught me something that has helped me in my career. It’s been the best way to hop right into something and learn” says Emilie Nouveau, Drupal Association web designer and one of the LinuxFest Northwest event organizers. Learning isn’t the only thing Emilie does while volunteering at events. “Since I started working with Drupal, every job I’ve gotten has been through connections I made while volunteering for everything ranging from code sprints at DrupalCons to creating design for LinuxFest Northwest.”

When Emilie was wearing a MongoDB T-shirt to a DrupalCon Denver code sprint, for example, the Chief Solutions Architect from MongoDB introduced himself to her. “MongoDB was switching to Drupal and was hitting the steep learning curve without any drupalists on staff,” Emilie says. “I just started walking through different components of the site and fixing things, something I’m always happy to do with anyone at a code sprint. After two hours, he offered me a job.”

Emilie says LinuxFest Northwest is always looking for volunteers, especially in technical areas like video and web development. DrupalCon Barcelona will be calling for volunteers soon. Also check out the DrupalCamps.

Grow your network

Angela Brown, Senior Director of Events at the Linux Foundation, says that volunteering at events provides opportunities to network and meet people who have or know of open positions. “Within your volunteer duties, you are more likely to be put in situations over the course of the entire event where you are talking one on one to the speakers, sponsors, organizers, and attendees, which provides a good conversation ice breaker,” Angela says. “You never know when you are talking to someone at an event what jobs they might know about, and so the option to speak to as many people as possible is a great starting point.” She says that a number of Linux Foundation events need on-site volunteers each year, including, LinuxCon + CloudOpen North America, ContainerCon, Vault Linux Storage & Filesystems Conference, LinuxCon + CloudOpen Europe, ApacheCon North America, and LinuxCon + CloudOpen Japan. If you are interested in volunteering for one of these events, email [email protected]

Ben Pearson volunteered with the Linux Foundation to help plan LinuxCon North America 2014. His volunteer work started about three months before the event, and he was able to do the work from home because he helped review and organize the talk proposals. Later he traveled to Chicago to help set up the event, and then he got to stay and attend the event, which was his first major tech conference. “For those three days, I did everything I could to absorb the value of the keynotes, presentations, social events, and the corporate and organization booths,” he says.

The networking Ben did as a result of his volunteer work soon led to his first major career in open source. “During one of the evening social events at LinuxCon, I met some representatives from the Open Source Group at Samsung and asked them about their current hiring needs,” he explains. “I learned a bit about their current projects while we spoke about my background, and we ultimately ended up sharing contact information. A short conversation that night led to an ongoing discussion over the next two months when, finally, the stars aligned for them to hire me.”

Ben’s advice to volunteers is to go out of your way to meet everyone you can at tech events. “A lot of very smart, extremely talented individuals attend these events, and there’s always something new to learn,” he says. “It seemed everywhere I looked, I met people doing unique work in open source and I was able to come away with a ton of knowledge, some great professional relationships, and even a new job.”

How to volunteer to advance your career

How to volunteer to advance your career

The days of a lifelong career have gone the way of the typewriter and the office ashtray, leaving many with gaps in their employment history.

Then there are parents returning to work after caring for their children, or those who want a career change.

For those newly out of school, options are slim: “Jobs for young people are retail and fast food; it’s not career building,” said Karen Mykietka, facility and program manager at Alberta Avenue Community League.

Though volunteering is often touted as a resume-building activity, can it really pay off?

According to a Deloitte study of over 2,500 hiring managers: yes.

A whopping 82 per cent of respondents said they are more likely to choose a person with volunteer experience.

David Smith, training centre manager for Global Knowledge, an IT training organization, said, “I look at the volunteering that a first-time employee has, definitely. It also depends on the degree, education, and background, but for people who are between jobs I’d recommend to get out there as much as you can, networking.”

Lenn Wheatley, the neighbourhood connector for Alberta Avenue Community League, recently hired 12 students for a summer project. He screened resumes from people studying everything from accounting to pharmacy to sociology.

“Volunteer experience lets the employer see the values and principles that the candidates carry,” he said.

It can provide a safe space to acquire abilities. “You get the opportunity to make mistakes so you can learn from them and bring that learning to the next work experience,” said Wheatley. Though he spoke of tangible benefits like reference letters, “it comes down to offering an experience where [people] can build on their skills.”

The Deloitte study found 92 per cent of hiring managers thought volunteering was “an effective way to gain leadership skills.”

At The Carrot Coffeehouse, Meaghan Underhill is the volunteer coordinator for 70 people a month (and up to 500-600 volunteers for festivals). Volunteers there learn food handling and safety, become prepared to work in the restaurant or hospitality industry, and gain customer service skills.

“One of our baristas for two-and-a-half years was promoted to trainer, then to operations manager during our festivals, which was a paid position,” Underhill said. “Now he works at a local coffee roaster and café serving specialty and artisanal coffees.”

High school students secure paid work, especially at Remedy Cafe. Another barista went on to manage Three Bananas Cafe.

Coming from a non-profit and arts background, Underhill thinks volunteering “shows great initiative and that you’re interested in more than a paycheque. It shows that you’re interested in the community and self-development.”

Underhill volunteers for the Up + Downtown Music Festival doing venue management because “it’s relevant to my career goals, and the skills I use during our own festivals.”

Mason Crawford, a volunteer at The Carrot Coffeehouse, said, “I was able to learn skills here so I can get a part-time shift at a paying job; it’ll help me get my foot in the door. You have to be open-minded, accepting of anyone, and non-judgemental.”

For Alberta Avenue’s Neighbour Connect project, “A lot of people got interviews based on their previous volunteer experience, not work experience,” Mykietka said. “Organizing events, charity work, coaching, that’s what got them the interview.”

Check next month’s Rat Creek Press for part two of this series on how to build a functional resume that pulls together your volunteer experience, job experience, and skills, and bridges the gap between what you’ve done, who you are, and where you want to go.

Featured Image: Mason Crawford and Sam Shapiro gain valuable experience while serving their community at The Carrot Coffeehouse. | Alita Rickards

This time of year, many people have been volunteering in their community or giving to local charities. The holiday season seems to be the perfect time for these kinds of activities. But did you know that volunteering all year long can be healthy for you and good for your career? If you want to know how volunteering can be a great professional stepping stone for you, here are just a few reasons to consider giving back to your community starting today.

It can boost your mood and self-esteem.

Did you know that volunteering was good for your health? Studies have shown that giving back to your community can help improve your heart health and reduce overall stress. While you can volunteer out of purely selfless motivations, it never hurts to have some personal benefits.

You can learn new skills.

There will always be a need for people with the very talent you possess to pitch in for local organizations. No matter what it is that you do, someone needs you to do it. At the same time, like any job, there will be intricacies that require you to adjust your skills and learn new things along the way. This can be a great resume builder for the future.

You will meet new people.

While you’re working within the community, you’ll have a chance to meet others who share similar values. These are leaders in your area that you may not have any other opportunity to meet outside this context. Networking is a skill you should build at all times, and this is an easy way to make that happen.

You can really make a difference.

Of course, we can’t talk about philanthropy and volunteering without discussing the real, tangible benefits that you’ll be providing your community. Every little bit counts, so whether you are able to contribute a small sum of money or large amounts of your time, you will be able to help individuals and organization further their mission.

We’re Proud of the Way we Make a Difference in the Community

Do you want to work at a company where you can make a difference? Contact Meador Staffing, now hiring for jobs in Pasadena TX, today to learn more.

You’ve probably heard that it’s important to be connected in order to tap into career opportunities. Building connections with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences fuels both personal and professional growth.

You know it’s important, but it’s not always easy. Luckily, there ’ s more than one way to network.

At Meridia, our team of recruitment professionals are skilled in the art of creating strong connections and extensive networks, so we asked them to share their best networking tips .

  1. Develop a strategy.
    What are your interests? In what areas do you need to build new connections? Consider your short and long-term career goals and work back from there. Your plan may require you to step outside your comfort zone to build relationships with those who can really influence your career. Establishing clear actions and timelines will keep you focused and accountable.
  2. Focus on quality over quantity.
    The number of connections in your network is not as important as creating meaningful connections. Connect with purpose and nurture the relationships you have.
  3. Give more than you take.
    Consider what you will bring to the conversation, as well as what you hope to gain. No one wants a friend who only calls when they need something. Be considerate of your connection’s time and ask yourself “ H ow can I help this person?” rather than simply “ H ow can this person help me?” Treating each meeting or conversation with a long-term lens, rather than expecting something at the end of the conversation, is the best approach.
  4. Seek out people you admire.
    Having conversations with leaders in roles you aspire to hold is a great way to learn about a career path you are interested in — and determine if it’s the right fit for you.
  5. Ask for referrals.
    Who in your network already knows the people you want to connect with? Ask them for help in making an introduction.
  6. Use social media.
    Ensure your social media profiles are professional and reflective of the professional you strive to be, especially on LinkedIn.
  7. . but don’t rely on social media alone.
    Social media is an important tool, but it should augment your networking efforts — not replace them. Look for opportunities to meet with colleagues and industry professionals face-to-face, whether it’s inviting someone to lunch or coffee or attending industry events. And don’t underestimate the power of a personalized cold call or email to initiate a new connection.
  8. Get involved in your community.
    Volunteer with industry associations and career – relevant not-for-profit roles. Build relationships outside of the organization you work for. Not only will you be giving back to the community, you’ll also become visible to potential future employers and stay on top of industry trends.
  9. Stay openminded.
    Don’t overthink a connection. You never know where an introduction can lead. Advice, support and referrals can come from surprising sources. When a networking opportunity arises, seize it. The more you do it, the easier it will become.
  10. Make networking a part of your routine.
    Networks aren’t built overnight. Consider what practices you can build into your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule to ensure you are building — as well as maintaining — your network with a consistent approach.

Do yourself a favour and take time to reflect on your current approach to networking . What small changes could you make today to move you closer towards your career goals? Commit to taking action and see your network strengthen and expand.

Take the first step in expanding your network by becoming a part of ours. Register your resume in our confidential database to be considered for upcoming career opportunities.

Trusted Advice for Academic and Professional Success

How Project Management Skills Can Help Your Career

Monday | April 16, 2018 | by Susan Ranford

How to volunteer to advance your career

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), project management is defined as “the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.” It is essentially managing a project through to completion through careful coordination with your team. Project management sounds easy, right? Tell your team what needs to happen and take care of your work while they handle theirs.

But what happens when a team member does not understand what needs to be done? What about when someone gets sick, or an important element of the project changes? Project management is tough. It can be nerve-wracking and stressful, especially when you have tight deadlines. The good news is that as long as you have the skills you need, you can streamline your pipeline, achieve deliverables, and prevent failures.

This blog post describes some of the most important project management skills and how each of them can keep your work projects on track. By developing some or all of these project management skills, you become a stronger, more competent employee and leader, which in turn can help you advance in your career.

Planning Is Your First Priority

Planning is a core skill for project managers. Planning can encompass a multitude of items, including:

  • Prioritizing projects
  • Producing deliverables on time
  • Handling sick or demotivated team members
  • Explaining processes to new members of the team

In essence, planning really is everything.

How Planning Helps Prevent Failure

You just got a large project that is due next week. You procrastinate for a couple of days handling less important tasks. Three days before the project is due, you assign it to team members, just to find out one member is sick, another is out of the office, and the third is in the hospital. Lack of planning is exactly what leads to this situation.

As a project manager, you want to handle everything from the macro to the micro; that is, from the overall scope of the project to the smallest details. The macro-tasks include team management, time estimates on projects, and meetings with team members to discuss new projects and set deadlines. And, of course, planning for something to go wrong.

The micro-tasks are the smaller details that encompass how you are going to make your day a great one. Handling your daily to-do list, making sure priority tasks get completed, and avoiding distractions are all at the micro level.

Communication Must Remain at a Constant

Did you know that one-third of all projects fail due to a lack of communication? That being said, strong communication skills can prevent projects from failing.

Here is an example:

Your project is good to go. Your team members have excelled, managing to complete all of their tasks far sooner than you expected. But before you get a chance to celebrate, disaster strikes! You just found out that the graphic designer, content manager, and sales manager on your team did not receive your email regarding one of the most important aspects of the project. It is going to take them a month to get the procedures in place. But the project is due in a couple of days. What do you do now?

Good Communication Practices

When it comes to communicating with your team, there are countless ways to stay ahead of the game. Often, micromanaging team members only elevates stress; however, you may need to find the communication style that works best for you.

The best thing you can do is organize weekly team meetings or singular five-minute calls with each individual on your team to ensure that they are coping with their workload. If you notice that someone has not replied to a request for the update you sent about an important task, do not assume anything! Email them, call them, or stop by their desk. Do what you need to do to ensure that they reply and get what they need to finish their task.

Look for Automation Using Creativity

Creativity is another skill that is underappreciated by project managers. In life, almost everything can be simplified. With some of the newest Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms, such as Zendesk, Slack, and Trello, automation is probably your best friend as a project manager.

Why is this? Because automation tools help you save time. Having a good automation system in place is always a great idea. Here are some of the tasks that can be automated to free up some of your busy workday:

  • Automatically assign tasks based on specific emails you receive
  • Automate your social media posts
  • Send weekly reminders to team members about tasks that they need to complete in the following week based on their to-do list

Never Stop Developing Yourself

These skills may be basic, but they are the foundational skills a project manager must possess to be successful. Regardless of whether you are a veteran in your field, or you just graduated from college, it is important to constantly invest in self-development. After all, processes change, new customer relationship management (CRM) software is released, and innovative productivity hacks are discovered.

If you want to become a project manager or simply brush up on your project management skills, consider pursuing a PMP certification. Honing your project management skills, via a certification or work experience, can help you stand out as a candidate in your job search, become a more well-rounded professional, and advance in your career.

This award is to be given before the completion of each academic year to volunteer and adjunct faculty in Indianapolis and the eight IU School of Medicine regional campuses. A certificate of recognition will be given to each faculty member.

Nomination Due: Sunday July 10th, 2022 –>

Eligibility

Volunteer and Adjunct faculty in Indianapolis and at the eight regional IU School of Medicine campuses are eligible. This award honors those individuals who have a positive impact on learning through the direct teaching of IU School of Medicine medical students and/or residents. Award recipients must have demonstrated a sustained level of teaching excellence. Eligible individuals may be nominated by any IU School of Medicine faculty member (this includes regional campus deans, clerkship directors, clerkship site leaders, or peers), learner (medical student, resident, fellow) or staff. Award recipients must have demonstrated teaching excellence and completed at least three years of service as a volunteer faculty member with the Indiana University School of Medicine. Further, faculty members who receive the award in a given year will not be eligible for the award until two years have passed (e.g., a 2020 recipient would not be eligible again until 2022).

Documentation

The nomination (submitted by a faculty, medical student, medical resident, fellow, or staff) along with learner ratings of instruction make-up the necessary documentation for consideration. Faculty Affairs, Professional Development, and Diversity (FAPDD) will work with others on campus to obtain learner ratings of instruction for all faculty who are nominated.

Selection

Up to 80 awards will be given each year. The IU School of Medicine teaching awards committee will review the documentation as well as recommendations from chairs and campus deans in making their selections. The teaching awards committee includes representatives from several regional campuses.

Deadline

The deadline for nominations this year is July 10th. The awards committee will select and announce recipients at the Fall All School Meeting.

Frequency

Award recipients must have demonstrated teaching excellence and completed at least three years of service as a volunteer or adjunct faculty member with the Indiana University School of Medicine. Further, faculty members who receive the award in a given year will not be eligible for the award until two years have passed (e.g., a faculty member who is selected in 2020 can be selected again in 2022).

The Award

A certificate of recognition will be given to each faculty member.

Notification and Recognition

FAPDD will notify all selected recipients by September of each year. Award winners will be recognized at the IU School of Medicine fall all school meeting. Awardees will be listed on the FAPDD website.

To view 2021 winners, please click here.

To view 2020 winners, please click here.

To view 2019 winners, please click here.

By: The Art Institutes Filed under: Animation & Effects

Being an animator is an incredible career, where you can have the opportunity to give life to images and ideas in fields as diverse as law, healthcare, film, education, television, and gaming. Read on to see what steps you’ll need to take to become an animator and how to break into this action-packed, exciting field.

1. Take animation courses or a degree program.
For most people, going to school is the first step for how to become an animator. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, multimedia artist and animator positions typically require a bachelor’s degree. Of course, what animation program you choose should depend on your individual career goals, prior education, and existing skills.

Your options include associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs as well as non-degree programs like certificate and diploma programs. Degree programs usually provide a broader education, moving from foundational to advanced courses, while non-degree programs narrow in on specific specialties and may require existing skills or prior knowledge of certain areas.

Either way, be sure to pick a program that gives you hands-on practice with industry technology and that is taught by people with experience in the field.

2. Dedicate yourself to developing your skills.
No matter how good your animation program is, your instructors can only teach you so much about how to become an animator. They can push you to achieve your best, but ultimately you have to put in the hard work.

On top of building foundational art skills and learning animation and editing software, you’ll also want to develop acting and observation skills. Doing so can help you understand body language and movements, so that you can recreate specific emotions and qualities in your characters. Teamwork is another big one. Animation projects require collaboration, and you’ll need practice being a good group member and managing feedback and critiques.

3. Create a stellar portfolio and demo reel.
Ask any industry professional how to become an animator, and they’ll tell you that having a standout portfolio is key. At The Art Institutes system of schools, building portfolio pieces is an essential part of the curriculum in our Media Arts & Animation programs.

For animators, it’s best to host your portfolio online, where you can have a section for a short demo reel and an area for longer work samples. Each piece you share should include a recap of the work you did and your project goals. Only share your best work, updating your portfolio and reel as you create new and stronger pieces. Don’t forget to include a contact section on your site as well as your resume and a brief overview of your background and interests.

For portfolio ideas, you can review online portfolios of other animators, or, if you’re in school, ask your Career Services team and instructors for feedback and advice.

4. Get a variety of work experience.
Secure internships and freelance jobs while you’re in school to gain experience outside the classroom. (Your Career Services team or your instructors may be able to help you connect with current industry professionals.)

Even after you graduate and find a full-time role, you’re more likely to start out in an entry level position than in a lead animator job. As you work to advance your career, you may still want to do select freelance work or volunteer for organizations you really care about. All of this experience can help you network with other professionals, build your skills, and continue to expand your portfolio. Remember, a large part of how to become an animator is putting in the time and effort to your own development and success!

Explore Animation Programs & Courses
Want to know more about how to become an animator? You can learn the skills you need in a Media Arts & Animation program at an Art Institute campus near you or in one of our online programs. Alternatively, if you’re passionate about animation in the context of game design, perhaps you’ll find what you’re looking for in our Game Art & Design programs. The best way to find out what’s right for you is to request more information or call 1-855-761-8239 to speak with our Admissions team today!

Learn more about our programs.

By: The Art Institutes Filed under: Animation & Effects

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Participating in career day at a local school gives you an opportunity to simultaneously tout your line of work and promote your company while also educating young people about a profession you enjoy. Of course, it’s not always easy to make office work or sometimes mundane professions sound exciting to young people, so a bit of creativity is required to keep and hold attention.

Tailor Your Talk

The direction you take with your talk should vary based on the age of the kids you’re addressing. For example, if you’re an ER nurse, middle schoolers will love to hear about the “weirdest things you’ve seen come through the emergency room,” while first graders will be more interested in hearing about how you help people who are sick or hurt get better. High schoolers, on the other hand, are more interested in hearing about what education or training you needed for your job and what kind of pay range they might be able to expect if they go into the same line of work.

Talk About What You Enjoy

One sure way to make career day interesting is to talk about the things you truly love about your job. This will help students see how all kinds of jobs have a fulfilling component. Examples:

I’m a cashier at a baby goods retailer. The best part of my job is seeing expectant parents come and happily shop for their first crib or parents with newborns being excited about dressing their babies in Halloween costumes or holiday dresses for the first time.

I’m a package delivery driver. I get to spend all day driving around our beautiful city, listening to my favorite music and meeting all kinds of interesting people from every walk of life.

I’m a landscaper. I get to be outside most of the day, and a big part of my job is to help people pick out beautiful plants and flowers they love.

Every job or place of business has something genuinely unusual about it that may pique the interest of young people. Maybe there’s a well-known celebrity or sports figure who has used your product or service, or maybe you have what kids would consider an enviable career, like working in a theme park or a bakery. Whatever sets you or your job apart is likely to be an interesting draw for kids.

Use Visual Aids

If you can deliver a presentation with colorful slides and graphs, or even better, show a video, you’re more likely to catch and keep attention. Think about the unknown elements of your line of work, along the lines of the “Hows it’s Made” series. For example, if you’re in food service, what does the food look like before it’s cooked? If you’re a reporter, who’s the most interesting person you’ve interviewed? If you’re a flight attendant, what’s the coolest place you’ve ever visited? As the saying goes, a picture often speaks louder than words.

Give a shout-out to the importance of education during your presentation to encourage school-aged kids to maintain or advance their interest in academics.

Bring Giveaways

Kids love free trinkets and goodies. Whether it’s t-shirts, logo key chains, product samples, pens or mouse pads, giveaways always get attention. Even if you don’t have anything unique or branded to hand out, bring individually wrapped snack items or drinks. You can even do some self-branding by attaching a sticker to candies with your company’s info.

Always leave time for Q&A in your career day presentation. Kids will let you know what they’re interested in, and you can take their cues to help you flesh out the rest of your talk.