“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Author unknown (often attributed to Winston Churchill)
2 tricks for making the most of your volunteer time
By all means, follow your interests and your passion when you decide where to spend your volunteer time. However, it is important to be strategic about how and where you spend your time. Here are two lessons I have learned:
Guard your time carefully. This is especially dangerous for job seekers. Without the excuse of “I’m working that day,” it’s hard to say no to requests for help. You must. Carve out a maximum of 8 hours per week for volunteering, and choose your time wisely. Your main job search activities will happen between 8am – 5pm, so try to volunteer at night and over the weekend. You can certainly spend some daytime hours as a volunteer. Just make sure it does not take away from your networking and job search activities.
Choose skills-based opportunities over other opportunities when possible. This project at the women’s shelter sounds like a terrific choice for you. You’ll do much more for them, and achieve much more for your own career, by putting your professional skills to work. nm Next time a volunteer opportunity arises that falls outside your key skills, don’t be afraid to offer an alternative (“I could help you with that, but I’ll deliver much greater impact for you if I did [insert a suggestion that fits your area of expertise] instead.”) Start small. Once you have one small, the highly successful project finished, you can bite off another.