Volunteering can be a very important addition to your job search strategy. It can beef up a résumé by filling an employment gap, showing that you are involved in your community, keeping your skills up-to-date, and possibly helping you learn about a new field. It also helps expand your networking pool.
But how do you go about finding a volunteer experience that is a good fit for what you want to get out of it?
Here are a four resources to help you:
VolunteerMatch is a searchable database of volunteer opportunities from more than 73,000 nonprofit agencies across the United States. While the majority of the volunteer positions have an on-site component, there are some that are virtual. Just type in the geographic area you are in and the kind of volunteering you wish to do. VolunteerMatch will generate a list of positions to be filled based on the parameters you set.
HandsOn Network is an organization that connects with more than 250 action centers that provide volunteer opportunities. The majority of the actions centers are in the United States; however, it is starting to expand internationally with affiliates in countries such as South Korea, Canada, and India. The HandsOn Network website also offers an opportunity to conduct searches, but that function is limited to volunteering in the United States.
This is a wonderful resource, particularly if you are interested in an international volunteer experience. There are more than 18,000 opportunities listed on their site. In addition, there are 200,000+ people you can search through to find those who have similar interests and may want to work on a project with you.
United Way agencies
If you are looking to volunteer in the community you live in, your local United Way may be able to help. Some of them run volunteer centers that provide information on the needs of the organizations they support. By going to the national United Way’s website, you can type in your zip code, and you will be directed to the United Way that is in your area.
What other methods have you used to find volunteer opportunities?