How volunteering impacts professional development

by Azure Hall
Stripes Europe

One of the first pieces of advice that I received upon arriving in Germany was to find an organization that interests me and volunteer. Little did I know, that volunteer work would lead me to the rewarding career path that I’ve always wanted. Volunteering is not only a great way to help those around you and to strengthen your community, but it also helps yourself. Volunteer work offers numerous opportunities for professional development. From skill building, to networking and more, volunteering could be the key to finally finding and landing that great job you’ve been looking for.

  1. Networking

Often times, finding meaningful employment is just as much about who you know as what you know. Volunteer work offers you the chance to meet likeminded people, foster connections and get your name known in the right circles.

  1. Skill building

Many in the workforce have faced this frustrating Catch 22: In order to get a job, you need experience, but you can’t gain that experience without working in that field. Through volunteering, you can put your existing skills to work and expand your skillset. Without the strict requirements of paid employment, volunteers are often free to take on new tasks and broaden their professional horizons.

  1. Find a mentor

Other volunteers working alongside you are there because they want to help people. Chances are, you fall under that altruistic umbrella too. While talking to your fellow peers and learning about what field others are working in, you may meet someone who is doing exactly what you’ve always wanted to do. Strike up a conversation with that person and see if they can guide you down your desired career path.

  1. Find your passion

Stepping out of your comfort zone in volunteer work could surprise you. It isn’t feasible to jump from job to job, career field to career field until you figure out what is most rewarding. But volunteer work can be wide and varied. You have the freedom to branch out and explore new things.

These are only a few of the many ways in which volunteer work can add to your professional life. For a complete list of volunteer opportunities available in the Kaiserslautern Military Community and information on how to get involved, contact the Airmen and Family Readiness Center at 480-5100 or 06371-47-5100.

 

 

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