Summer is a time to enjoy and relax with our family and friends. However, it’s also a good opportunity to gain some valuable volunteer experience that can assist you in the real-world and in your professional development. It can also help with your personal growth.
With these tips, you will be able to make the most out of your volunteer experience:
Be flexible and open to new ideas
Opening yourself to new experiences, such as volunteering, allows you to challenge yourself. The challenges you face might be working with people younger than you, people from different backgrounds, and people who look different. These challenges are healthy and allow you to grow. Don’t worry about changing your mind if your first volunteer experience does not work out. Sometimes, this happens despite your willingness to try. Just make sure you’re open to the possibility of starting a new one.
Identify your goals
Decide whether you want to volunteer for a shorter or a longer period of time, like a month, the whole summer, or a year. Figure out the goals that are in line with your interests and the long-term goals you set for yourself. Think about these goals as you choose a volunteer experience that matches your needs, both personally and professionally.
Make sure your expectations are realistic
Only dedicate the time and energy you are able to give. Making a firm commitment to volunteering is important, but so is dedicating the time to do so. Carve out a block of time each week or once a month to volunteer. Not doing this will lead to frustration for you and your supervisor if you are not reliable. Your volunteer experience will be more rewarding once you consistently devote your time, energy, and attention.
Follow your passion
Volunteer experiences are meant to be engaging. Choose something that is going to keep you motivated. There are a variety of tailored opportunities to fit everyone’s interests and lifestyles. So, find a cause that is going to excite you about getting out of bed early on a weekend. When your heart isn’t in it, it shows through your face, posture, and actions. Being passionate in what you do allows you to interact with the cause, people, and the organization that you will be volunteering for. This in turn makes for a positive and enlightening volunteer experience.
Be honest about your skills and experience
When you apply for a volunteer experience, many organizations will look at your resume to determine if you are the best fit. Therefore, be honest with yourself and the skills you can use to get into the program you want. Doing this will help you clearly distinguish the jobs you’re actually qualified to do and the jobs you’re simply interested in trying out. You might end up enjoying the volunteer work, which might result in you honing in on the type of career you will pursue.
Keep track of everything you learn
From your first day to your very last, make sure you have a journal handy to write notes about your experience. Write down all the positive and negative challenges you’ve faced. Keep track of all of your daily tasks and any training that you have received. The most important things to note are the things you learned while doing the assigned jobs and new experiences you’ve had along the way. This will help strengthen your skills and experience, not only for your resume or cover letter but also for job interviews.
As you can see, volunteering can be both beneficial and rewarding. Participating in community service can enhance not only your creativity, but also your problem-solving and teamwork skills. It also allows you to have realistic expectations of what you want in life, which is beneficial for your professional and personal growth.
What are some examples of fun and engaging volunteer work? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!
Have fun and stay safe!