Strategic volunteering is seeking out, or creating for yourself, volunteer opportunities that give you directly relevant experience to your work search and career goals. Strategic volunteering can:
- Create new connections and develop a professional network
- Provide you with a reference for future work
- Give you the opportunity to hear about new job postings
- Increase your networks to other related, partner or "sister" organizations, etc.
- Hear about possible job postings at the organizations before they are posted
- Gain and develop new skills and insight into the field
- Provide an outlet for you to use the skills you already have
How to find the right opportunity:
1. Check your local volunteer centre's volunteer listings. If you don't see what you're looking for, use their website (if you can) to search their member agency's websites. Look for organizations that offer the type of work you are interested in, the industry/sector of interest, or an area you want to develop new skills.
And / Or
2. Directly research organizations of interest and contact the Coordinator of Volunteers or the Executive Director about the volunteer opportunities that they offer. But don't stop there. Pitch your skills to create a position for yourself if there isn’t one available. People always have projects sitting on the side of their desk – try to find out how you can help.
If the first pitch you make doesn’t get accepted, don’t get discouraged. Ask the organization for their advice about other agencies that you can contact where you may be able to create the opportunity you’re looking for.
For more information and a real life perspective, read one person's story about "Using 'Strategic' Volunteering to Help with the Search."