People who are experiencing job transition today are finding it harder to land coveted positions due to increased professional competition and more stringent job qualifications. Sometimes a degree or two is just not enough, which means actual job experience in the field or industry has become just as relevant as a good education. Some jobs are just hard to find and have applicant waiting lists that stretch for months and even years. Employment opportunities that sponsor volunteer or internships range from simple humanitarian tasks, such as cooking and serving in homeless shelters, or teaching kids citizenship skills through volunteering work with the ACF, to non-paid positions in the core science fields, such a geology and paleontology, or a stint with a prestigious publishing firm.

Whatever aspect of volunteer work you are interested in, you are sure to find that it will reward you in many ways other than financially. It could be your “in” to the best job you’ll ever have.

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The Search

Like all jobs, a search for a volunteer position starts with visiting the classifieds and magazines which are announcing the acceptance of volunteer positions. The time to act is immediately upon finding such ads, since they can be very popular, depending upon the company name and brand. Make note of the hour requirements or days per week that is needed, deciding if it meets with your constraints and time schedule. If you already have a full or part-time position, you can volunteer for a few to a dozen hours a week, provided you fill the employers time slot. If you have a special job in mind you have only to call up the business and inform them of your desire to work a prescribed number of days or hours in the week to enhance your on-time job experience. Be sure to fill out your application and list prior experience in the related field, just as though you were applying for a paid position.

Ethics and Image

Working as a volunteer means putting forth a professional effort. Arrive at the workplace early, fully prepared and with a positive attitude. Take on difficult assignments and see them through to the end. Take responsibility for errors or mistakes, learn by them and try to avoid them in the future. Show courtesy to the staff and customers by showing a willingness to go above the required job tasks. Follow up on any leads or potential sales, making pertinent job-related notes. Treat the job as you would a fully paid position. Thank your employer for the opportunity and never be afraid to advance your knowledge by asking questions.

Goals and Perks

Volunteer CV positions and internships are an excellent way to get you into that dream job without waiting or competing with peers. Employers love and appreciate volunteer workers since such positions speaks volumes about faith and loyalty. Such positions are also the short-cut to obtaining true on-the-job training, following the employers direct work ethics, program, production quality and scheduling. Your resume will include up-to-date experience and new learned skills. You’ll be able to network and learn from the professionals in the field who have their finger to the pulse of the industry. All of your invested hours will be treated and recorded as professional employment. Of course, the day will come when you have proven yourself and obtained that paid position, only because you were not afraid to act and volunteer your services.

This article was written by Aaron Whyte. He has volunteered all over the world, from working in a monkey sanctuary in Borneo to feeding starving children in Ethiopia. Aaron is currently volunteering with the Hampshire & Isle of Wight ACF .