Thinking about changing careers or starting a new business? Gearing up for a promotion and need to round out your skill set? One way to gain the skills you need is to volunteer. By volunteering, not only do you have the opportunity to make a difference for an organization in need, you can also hone existing skills or learn a new skill set. (Consider the savings over some traditional training programs and the real-life, hands-on experience.)
So where do you start? Consider your goals…
- What skills do you want to use or gain? Now consider where those skills are most in need. By harnessing the power of a targeted Internet search, their names are only a few key strokes away. Now, of those places, which are most in synch with your values, time available, etc.?
- In what type of environment do you want to volunteer? If you work in an office, perhaps the great outdoors would provide a nice change of pace â€“ and provide an opportunity to build a complementary set of skills. If you work with computers or other machines all day, perhaps a people connection is in order to build communication skills.
- How do you want to get involved? Have you amassed a wealth of knowledge working in IT? How about teaching computing to youth, the elderly or disadvantaged groups to build your training skills?
- Want to build your leadership skills? Volunteer to serve on the board of directors for a non-profit or charity.
Volunteering is also a great way to make new connections and build your network along with your reputation.
There are plenty of organizations to help you get started. To find out about local opportunities, check out organizations like www.volunteermatch.org, which connects individuals who want to volunteer with organizations that need them. Also checkout www.getoutandgiveback.com, a blog (written by a coaching colleague) that explores and shares volunteer experiences and asks you to do the same. Organizations of all shapes and sizes are looking for motivated individuals who want to contribute to the greater good. So, considering helping an organization in need, and help yourself in the process.