5 steps to volunteer your way to a job

If you’re not sure where to start, follow this guide to landing a volunteer position as a part of your job-search strategy.

Industry experts and job hunters who have successfully parlayed volunteerism into paying jobs provided the following advice.

“Use your network to find open volunteer positions. That will get you into an organization faster.”

– Jane, a job hunter who turned a volunteer job with the MSPCA into a paying job with a Web site focused on animal welfare

“Determine whether the volunteer opportunity matches your “availability horizon,” both so you can achieve success and so you don’t leave the non profit in the lurch.”

– Robert J. Rosenthal, Volunteer Match director of communications

“If you are able to secure a position where you’re actually doing a job that’s in line with your skill set, then you can absolutely list that on your resume as a position you’ve held. Disclose that you were a volunteer, but list all of the duties and responsibilities that you had, as well as any significant responsibilities.”

– Rahul D. Yodh, executive recruiter with Link Legal Search Group

“Join a professional organization or a chamber of commerce within your region. These organizations are already in the business of helping each other, and there’s always a need for fresh blood. Professional organizations are a fantastic place to network and work. It’s great exposure on many levels.”

– Nate Towne, who found his position as a public- relations counselor at the Hiebing ad agency by performing volunteer work for an industry professional organization

“Treat an extended volunteer job like any other job on your resume, provided it is related to your profession and can demonstrate what you accomplished at the charity.”

– Stephen Van Vreede and Steve Burdan, both certified professional resume writers who work with Ladders