Volunteer service is not a one-way street. When you pay it forward by volunteering to help others in your community, you may also receive benefits. You can gain new skills, hone existing skills, network with people in your community and gain a sense of confidence and personal satisfaction.
Many opportunities to volunteer exist and deciding where to start can be daunting. The Corporation for National and Community Service has a variety of search filters to help you narrow the possibilities and find the right volunteer opportunity for you. You can choose from established service projects that serve your local community, reach out to the national community or start your own service project.
- Be part of a local volunteer effort. Search for volunteer opportunities that fit your interests and develop the skills you need to progress in your career. Volunteering can keep you busy and productive and give substance to your resume when jobs are not readily available. Keeping your skills honed while searching for a job may give you an advantage over job seekers who are not working or volunteering.
- Be part of a national volunteer effort. Stepping into an established national volunteer project can present opportunities for leadership and growth. If you are interested in business or project management, this is a great opportunity to examine the structure of a successful volunteer project before you consider starting your own.
- Be a self-starter. Research CNCS Toolkits for guidance on how to establish the volunteer project perfect for the skills you wish to hone and serves the needs of your community. These toolkits are available for established projects and for projects that haven't been created. If you see a gap in community service in your area, you can develop a project with the assistance of the toolkit that provides information on how to create a service project from beginning to end. The business and project development and management skills learned from starting up and running your own community service project can enhance your resume, benefit your community and make you more marketable in your job search.
- Be a promoter. CNCS provides opportunities for volunteer organizations to promote their project and to inform and draw volunteers to their specific needs. This is just one way to advertise the need for volunteers for your project. Marketing skills are necessary to promote service projects, and those skills can easily translate to the workforce.
Volunteer positions may be available on your installation or in the surrounding community and can help you build your network, meet new friends and connect to like-minded individuals. If you prefer projects that keep you outdoors, visit Volunteer.gov to search for opportunities to volunteer at parks, recreation and wilderness agencies.
You can find additional information by entering 'Volunteer' in the keyword search on MySECO or speak with a career coach at 800-342-9647 to receive assistance and guidance regarding finding volunteer opportunities.