Get Ahead Mini-Series, Part 2 “Volunteer”

Part 2 “Volunteer”

I wanted to get into this topic on a deeper level.  I mentioned the importance of this in Part 1, but it’s worth a second time around.  There are so many beneficial aspects of volunteering.
For one, it’s our social duty.  We should always be giving back – but we all know this and I don’t need to go there.
It broadens your skill set.  Didn’t know how to plant marsh grass before?  Now you do!  Time is precious and limited, so if you can volunteer in the field you are trying to get in to, do that!  For example, there are so many beach clean ups, marsh/wetland plantings, and labs that need volunteers around here.  If they don’t advertise it, ask them if they need any help.  Ideal situation – if you can volunteer, or better yet, be a student worker (get paid!) at a place you would like to work or someplace similar, it’s like Mario getting the mushroom (too old school?).

Places love to hire from within.  Oftentimes, the face they see and have come to respect can trump a new resume with more experience than you.  You will also get the insider scoop on upcoming available positions.  The key is to be the person they would want to hire.  Volunteer in the same way you would work.  Don’t be late, be pleasant to be around, do a GOOD job, and be reliable.  Common sense, right?  You would be surprised how many people don’t follow these rules.
In alignment with Part 1… get to know the people there.  Actually know them.  Don’t be the shy volunteer in the back that if asked, the employees would not remember.  You don’t have to be a socialite, but at least consistently say hello and know people’s names.
It goes on your resume!  Volunteer work is great on resumes, and if you were lucky enough to be a student worker, that would go under your employment list.  Situation that happens all the time – Interviewer sees you volunteered with XYZ group, they say, “You volunteered there?  Did you know so and so?”.  And you say yes, of course, because you read this post :).  You get to talking about it and now you and the interviewer have a connection.  They will remember this when flipping through resumes later.  This isn’t specific to interview situations, of course.  We live in a “small world”, and the biology world is even smaller.  It’s scary.  Meeting people who end up knowing people I know happens ALL THE TIME!
I hope this encourages you to get up and find some volunteer work.  Do it for them, for you, and for your future!

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