5 reasons why every college student should volunteer
This summer I had the opportunity to volunteer as an event organizer for Bellingham Startup Weekend and Sustainable Connections Balle Conference 2011. I have had the chance to interact with local professionals, where I other wise might not had the chance, if I wasn’t a volunteer. So here are 5 of the top reasons you should volunteer in your undergrad education.
1. Networking- Yes, that’s right get out there! If you have not already developed networking skills - no worries - this is your time to practice. Like I mentioned before,I had the chance to meet and mingle with some of the areas top professionals. This is important, because this may open doors to whatever industry you are looking to go into.
2. Develop your personal brand - I was asked many times by my co-volunteers (I may have made this word up) who I was, where I was from, what are my interests are, what my major is, why I chose my major, and where am I heading in life… the list does not stop there. Being able to master these types of questions can lead to more conversations on the topics you bring.
How does this help you build your personal brand — you will not jump around to different topics even if you have not decided on a major yet. I will go into personal branding and branding in general in later posts, the basic principle is consistency.This will also help you build skills much similar to what happens in an interview. You are put on the spot, and you need to be ready, this is your first impression - better make it memorable.
3. Score an Internship - Okay, this may seem a little far fetched BUT, this is how I found my two internships this summer. Yes, two.. one is a paid for that matter. If you find yourself connecting with a professional that has pull in the company he/she works for feel free to ask for the opportunity (an internship) or even just their contact info. Maybe something like this, “I am interested in staying in contact with you.” or “Do you have a business card?” Simple as that, it will open the door to further conversation about contacting him/her in the future.
4. Build your resume - As a volunteer organizer for the Bellingham Startup Weekend, I was able to develop skills, such as gathering event sponsors, communicating in a professional atmosphere, and developing support materials (brochure and flyer) I also was able to develop a print/social media schedule for the event. All valuable skills to add to my resume. These are just examples, you may have more opportunities.
5. Give Back! - Not only are you benefiting, but so is the community and the organization that you are helping. It’s a win win situation for all parties. Some organizations depend on the volunteer network it has to make events happen. So, don’t be scared — everyone loves a volunteer :)
So, how do you find out about volunteering? There are great resources on campus that are always looking for volunteers. You can also go directly to an organizations website that you are interested in and subscribe to a news letter it sends out; sometimes the organization will list opportunities to volunteer.
I know this may not work for many people, but it should work for most people. During my time as a student I have had many conversations with my class mates about “How the economy is bad” and how this impacts them not finding an internship. I disagree and the reasons above shows why I think this way.
Thanks for reading!
- justbecauseitswednesday posted this