We’ve all thought about doing some voluntary work at one point or another, but often it’s in something completely unrelated to our chosen career. However, it turns out that actively volunteering your professional and technical skills can pay dividends towards turbocharging your career, whilst being a great way to give back.
Over the last year I have been volunteering with the Scottish Tech Army, who sprung up to help businesses and organisations struggling in the online space they were forced into as the Covid-19 pandemic progressed. There have been so many wonderful aspects to this, and not least the fact that I have learned so many new things about myself and what I am capable of. The skills I have gained have been amazing and they are all things that I can bring back into my professional career. There’s also the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing I have played a part in helping someone out of a digital jam!
Developing new skills
One of the great things about volunteering your professional skills is that you actually learn a whole host of new skills during the process. Sometimes in our paid jobs we only become really great at a few things because other people in our team have skills and knowledge that compliments our own. This can lead to lack of opportunity to learn, try or test out new ideas and develop skills around them. With volunteering you’ll find that resource can be thin on the ground and you’ll get the opportunity to push your own boundaries and test out new things. Sometimes they’ll work and sometimes they won’t, but at least you’ll know! And what’s even better is that you can take those skills and transfer them into your career.
We’ve all been there in an interview, struggling to provide a really great example of when you did something and then bringing it to life. With volunteering you’ll soon build up an arsenal of great examples that you saw through from concept to execution. These experiences are specific to you and the variety gained through volunteering will show that you are flexible, can work at pace and have an ever-evolving approach to learning new things. What new employer wouldn’t want someone with those attributes?! If you are looking to make a career change and lack of experience or demonstrable experiences have held you back, then this is a way to overcome that hurdle.
Expanding your network
Depending on the type of volunteering you do, you might find that you get exposed to lots of new people and organisations that can be useful as your career progresses. In my time at the Scottish Tech Army I have been matching digital skills with project based work. This has exposed me to dealing with large volumes of people from all areas of the business community – everyone from Coders to CEO’s to Commercial Directors. For my own professional network this has been a fantastic opportunity to meet new people and show them what I can do. This can be an extremely vital part of continuing your career journey as recommendations for new roles or a reference from your network can go a long way.
Time to get volunteering
So, there you have it. I am a fully paid-up champion of volunteering as a way to turbocharge your professional career. Not only are you giving back to others who need your expert support, but you are gaining new skills, demonstrable experience and building out your professional network. It doesn’t even have to take up a lot of time, and you are in control of how much of your time you dedicate to volunteering. If you haven’t done it yet, then check out the opportunities with the Scottish Tech Army. There are also lots of other ways to volunteer your skills, such as becoming a Board Member of a local children’s panel or charity. Whatever you choose, make sure it is going to be something that adds value to your career.
To chat further about volunteering experiences and options, please get in touch with me over here.
The information contained in this article does not constitute business advice and should not be acted on as such. This content is based on our understanding in May 2021. Head Resourcing are not liable for the information contained on any third-party websites linked to this article.