Image from: http://www.wppl.org

No one looking for a job wants to hear, “we only hire from our pool of volunteers.” Yet many non-profits will tell that to applicants inquiring about open positions.

This isn’t necessarily bad. First, by volunteering with the organization you have an opportunity to make sure it really is a good fit. Second, it will give you better insight into what exactly is involved in each job or department. Third, it’s a chance to show you care about and value the organization.

Some non-profits have the equivalent of an apprentice program. A volunteer gets to work in the various departments over a specific period of time and then has the option to apply for positions.

So, what’s a poor job seeker to do? Find a way to volunteer! If you’re unemployed, volunteering can be a great way to spend your time and network. If you’re employed but considering a career change, find a way to volunteer after hours or on the weekend.

Volunteering for an organization does not have to mean you aren’t doing paid work elsewhere. It just can be a good foot in the door and give you insight into the organization.

Were you hired from a volunteer position? How did you do it?

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