Intelligent Volunteering - Working Your Net

  
Hello, from Blog-World.  Volunteering is a great way for you to possibly find leads for permanent placement.  To that end, how you network is key, so please note the following three recommendations:SuccessKey.jpg
Prior to the start of volunteering, identify in writing- as best you can - what you want to get out of volunteering, then...

  1. Mentor-me: Identify someone at your volunteer site that is an expert and that has a kind personality, and invite this person to be your mentor: share your plan for what you want to get out of the volunteering, ask the prospective mentor to give you feedback on your performance from time to time - preferably on a regular basis, (weekly, monthly, etc.);  Feedback could be a formal face-face meeting or informally.  Your mentor may challenge the way you approach things, and may even challenge your mindset.  The mentor may suggest things that you would never consider.  For the sake of your future, be open to listen without balking as your first response, and consider your feedback carefully.  You have at least one blind spot; Your mentor is meant to bring you a different perspective; And you are supposed to trust your mentor by acting upon advice.  Make sure that your mentor is an expert in the field and a nice person at heart otherwise they will kill your plan and destroy your self-esteem.  
  2. Network with as many people as is sensible: Be the one who greets everyone, from the secretary to the head honcho, as much as is possible.  Ask folks how they got to where they are, what they would do differently, (but steer way clear of gossip!) Ask what the trends may be in your line of work in the next 10 - 15 years; Ask colleagues if they are on LinkedIn and connect with them there; Join any professional LinkedIn groups that your colleagues are in.  When your volunteering concludes everyone gets a thank you card.  And...ask those that you choose if they would agree being used as references for future job applications.  Of course, they will say "yes".  
  3. Keep the relationships alive!: Drop a line 3 or so times a year to your network with quick "hello's"; Give the gift of an article link of something you read that may be of interest to them; Let them briefly know good things you are up to ("I just attended the KDP Conference", or "I will be starting a certification in...", etc.); Ask if there will be anything in their contact data that will be changing in the foreseeable near future.  (That way when you actually need a letter or other support from them you will be able to get it - folks do retire, transfer, etc.)

Wrap up: By doing the above you will not be using people selfishly but enriching others, while being enriched...that is the essence of networking.  I wish you much success. 

Til next time...



   
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