Network Through Volunteer Gigs to Expand Your Job Pool
Formal networking events, if you’re not outgoing by nature, can be a miserable exercise. In addition, they can seem pretty thoroughly artificial and weird. Even if you do enjoy networking, it can be hard to really discover who to target–it’s hard to know about a company’s culture when you’re just talking to one representative for a few minutes in your student center.
If you have a regular volunteer gig, however, you can network in a less painful way. If it’s a regular engagement, one assumes that you enjoy the work done wherever you’re spending your time. You’ve likely formed relationships with many of the staff members at your institution, as well as fellow volunteers. You have–because you’re a HackCollege reader–distinguished yourself as providing valuable services and being reliable. You’ve likely been able to demonstrate a skill set that you don’t have occasion to show at your on-campus job or in class.
So, if you’ve done these things, start letting people where you volunteer know that you’re graduating soon and looking for a job. If you’re not hoping for a job in a field directly related to your major, specify what field you are interested in. Tell a few staff people with whom you have a relationship, and alert any out-of-college volunteers.
The adult staff members and volunteers most likely know many more working adults than you do. Older volunteers likely work in a variety of industries outside of the volunteer context. By letting this particular group of people know that you’re looking for work, you’re casting your net much wider than you might at a formal event. Because people know and presumably like you, they’re likely to work harder to pass on any information on job openings that they hear about and to vouch for you if needed.
There’s nothing wrong with career center networking events, particularly for people looking at careers in business or finance. But if you find them unpleasant or are just looking to expand your potential job pool, let people you volunteer with know you’re looking. You will likely find job opportunities you didn’t know existed at companies you’ll enjoy working at.
Are you a senior looking for a job post-graduation? Got any job tips? Let us know in the comments!