|volunteers (Photo credit: campdarby)|
"Volunteer? Why would I volunteer to work as an administrative assistant? I took training to get a job, not to work for free!"
Well, don't get carried away. I wouldn't suggest it to you if there wasn't some real value to it would I?
People do volunteer work for a variety of reasons but there are some very good reasons why you should consider it.
- Volunteering lets you get involved in something you really care about. Is raising money for cancer your passion? Or maybe you love animals or rocks or...well, pretty much anything! There are tons of not-for-profit organizations that rely on volunteers to keep the money coming in to help others. There are lots of good causes out there and chances are you likely care about one of them. Now, with your administrative skills, you can help them out in a variety of ways.
- Boost your skills. If you've recently graduated from an administrative program or if you've just learned a new skill, what better way is there to get really good at it than by doing it? The more you do things the better you get at them so use volunteering to give your filing skills a real boost or to expand on your phone skills. Maybe public speaking is something new to you and by volunteering to talk about your passion you can become an expert.
- "Try on" a field you are interested in. After you've taken a course as an administrative assistant you have more choices to make. Sure, you've chosen the job you want to do but you can choose the field you want to work in as well and it can open many doors for you. You may be interest in fashion design or finance but you've never actually worked in those settings. Volunteering can give you a picture of what a job in that field might be like. You might find out that the hustle of a finance office really gets you excited or you might just find that it is too stressful. So try it on for size first.
- You'll gain invaluable experience. When people have a hard time finding a job they often ask why they weren't hired. And all too often the answer is, "We need someone with more experience." But how do you get experience if no one will hire you? I'll tell you how...you volunteer. When you volunteer you get to do a wide variety of tasks. Many times you can choose your hours as well, so you get experience on your terms. The experience you get volunteering as an administrative assistant may just be the thing you need to flesh our your resume so you do get the next job.
- You can make connections. If you're volunteering in an area that you'd like to work in you'll get to meet people. When given the opportunity, don't be afraid to tell them that you are looking for a permanent job. Don't be afraid to ask if you can call them in the future. Get business cards and always have a couple resumes with you. You never know when someone will ask you for one!
So, do you still think that volunteering as an administrative assistant is a waste of time? Try it and I'll bet you'll find that it makes a world of difference!
At Robertson College, all of our administrative students spend 4 weeks in a work practicum - they volunteer and learn at the same time.