How to Turn Your Volunteer Position into a Full-Time Job
Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community, make new friends, and expand your skill set. If you happen to be out of work, volunteering may also increase your chances of finding employment, according to a report from The Corporation for National & Community Service.
If you are currently volunteering at an organization you love, you may be wondering: “Can I turn this volunteer position into a full-time job?”
At Empire Resume, we say “Absolutely.” You just need to know how to go about doing it the right way. Check out these 10 tips to help you turn your volunteer position in to a full-time job.
1. Act Like an Employee
If you want an organization you are volunteering for to hire you, then you should act like someone they would want to hire.
Show up on time, dressed appropriately, and ready to work. Do all tasks assigned without complaint. If you will be late or need to take a sick day, call in and tell your supervisor. Your professionalism will be noticed and appreciated.
2. Be Straightforward
There’s no reason to be shy about your interest in turning your volunteer position into a full-time job. Non-profits typically turn to their volunteer staff first when recruiting for salaried positions.
Tell your volunteer manager that you would like to be considered for any salaried positions that open up. If you speak up early on, hopefully you’ll be top of mind when a position does open up.
3. Stay Positive
While you should tell your manager about your interest in a salaried position, stay positive about your volunteer experience. Don’t complain about not getting paid or any tasks you may not enjoy.
Any grumbling will make you seem entitled or ungrateful. Stay focused on the fact that you chose to be a volunteer because you are passionate about the cause and do your best work.
4. Remain Patient
Non-profits don’t often have the money to open up new positions immediately. You will most likely have to be very patient and wait for an opening.
While you wait, continue to work hard, make connections, and learn as much about the organization as you can. When a full-time position does open up, you want the hiring manager to think of you as the obvious choice.
5. Take on Responsibility
Look for ways to become more valuable to the organization. Offer to assist colleagues who you see have a lot on their plates, find opportunities to spearhead new projects, or step up to train new volunteers.
See if you can get involved in projects that enable you to work more closely with the organization’s leaders so they can get to know you, and your work, first-hand.
6. Network, Network, Network
Take the time to network and meet as many people across the organization as possible. Ask those who already work for the organization to have lunch or go for a coffee.
Ask them how they were able to get hired. Find out what skills they have they the organization finds valuable. Discover what they love about the job and what they might not like.
Don’t make the conversation about you, but mention that you would like to transition from a volunteer to a full-time position over time. The more people that know your desire to work for the organization, then more likely it is they’ll think of you when a position does open up.
7. Understand the Culture
Take time to observe what’s happening around you. What are the strengths of the organization? What struggles are they having?
Observe the dynamic among managers and employees. How are tasks assigned? Are managers more “hands-on” or do they delegate? Does the organization hire specialists or is everyone expected to do a bit of everything?
The more you understand about the company culture, the better chances you have when it comes time to interview for a position.
8. Stay Connected
If for some reason, your volunteer work has to end, stay connected with your contacts. Send birthday cards, holiday cards, and the occasional email to say hi. Make sure you connect with them on LinkedIn as well.
Don’t go overboard, but stay in their orbit. They’ll be more likely to think of you when a job opens up.
9. Expect to Interview
Let’s say a job opens up and everyone knows you’re interested and highly qualified. Don’t expect the job to be handed to you. Do expect that you will be interviewed just like every other candidate.
Treat the interview like any other job interview and don’t take anything for granted. Show up for the interview dressed professionally, with polished resume in hand, ready to make your case for why they should hire you.
10. Keep an Open Mind
You may be dreaming of working for the non-profit you’re currently volunteering for. However, keep your eye on the job boards of other non-profits dedicated to the same or similar causes.
Again, it may take a while for your current organization to offer you a position. Be open to the possibility that you may be able to land a full-time position at a non-profit, but just not the one you’ve been volunteering at for the past 18 months.
You Can Get Paid While Pursuing Your Passions
Volunteering your time and talents to a worthy cause is a noble pursuit. However, if you’ve found a cause that you are passionate about and can afford to be patient, then you can take deliberate steps to turn that volunteer position into a full-time job.
Ben St. Jacques is a Senior Copywriting Manager that is a regular contributor to Empire Resume’s blog. Ben has a strong background in corporate communications, developing newsletters, copy editing, and copywriting for a wide range of audiences.