Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are the main structures of a civil society that can offer a huge source of knowledge and support system. Most of the NGOs offer volunteering and career opportunities on their websites targeting especially youth and recent graduates. Not every opportunity comes to you directly; sometimes you need to create it. In this article I will try to summarize the benefits of keeping in touch with NGOs in your local area for your long-term success.
- Discover Yourself while Volunteering
Are you interested in environment, human rights or media? Related NGOs can provide you with unique experiences that can allow you to discover yourself while you are volunteering. You will find out which subject makes you more interested and choose to build your career in. In the meantime, this could be the first step of your professional life or you may choose to be an activist on a certain subject in your free time. Consider volunteering in NGOs as the first step of your self-discovery as a future professional.
- Your Time is Precious
Would it not be great if you spent an extra couple of hours from your free time for your future goals? Your time is precious so don’t waste it. If you make a time deal with your NGO, indeed most of the time they are really flexible in favor of volunteers, you will give your time to what it deserves. Even two hours of a week is sometimes enough. Don’t forget that you are giving away a little amount of your free time for your long-term success. After a while, if you really do enjoy your volunteering time most likely that you will not feel you are giving away your free time but utilize it. Moreover, you may feel your working place as your second home, which actually can get your motivation so much higher.
- Networking is Important
NGOs are great places to socialize. On top of it, if you are volunteering in a cozy office and your environment is filled with cool staff, more likely that you have already people supporting you. You may gain references for your future applications easily, make good friends or even be offered as a staff member if you make a good progress and leave a good impression. Now or later you will see the benefits of making convenient connections not only in favor of your career but also your social life.
- Diversify your Resume
A volunteer should be ready for all different kinds of work related to the working subject. While you are volunteering, be prepared to work on varied subjects presented to you. This is not something that you should step back but rather take a step up and think such work as a new experience, which you will appeal to fill in your resume and make it more diversified. Don’t forget that a volunteering work does not have to be related to your studied subject one hundred percent. In contrast, the more diversified you work is, the more your resume will help you on your way to success.
- Take the advantages while you are volunteering
In professional life, volunteers are considered as precious people unless they are exploited. A good professional will eventually find ways to honor your volunteer work. As a previous volunteer, I consider volunteering as an unmaterialistic exchange between the two parties. Based on your effort, you may find yourself presented with many opportunities, like a full paid business travel or a participation priority to one of the most enjoyable youth exchanges in abroad. Apart from these opportunities, you may feel that sometimes a motivating compliment is enough, since in such working places motivation plays a major role for your future confidence.
In so many levels, your efforts on volunteer work will eventually pay off along with your career. The experience that you need, the knowledge, the convenient connections and a big support that you gained while working in NGOs can totally change and shape your career path. More than that, you may find yourself helping out for an important cause and this can be a cornerstone of your life. It is never too late to take an action.
Author: Sezgi Eser