I was part of a HR team that shortlisted few applicants for a job position. While waiting for the final decision, a volunteer opportunity came up for a tech program from Google. We called on the shortlisted applicants, knowing none is skilled in that tech aspect which is needed in the post they applied for, and asked if they would like volunteer for the Google project. The first question was, ‘how much are they going to pay?’ I felt bad! This is a skill you don’t have, you don’t know, and someone wants to train you for free yet you expect payment.
In my first job after school, I focused on gaining experience not big salary. While other staffs were agitating for an increment, I told them I’m here to gain experience (and leave thereafter) as someone coming fresh from school, they laughed at me that I would soon join them. Work closes by 3pm, but I stayed behind to document and do extracurricular work till 6pm. The one year experience at the health institution catapulted me to the global height. My then colleagues are still there, may be still agitating for salary increment. Today some of them look up to me as mentor.
At various NGOs including ours, we have a lot of skills and resources we want to give and train youth on for free when they volunteer to work with us. Most of these skills they don’t have, yet they expect you to pay them. The power in volunteering can change a lot of things about one’s life. I call for traditional volunteering in the fields of proposal writing, creative writing, content development, virtual arts, social media management, project management, digital marketing, tech/ entrepreneurship development and photography/videography for youth. Get in touch with organizations, including religious groups around you or virtually. More so, wherever you are, find your area of passion and volunteer in that sector till you master the art. Through that you get job connections and recommendations easily. Also volunteering helps one get selected for competitive global opportunities. Through volunteering, you cultivate an outlook that contributes to your profile and nurtures your career. I have dedicated my life to volunteering for social and economic change. If you volunteer and prepare yourself ahead with skills, when the opportunity comes, it clicks easily to your side. Will you start volunteering as a way of strategizing yourself to tap into the numerous opportunities about to spark up in your life and career? Recognize what God has called you to be, accept the gifts He has given you and start building on them by volunteering!
Opportunities for the Week: If you are unemployed, while waiting for the dream job, seek from relevant offices, companies, organizations, conferences and ask you volunteer to help out. While volunteering you build more skills and may get retained or recommendations for job opportunities.