This is a post about getting value out of trying to volunteer, without really volunteering.
I was talking with my wife about a friend who is in transition. She reminded me about the idea of volunteering, which I have written about, but it’s been a while.
I love the idea of volunteering, but it didn’t really work for me. I called a cople of organizations and when I tried to talk to them about volunteering, they gave me a deer-in-the-headlights response. Like they never heard of someone wanting to volunteer to help. I’m not sure what part of my approach was wrong, but this was definitely low hanging fruit… and I moved on.
I love the idea of volunteering… for various reasons:
- You get out of the house. This has all kinds of great implications (you’ve bathed, you have dressed in something other than pajamas, you have done your hair, etc.).
- You get to be around human beings, in a work environment. This means you are around professionals… which is a necessity in the job search.
- You get to meet new people. Networking is the bomb, right? This is a key point: make sure the places you volunteer make sense as far as meeting new people that can help you move your job search forward.
- … more, I’m sure.
But this isn’t a post saying you need to volunteer. This is a post on how to get value out of trying to volunteer, whether you volunteer or not.
Here’s the scenario I came up with:
Imagine you go to a meeting with professionals in your (industry/profession/geography).
If you can somehow introduce yourself (some meetings have this as a standard practice. Otherwise, ask the host if you can introduce yourself and offer your volunteer time/services.), do something like this (keep it SHORT):
“My name is Jason Alba. While I’m in transition I’ve decided to look for some volunteer opportunities. I have experience in collecting payroll temp information (yes, get that specific, if it’s the right audience) and ______. I’d like to volunteer at an organization that __________. If you know of any companies that could use my expertise, please let me know after the meeting. Again, I’m in transition, and looking for a role in ________ doing ________.”
Edit that as you like.
So here’s what just happened – in front of dozens or hundreds of your peers and colleagues, you gave them your value proposition and pitch. You did it in a non-threatening, non-hurting way. You have a captive audience, and they all got 30 to 60 seconds of interesting information about you.
What do you think?