Have you ever asked this question:
“How am I supposed to get management experience if I can’t get a management job because I don’t have any management experience?”
Have you ever said this:
“I’d like to make a move inside my company but the department I want to work in requires me to have a certain set of skills I don’t have.”
Maybe you’ve said this:
“I’d really like to meet some people outside my job.”
Most people get involved in volunteer roles because they want to give back to the community or help someone or with something they feel passionate about. Many are surprised to find out how much it expands their network and their skill set. I was as surprised as anyone.
“My volunteer work allowed me to try my hand at some things I’d never done. I didn’t have a lot of management experience at that point. Jumping in to volunteer like I did gave me the chance to build a leadership résumé.” (From Chapter 11: Volunteer to Build Confidence in Your Abilities from Like You Own It: Breakthrough Strategies for Confident Living).
I’m amazed how incredibly talented the people are who generously give time in the community — time they could be using to sleep. I’ve said for years that corporate CEOs should borrow a few moves from the fund-raiser playbook these PTA moms use. They run high-profit-margin activities on a shoestring and deliver the goods in record time — all while taxiing kids to activities, cooking dinner, and writing get-well cards to sick church members.
Designing Your Leadership Training Program
In Like You Own It (click here to check it out and purchase your copy), I share my story on my volunteer leadership journey. I also elaborate on these steps for determining how and where to volunteer your time. Evaluate these criteria:
- Causes you love
- Local volunteer opportunities
- Skills you have or want to build
- Tasks you will not do with joy or excellence
- Time commitment
- Mission — your and the organization’s
You may find it takes a few volunteer roles to find your groove. That is okay though. Take some risks. What are they going to do, fire you?
I’ve known a lot of people over the years who didn’t consider themselves a leader. They started out helping on a committee. Then they worked into small leadership roles that led to larger leadership roles.
They might have had the capability all the time but not the confidence in themselves. But as they built confidence in one role, they felt confident enough to accept a new role. Over time, they forgot they ever lacked confidence. They instead asked themselves how they can help or learn something new. What initially felt like a huge risk they wanted to run from became a challenge they run to.
Volunteer work creates unlikely heroes. Will you be the next one?
More on Volunteering to Develop Skills and Confidence
I recorded a video lesson last week on this topic of using volunteer work to build your confidence. In case you missed it, here it is.