Expand Your Skills by Volunteering
If there’s a will, there’s a way. You’re familiar with this saying and it’s true.
Let’s say you don’t have some of the skills needed to score a job in your profession and you don’t know how to go about getting them. Let’s also assume that school is out of the question.
If you’ve already been to college and you don’t have then certain skills needed for the job you want, you need to find a way to develop them. Sure, you’ve got the degree, but you lack the years of hands-on experience that would qualify you for the position.
For example, I chose creative writing as a major instead of TV production. Through I have the years of writing experience, I don’t have the years of production experience, what do I do?
First, I don’t fret, if there’s a will there’s a way. I gain TV production experience through volunteering.
By volunteering, you show that you take your profession seriously by using your free time to learn and help. Yes, everyone wants to get paid for their time, but if you concentrate on the pay-off, it’s huge.
You gain knowledge through a hands-on experience, building a skill set that will enhance your career, for yeas to come. Don’t sell yourself short by not getting involved with local projects that interest you.
Think about your profession and the skills you lack. Research organizations that will help you grow.
For example, if you wish to learn sound production, you’ll want to find festivals coming to your area. Go to their webpage, find the volunteer page and sign up for a task, closest to your the skills you need to develop.
If there’s no volunteer page, use the contact page to email and ask how to volunteer. Don’t give up.
Build a rapport with the coordinator by showing your interest in their project. Research the organization and tell them how you’d want to help.
Tell them exactly what you want to do and chances are, they will direct you to the proper channels to achieve your goal.
For example, I contacted a film festival to help with production. Though they didn’t have any opportunities in my field, they encouraged me to attend a free film production workshop.
At the workshop, I learned what organizations to contact to gain TV production experience and how to network.
The only way we can achieve the skills we lack, is to create the opportunities to learn them.
The more you become comfortable reaching out, the more confidence you build. At first, it’s a bit scary, but you can do this.
If you’re nervous about reaching out, practice. Type your volunteer request, then read it aloud several times. Edit until you feel comfortable with the information you want to send.
Study the example:
Dear Volunteer Coordinator,
My name is Jane Doe and I love what (NAME OF ORGANIZATION) is doing to help recognize new jazz artists. This hits home for me because I grew up listening to jazz and I’ve developed a deep love for the genre. Someday, I want to be part of a sound crew to help enhance the audience’s experience.
You will be in my area on (DATE) and I wish to help in with the (DESIRED DEPARTMENT), to learn and help any way that I can.
The best email to reach me is (EMAIL) or call me at (PHONE NUMBER). I hope to do my part in helping new jazz artists find their audience.
Thanks for your time and consideration.
The example gives you an idea on how to form your email request. Be brief, honest, and specific about how you want to help. This helps the reader direct you to your area of interest.
Volunteer organizations aren’t the only place to find opportunities, so keep your eyes open. Visit or contact businesses that do what you wish to do.
Ask about volunteer opportunities, workshops, or ways to develop the skills needed to get the job you want. There’s no harm in asking questions.
How will you develop the skills needed for your profession?
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