If you’re not already volunteering some time to your local community, think about getting involved. Savvy business leaders like you have so much to offer those organizations that are a good fit for your talents and sensibilities.
And guess what? The returns to you can be immeasurable:
♦ Volunteering affords some terrific networking opportunities.
Serving on the Board of Directors of an organization, or in some degree of leadership, may put you elbow to elbow with people who are industry-leading decision makers or connected in some way with your target companies or industries.
♦ Volunteering takes advantage of one of the essential and most powerful principles of networking – give to get.
Your generosity and good work build good will and evangelism for your personal brand and keep you top of mind with your community. People who see evidence of your efforts, especially if you don’t shy away from the grunt work, will likely be happy to help you out when you need them.
♦ Volunteering builds your credibility and reinforces you as a subject matter expert in your field.
You may already be known as the “go-to” person within your industry for your functional areas of expertise. Spread that notoriety through your community.
♦ You can never underestimate the good feeling you get from sharing your expertise to help others.
And how gratifying it is when you get something tangible, like a solid lead or two, in return.
♦ You may not realize that meaningful volunteering makes for some powerful content to fuel your branded career marketing communications — resume, bio, blog, online profiles, etc.
When I’m crafting these materials for my c-suite executive clients, I get a little giddy when they tell me they have a deep commitment to their community. Their contributions are especially valuable and compelling in their career bios, a vibrant platform to evidence their “softer” brand attributes and further differentiate them from their peers.
♦ Your volunteer efforts may open you to new career directions that you had never considered before.
If you’re at an impasse in your executive job search because you’re dissatisfied with what you’ve been doing or jobs within your industry have dried up, it may be time to reinvent yourself and re-think your approach to earning a living. The new connections you make through volunteering can impel your career transition.
Get behind an organization that will benefit from your functional expertise and leadership skills. Keep your eye on doing your part to make it successful. You may soon experience personal and professional dividends. You never know what opportunities may emerge from your own backyard.