Today’s military is known as an all-volunteer force, but when we separate from the military we may not even think about continuing to serve our county by being a volunteer in the civilian world. Although some Veteran’s may find themselves with a job immediately after separating from the military, today many Veteran’s have to begin the process of job hunting all over again. This is where volunteering becomes a crucial component of job hunting, because being a volunteer will allow you to learn more about your field of interest, network with people, add to your resume, and give you a great feeling of accomplishment knowing your helping others who need the support.
After separating from the military and finishing up my bachelor’s degree, I realized what I had wanted to study for my Master’s program. Going from Military Police to becoming a certified School Guidance Counselor was the route I decided to work towards, but entering a new career field with not much experience would force me to find new ways to stand out from others who were looking to make Guidance Counseling their career choice. While looking in the local newspaper one day, I stumbled upon a small advertisement about The Soldiers Project, which is a non-profit organization that gives Free and Confidential counseling to Veterans of OEF/OIF. Knowing I was entering the field of counseling, I realized this may be a great opportunity to get my foot in the door in my new career I chose.
Being a volunteer has helped me in many ways, as mentioned before it helps me tremendously to network with very important people in the field who work for various agencies, allows me to add to my resume, helps me to gain more knowledge about current events in my new field of choice, and it allows me to give back to the military community that I was once part of. Volunteering is something to not overlook if your in a position like me, changing career fields, or if you’re just looking to advance in the field your in today.
Being a volunteer will open up new doors when job hunting, and it sometime won’t even take much out of your life. Being a volunteer may demand only an hour of your week or a day per month, to help an organization or a person looking for support. I tell students in High School and Jr. High that by volunteering in a field they may be interested in, will allow them to get a good idea on whether or not this may be a field they may want to study in college or do what they must to immediately enter the field.
Volunteering can really benefit you if you’re looking to build up your resume, network with people in the field, gain more knowledge about the field, learn whether or not the field could be a future career choice, and give you a great feeling of giving back to the community. If I can waste an hour of being lazy sitting around, then I can spend an hour volunteering helping others who need support and appreciate every bit of it.
Below is a small collection of websites to help someone interested in Volunteer opportunities.