So you have spent the last six years in college preparing for a successful career. However, now that you have graduated and your student loans are coming due you are finding it difficult to find a job. The problem is that many post-grads have focused solely on their education and less on gaining work experience over their academic career. As a result, they now have a resume that is heavy on education and credentials, but light on practical experience. In a competitive market you really need both.
What Are Your Options
Since you cannot go back in time you need to weigh your options quickly. The first option that you have is to take a position that is not your dream job. This position may have little to do with what you went to school for, or it may not be the position that you wanted. This option can help you to get your foot in the door of a good company, and it can also help you to gain valuable work experience and professional references.
The second option that you have is to volunteer to serve on a board of directors or trustees for a non-profit organization. This option will not only provide you with practical work experience in an area that you are interested in, but it will also still allow you to search for your dream job. This option also allows you to gain access to professional networks where you can make important connections.
Before You Volunteer
While you can gain practical experience by volunteering for a board position, you need to think about the prospect of being a board member before your apply. Usually there is a time commitment that will need to be met. For example, you may be committing to spend a few hours a month for up to two years. There are also legal responsibilities that you will need to be aware of before you sign up. Boards play an important oversight role for non-profit organizations. If you do not take your role seriously and you fail to serve the organization you can be held responsible for potential criminal and civil liabilities.
Selecting an Organization
When you are ready to volunteer for a board position you need to think about what type of organization interests you the most. For example, you may be interested in ecological issues or you may be interested in humanitarian issues. The type of organization that you select needs to reflect a passion that you have, as you will need to explain how this volunteer position has added to your professional abilities.