MAR 5, 2014 *
Before Paul Smith got the job as Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers, or CACEE, he volunteered, first as a regional director, then as board president. When I asked Paul (Career Buzz, March 5, 2014) what advice he had for listeners about volunteering as a way to manage your career for the future, Paul said, “Do it!” He emphasized advantages of career-related volunteering including “opportunities for development, the people you meet, the satisfaction that will come from it.”
“The opportunity to fail,” is another benefit of volunteering that Paul believes people underestimate, especially because, “it’s not life and death.” You learn from failure. “To pick yourself up after you’ve fallen and carry on with something is such as blessing in disguise.” Connecting this to the school-to-work transition Paul said, “so many students are afraid to make that first jump in to a career because what if it’s not the right one?” He advised: “Doing is better than not doing. Trying is better than watching. Fail faster!”
What are the clues that apply to you? Consider volunteering for an association or organization relevant to your field, or to the field you want to get into. You may be able to take a page from Paul Smith’s book. After meaningful volunteer stints, the top job opened up. “When I heard the opportunity was there, I applied for it and I guess they thought well of my application.” Try this: Find the relevant organizations and associations in your field. Don’t know which ones? Google it! Then find out how to volunteer. Paul Smith emphasized the huge need that associations have for volunteers. Here’s C
ACEE’s volunteer page.