Search
Advice » Job Hunt Strategy» Getting Started » Tips for Turning a Volunteer Jo ...
Tips for Turning a Volunteer Job into a Full-Time Position

Tips for Turning a Volunteer Job into a Full-Time Position

To fill time between jobs or explore other fields, many people are finding that a volunteer job -- especially in the nonprofit sector -- can sometimes lead to permanent, salaried employment.

“People think the only way to land a full-time position is through traditional means,” says Becky Lunders, president of teamWorks, a leadership development consulting firm in Rohnert Park, California. “The truth is that especially in the world of nonprofits, there are many other avenues one can take.”

Perhaps nobody knows this better than Barbara Abbott of San Francisco. After being out of the workforce for nearly a decade caring for her children, Abbott decided in 2007 to get involved again.

But rather than look for a full-time corporate management job like she had before, she changed careers and took a volunteer position in the development office of the San Francisco Food Bank. There, she created a database of donors and organized a special project relating to local adopt-a-pantry efforts. In March 2008, when a full-time position opened to spearhead the nonprofit’s food resources initiatives, Abbott’s experiences made her a perfect fit.

“The first day I volunteered here, I never thought I’d end up with a full-time job,” she says. “Looking back, though, it seems that was a sensible way to make an impression and get in.”

Patience and Professionalism

While Abbott moved from volunteer work to full-time within 18 months, it can take others much longer to make the switch.

“Be patient,” says Lunders, who advises volunteers on how to parlay their volunteer work experience into full-time jobs. “Every organization is different, and even if they want to hire you on the spot, they may not be able to do so until money in the budget opens up.”

Lunders tells volunteers to make themselves invaluable by taking on enough responsibility for higher-ups to notice. Plus, she says volunteers should give their unpaid job the same level of respect they’d give a paying gig.

Nancy Delaney, community engagement manager for Boston-based Oxfam America, learned this firsthand: She volunteered for two years before being hired full-time 11 years ago. Early in her volunteer career, Delaney pitched in with everything, including filing, data entry, cold calling and handling donor relations.

Over time, her bosses began tossing more responsibilities her way. After a year or so, she says she stopped feeling like a volunteer.

“People started seeing me as more than just a competent resource and really depended on me to get things done,” she says. “I wasn’t doing it on purpose, but by helping out in so many different ways, I actually made myself indispensible.”

The volunteer experience also gave Delaney insight into what full-time employment at Oxfam entailed, so that when she came aboard full-time, there was virtually no learning curve.

Potential Pitfalls

Volunteer work with a nonprofit isn’t always a one-way ticket to full-time employment.

One of the biggest reasons so many volunteers aren’t considered for full-time work is ego, says Lunders, who also advises nonprofits on how to groom volunteers into paying leadership roles.

“When a volunteer comes in and purposely tries to overshadow staff people -- almost tries to position themselves as the one who knows everything -- that’s not good,” she says. “It’s important for volunteers to know their place, operate within the system and understand precisely what is and is not appropriate.”

Grumbling about the financial realities of volunteering could also disqualify volunteers from being considered for a full-time job.

By nature, volunteer jobs don’t pay (though some offer nonmonetary perks). Delaney says if you agree to volunteer at a nonprofit, it’s a good idea to keep quiet about the cash situation until you’re in a position that pays.

“Finances are a sensitive subject for a lot of people,” she says. “If you’re the kind of person who needs to earn money from the beginning, maybe taking the volunteer route isn’t for you.”

It’s critical to volunteer for organizations whose core set of values you share. The San Francisco Food Bank was ideal for Abbott, because she had always strived to help feed the hungry in her hometown.

Prospective volunteers should also find out precisely what sort of tasks their responsibilities would entail, and then ask themselves if they would be comfortable doing these sorts of activities in the short-term for long-term gain, Abbot says.

“This strategy definitely isn’t one-size-fits-all,” she says. “But when it works, it’s great.”

Go from Volunteer to Employee

Volunteering is a great way to get yourself considered for full-time employment. Here are three tips about how to do it right:
    Work Hard: The only way higher-ups will consider moving you from volunteer work to full-time employment is if they see they can’t live without you.

    Be Serious: Taking pride in your work goes a long way. When it comes time to hire new workers, those same people will remember your professionalism.

    Be Up Front: If your goal is full-time work, tell your boss. Armed with this knowledge, he might fast-track you to a paid position.

Latest Jobs

eNamix, Inc.
Posted: 04/19/2014
El Segundo, CA, 90245
CyberCoders
Posted: 04/19/2014
Dallas, TX, 75201
CyberCoders
Posted: 04/19/2014
Dallas, TX, 75201
United Distributors Inc.
Posted: 04/19/2014
AUGUSTA, GA
Insurance Agency Accounting & Bookkeeping
Posted: 04/19/2014
Harwinton, CT, 06791

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.1.40.6-317
eTrustLogo